Support from public figures

Holding a Universal Citizenship Passport

Passeport OR/BLANC

Holders of the universal passport will be free to settle in any state that recognises the validity of the passport, without a visa. They will be entitled to the same social and economic rights as any other citizen. Holding the passport is a way of taking a stand, making a symbolic gesture and showing your support for the freedom of movement and settlement.

The public figures who have been issued a universal citizen passport were selected by the OUC because of their involvement with the cause of freedom of movement and/or because of their personal histories, which bear witness to the intolerable trials that migrants face today!

The First Universal Citizenship Passport Holders

Public figures from all four corners of the world and specifically from the political, intellectual, socio-economic, sporting and artistic spheres have shown their support for the OUC. 

The first Universal Citizenship Passports were handed over on 23 May last year, at the launch of the OUC, which took place at an all-day international event for the freedom of movement and settlement, held at the UNESCO headquarters.

Public figures from the political and intellectual spheres and activists:

Stéphane Hessel, a French diplomat, ambassador, member of the resistance, writer and political activist, and his wife Christiane Hessel, also an activist.

Stéphane Hessel

Born in Berlin, on 20 October 1917, to a Jewish family that had converted to the Lutheran Church, Stéphane Hessel arrived in France in 1925, at the age of eight. 

After enlisting in 1939 and being taken prisoner, he escaped and reached Charles de Gaulle in London. Sent to France in 1944, he was arrested and sent to Buchenwald, where he disguised his identity in order to avoid execution. He escaped again and was caught, jumped from a train, met the American troops as they advanced, and arrived in Gare du Nord in May 1945.

When France was liberated, he joined the United Nations secretariat, participated in the drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and become a diplomat. In 1981, he was made an Ambassador of France by President François Mitterrand. He campaigned for the rights of illegal immigrants, acting as mediator for a group of migrants who had occupied a church in Paris. He also campaigned for Palestine.

His book Time for Outrage! was a phenomenal success and is still a work of reference for activists across the world.

Christiane Hessel

« I would like to tell you how much it means to me to receive this passport on my husband's behalf. »

See Christiane Hessel give her statement.

Federico Mayor Zaragoza, Director-General of UNESCO (1987 to 1999)

Federico Mayor Zaragoza was Director-General of UNESCO (1987 to 1999). In 1999, he decided not to run for a third term and, in March 2000, he created the Foundation for a Culture of Peace, of which he is chairman. He is also honorary president of the France Libertés - Danielle Mitterand Foundation.

Federico Mayor Zaragoza

« To further the cause of freedom of movement, we need to increase awareness, so that the ideal of equality and dignity for all human beings becomes part of our daily lives. »

See the full text from Federico Mayor Zaragoza.

Albert Tévoédjrè, Ombudsman for the Republic of Benin

Ombudsman for the Republic of Benin since 2006, Albert Tévoédjrè was Special Envoy for the United Nations Operation in Côte d'Ivoire (UNOCI) from February 2003 to January 2005. Before his appointment to this position, Mr Tévoédjrè coordinated the UN's "Millenium for Africa" project, from July 1999 to January 2003. He has also held several ministerial posts in Benin.  At 84 years of age, he decided to retire from public life in order to focus exclusively on projects related to solidarity.

Albert Tévoédjrè

« Yes, all of you, our human sisters and 'brothers who will live after us'": Love each other, let the thirst for justice burn inside you, and let your rebellious spirit remain intact with intelligence and courage. Love each other truly ... and ... act! You have already been bold enough to take the first step. Thank you, and may you go far! »

Listen to his interview on Radio France Internationale
See his full speech.

Riccardo Petrella, Italian economist

In July 2010, after decades of ceaseless efforts and campaigning from Mr Petrella, the UN finally recognised access to water and sanitation as a human right.

Mr Petrella is an iconic figure of the alternative globalisation movement; holds a doctorate in Political and Social Science from the University of Florence; is President of the European Institute of Research on Water Policy (EIRWP); professor emeritus at the University of Louvain; founder of the Lisbon Group; and founder and general secretary of the International Committee for the World Water Contract. He has recently proposed that poverty should be made illegal in every country, and that common goods should be taken back. He believes that the systems that create and sustain poverty should be dismantled, and that there should be universal access to essential goods and services. He has called on the people of the world to stand up for the common good and to find a new way of living together. A vision of civilisation that may come to pass.

Riccardo Pettrella

« The earth is a shared habitat, which means that no-one can be here illegally [] indeed the very
concept of illegal migration is one of the most violent means of oppression. »

See the full text of his speech

Mario Soares, Portuguese statesperson

Prime Minister twice, Soares was also President of the Portuguese Republic from 1986 to 1996, serving two consecutive terms in office.

