Jean-Christophe Rufin, June 2013
28 June 1952 |
|Known for||Member of the Académie française|
Jean-Christophe Rufin (born 28 June 1952) is a French doctor, diplomat, historian, globetrotter and novelist. He is the president of Action Against Hunger, one of the founders of Médecins Sans Frontières and the youngest member of the Académie française. He was Ambassador of France in Senegal from 2007 to June 2010.
Private and public life
Rufin was born in Bourges, Cher in 1952. An only child, he was raised by his grandparents as his father had left the family and his mother worked in Paris. His grandfather, a doctor and member of the French Resistance during World War II had been imprisoned for two years at Buchenwald.
Human rights activism
A graduate of the Institut d'études politiques de Paris (Sciences-Po), in 1986 he became advisor to the Secretary of State for Human Rights and published his first book, Le Piège humanitaire (The Humanitarian Trap), an essay on the political stakes of humanitarian action.
As a doctor, he is one of the pioneers of humanitarian movement "without borders," for which he has led numerous missions in eastern Africa and Latin America. A former vice-president of Médecins Sans Frontières and former president of the non-governmental organization Action Against Hunger.
Report on racism and anti-Semitism
In 2003, Rufin was commissioned by French Interior Minister Dominique de Villepin to write an in-depth report on the upsurge of anti-Semitism in France. He presented the final report  on October 19, 2004.
- Racism and anti-Semitism were a threat to French democracy.
- Anti-semitic acts are not only carried out by elements of the extreme right and youths of North African descent, but also by "disaffected individuals" whose anti-Semitic obsessions prompt their attacks against Jews and Jewish institutions.
- Radical anti-Zionists who question Israel's right to exist were dangerous.
The report, as described by the US State Department, recommended the following actions:
- That a law be created to punish those publicly equating Israel with apartheid or Nazi Germany.
- That the French press law of 1881, designed to guarantee freedom of the press, is too unwieldy to adequately address the issues of racism.
- That intolerance be countered in primary schools and by the education of new immigrants about the fight against racism and anti-Semitism.
- That an observation system to monitor racist and anti-Semitic websites be created and that it work closely with authorities to prosecute offenders.
The report was criticised by Michel Tubiana of the Ligue des droits de l'homme, who accused Rufin of "acting like an arsonist fireman." Tubiana said that the focus on anti-Semitism created an "imbalance" in the approach to fighting all racism, and that if the recommendation became law, the umbrella group of the International Federation for Human Rights would be punished because it viewed Israel's treatment of Israeli Arabs as "discriminatory".
- L'aventure humanitaire ("The Humanitarian Adventure") (1994)
- La dictature libérale ("The Liberal Dictatorship") (1994)
- L'empire etm les nouveaux barbares ("The Empire and the New Barbarians") (1991)
- Le piège humanitaire : quand l'humanitaire remplace la guerre ("The Humane Trap: when humanitarianism replaces war") (1986)
- Katiba (2010)
- Le Parfum d'Adam (2007)
- Globalia (2004)
- Brazil Red (Rouge Brésil; 2001) - winner of prix Goncourt 2001
- Lost Causes / "Asmara et les causes perdues" (1999) - winner of prix Interallié 1999
- The Siege of Isfahan (1998)
- The Abyssinian (1997) - winner of Prix Goncourt du Premier Roman 1997 and Prix Méditerranée 1997
- Économie des guerres civiles ("Economics of Civil Wars"), with Jean François (1996) ISBN 2-01-278788-6
- Mondes rebelles ("World Rebels"), with Arnaud de La Grange and Jean-Marc Balancie. (1996) ISBN 2-84186-142-2
- Rufin, Jean-Christophe. "Chantier sur la lutte contre le racisme et l'antisémitisme" ("Report on the fight against racism and anti-Semitism"), presented on October 19, 2004.
- "France: International Religious Freedom Report 2005", U.S. Department of State.
- Jean-Christophe Rufin: Writing without borders, Profile in Paris Voice, accessed June 26, 2006.
- Books and reviews: "Économie des guerres civiles", François Grunewald, International Review of the Red Cross, December 31, 1997, accessed June 26, 2006.