Mario Soares

« The Universal Citizenship Passport is an extremely encouraging step towards guaranteeing our freedoms, and today, at a time of severe crisis in Europe, it's more important than ever. »

Mariana Mota Cutinella, Uruguayan judge

Mariana Mota Cutinella became an icon in February 2013, when the Supreme Court removed her from the investigation of approximately 50 human rights violations under the 1973-1985 dictatorship and transferred her to a civil court.

Mariana Mota Cutinella

« The borders drawn by states should not stand in the way of rights and freedoms which existed long before the states themselves, and which are inherent to all human beings. »

See the full text of her speech

Anne Hidalgo, First Deputy Mayor of Paris

Anne Hidalgo has been the First Deputy Mayor of Paris since 2001, and is a candidate to become mayor of Paris in 2014. Born in Andalusia in 1959, she came to France in 1961 and obtained dual nationality in 1974, aged 14.

Anne Hidalgo

« Being a cosmopolitan city that is open to the world is a source of strength for Paris, and for all countries. »

See the full text of her speech

Taslima Nasrin, writer and feminist activist

Born in Bangladesh in 1962, she studied medicine and became a gynaecologist.  She is also the author of many novels and essays, in which she staunchly defends secularism and denounces the oppression of women in the name of religion and of Islam in particular.

In 1993, she published Shame (Lajja), a novel about the oppression of women and the persecution of the Hindu minority, which provoked furious reactions in her country. A fatwa (a ruling on a point of law given by a recognised Islamic authority) was issued against her, condemning her to death: she was forced into hiding and, later, into exile. For more than 19 years, she has had no homeland.

Taslima Nasrin

« I'm condemned to feel like an outsider wherever I am. I'm a stranger in Bangladesh, my own country; a stranger in India, my old neighbour; and a stranger in the West. »

See the full text of her speech

Gilbert MitterrandFrench politician

Politician and son of Danielle and François Mitterrand, he has also been President of the France Libertés - Danielle Mitterand Foundation since 2011.

Gilbert Mitterrand

« There is such a thing as a right of peoples: peoples is not an empty word. If we have world governance of the economy and of finance, why don't we have world governance of peoples? [...] And instead of saying "we, the member states" at the UN, perhaps the day will come when we will be able to say "we, the peoples". This may not bring the end of borders, but it will turn borders into bridges, or open doors, rather than walls. »

See the full text of his speech

Marie Christine Blandin, French politician and member of the French Senate for the Nord department since 2001.

Marie Christine Blandin

Joël Labbé, French politician

Joël Labbé is Senator of Morbihan, a department in Brittany, and  has been mayor of the commune of Saint-Nolff, also in Brittany, since 1995. In 1997, the commune was declared a "Commune of the World". Development in the commune has been sustainable and based on solidarity. In particular, Joël Labbé has been highly involved with the issue of migration in his department, working closely with non-profit organisations and regularly intervening at the Prefecture in order to defend migrants' rights.

Joël Labbé

Edda Pando, Italian activist on the issue of migrants' rights

Edda Pando is the founder and president of the Italian non-profit organisation Arci Todo Cambia. Since 2011, she has coordinated the international day of action for the rights of migrants (Hyperlink:, refugees and displaced people which is held on 18 December.

Edda Pando

« Even if you close the borders we will still find a way across, with or without papers! »

Adolfo Kaminsky, former member of the resistance and forger of papers

For thirty long years, starting when he was in the French resistance, Adolfo Kaminsky forged identity papers, refusing all payment for his work. During the war, he forged papers for thousands of Jews, allowing them to escape persecution and deportation. After Paris was liberated, he put his skills to good use by supporting other peoples and other causes. He came to the aid of independence movements in South America and Africa, enemies of Francoism and even American deserters who had refused to fight in the Vietnam War.  He retired in 1971.

His daughter, Sarah Kaminsky, writer and actress, recounted her father's life story in the book Adolfo Kaminsky, une vie de faussaire (A Forger's Life).

Adolfo Kaminsky

« I dream of a better world in which no-one would need a forger »

Public figures from the artistic, sporting and cultural spheres

Florence Arthaud, sailor

Florence Arthaud, known as the "petite fiancée de l'Atlantique", has been passionate about the sea since she was very young. She took part in her first transatlantic race at 17. In August 1990, she broke the North Atlantic solo crossing record and, four months later, she won the fourth Route de Rhum, the best known transatlantic sailing race, at the helm of her trimaran Pierre 1er. Florence Arthaud is the first woman to have made a name for herself in the world of sailing. She opened the door for a new generation of women sailors, including Catherine Chabaud, Isabelle Autissier and Ellen Mc Arthur.

Florence Arthaud

« I'm very proud to receive this world citizen passport because, deep down, I've always considered myself to be a citizen of the world. I chose the sea because of my need for freedom. I went to sea when I was 18 because at sea you can move freely, you cast off and you're free. There are no borders, there is only one race - the race of sailors - and there is only one rule: show solidarity and help each other in times of need. I would love for that to be the case on earth as well, that would be amazing. »

Tiken Jah Fakoly, Ivorian musician

Tiken Jah Fakoly, whose real name is Doumbia Moussa Fakoly, is a reggae singer known for his support for alternatives to globalisation. His first performance in Europe was in Paris in 1998. He received the Victoire de la Musique award for the best Reggae/Ragga/World Music album in 2003, with Françafrique, and he has earned three golden discs during his 15-year career.

Tiken Jah Fakoly

« This passport is the future, it's the future of the world because nobody will ever stop people from migrating. Since the dawn of time, humans have moved from place to place, looking for a better life. »

Lilian Thuram, former French international footballer

He publicly takes a stand on issues related to equality, immigration and racism. He was member of France's High Council for Integration. In 2008, he created the Lilian Thuram Foundation for education against racism.

Lilian Thuram




See Lilian Thuram give his statement.

Reza Deghati, news photographer

A philanthropist, idealist, humanist, architect at heart and well-known news photographer, Mr Deghati has been travelling the world for over 30 years, bearing witness to the joy and the pain of those who he meets on his way. Having worked as a news photographer for National Geographic since 1991, Mr Deghati has visited more than 100 countries, photographing conflicts, revolutions and humanitarian disasters. The photographs that bear witness to these scenes have been published in international media (including National Geographic, Time Magazine, Stern, Newsweek, El Pais, Paris-Match and Geo), but also in books, exhibitions and documentaries, by his agency, Webistan.

More than a photographer, Mr Deghati is an engaged citizen of the world, who uses visual media to educate young people and women and to create a better world. In 2001, he founded Aina, an NGO based in Afghanistan, and, since then, has run a range of workshops on a voluntary basis throughout the world, from refugee camps to deprived council estates in Europe.

Reza Deghati

« Human beings are part of one body, they are made of the same material. If fate makes one human being suffer, the others should not rest until the suffering is over. If you are indifferent to the misery of others, you don't deserve to call yourself human »

See Reza Deghati give his statement

Rona Hartner, French-Romanian musician

Rona Hartner is a French-Romanian actress, singer, songwriter and dancer, whose talent came to light in Tony Gatlif's 1997 film Gadjo Dilo (the Crazy Stranger), with Romain Duris. In addition to her collaborations on original soundtracks, the Romanian artist, who obtained French citizenship in 2010, released the album Nationalité Vagabonde in 2008. She established her reputation further in 2011 with the celebration of Gypsy culture on her album Natura.

Rona Hartner

« I dont see myself as a citizen of any one country, so being a universal citizen confirms what Ive always felt in my heart [...] The world is changing and there's no turning back, so the way that we think must also change, so that we can feel that we belong wherever we are, whether we choose to go there or have no choice. »

Akhénaton Singer and rap producer - Member of rap group IAM

A key member of IAM, Akhenaton is one of the best-established rap artists in France. His skilful use of stylistic devices and rhyme, in the Arabic poetic tradition; his wealth of experience in production; and his talents as a scriptwriter have earned him artistic recognition beyond the French rap scene, where he is one of the biggest stars.


Awarding the Universal Citizenship Passport at the 2013 Emmaus Lescar-Pau Festival

Oliveiro Toscani, Italian photographer

He is internationally renowned because of his role as the creative force behind some of the biggest brands in the world. His work has been used in advertising campaigns on the themes of racism, war, AIDS, religion and the death penalty. In September 2007, he joined the fight against anorexia with a new shock advertising campaign.

Oliviero Toscani is the designer of the cover for the universal citizen passport

Oliveiro Toscani


Manu Chao, musician

Manu Chao is a singer, author, songwriter, performer and musician. He is French but of Spanish origin, and speaks both French and Spanish fluently. He became a major figure on both the French rock and Latin music scenes with his group La Mano Negra. He has enjoyed a successful solo career for several years and is currently performing all over the world with his new group, Radio Bemba.

Manu Chao

On the day of the OUC launch, 23 May 2013, Universal Citizenship Passports were also given to several migrants, who are of course the primary concern of the initiative:

Djibril Sakho, migrant
Anzoumane Sissoko, Migrant
Carline Beaubrun, Migrant
Svitlana Kostryba, Migrant
Marguerite Zanfongnon, Migrant
Constantin Simen, migrant and one of the protagonists of Jonathan Millet's documentary,  Ceuta, Prison by the Sea.


The initiative is also supported by:

Vandana Shiva, Cristavam Buarque, Patricia Gainza, Chico Whitaker, Widad Akrawi, Pedro Rahon, Pierre Bergé, William Bourdon, Copel Moscu, Pierre Rabhi, Souad El Tayeb, François Veillerette, Gabriel Amard, Anaisabel Prear Flores,José Bové, Jean-Marie Alexandre, Carlos Jativa…