The Defender of Rights, Claire Hédon

Claire Hédon is the Defender of Rights since July 22, 2020.

She is appointed for 6 years. His mandate cannot be renewed and is not revocable. Finally, she cannot simultaneously exercise any other function.


Claire Hédon en déplacement à Bobigny - Photo Mathieu Delmestre
Claire Hédon - Photo Mathieu Delmestre

Biography :

Claire Hédon was born on October 5, 1962 in Paris.

Holder of a master's degree in law from the University of Paris II, Claire Hédon also holds a master's degree in communication from CELSA.

Young graduate, she did internships in the United States. When she left her studies in 1987, she took her first steps on the radio on France Bleu, then in the RFI program, Les Unes et les autres. Then, she produced reports for France Inter.

From October 2003 to September 2017, she hosted Priorité santé every morning on RFI, then became Head of Magazines at RFI, a position she held until her appointment as Defender of Rights. At RFI, she reports five to six times a year abroad, particularly in Africa.

In 1992, during a trip to Thailand, she discovered the ATD Fourth World Movement, in a Bangkok street library, which she hosted for a week. Back in France, she is determined to commit to ATD Fourth World, a Movement founded in 1957 by Joseph Wresinski with families from the slum of Noisy-le-Grand to fight against extreme poverty: "the question of access to rights, injustices with regard to the poorest, all this immediately called out to me".

She joined the Movement in 1993 as a volunteer and participates in particular in the Fourth World Popular Universities, places where knowledge and experience are shared, bringing together people living in extreme poverty.

“My involvement with ATD Fourth World has changed the way I work. When reporting, I listen more carefully to people in difficulty, avoiding any hasty judgment. The key word is to take time with everyone, whose life testimony is always important. As for decision-makers, I ask them as often as possible about the impact of their choices on the poorest."

Changing society's view of people living in extreme poverty is becoming a priority for it, which has the issue of access to rights at its core.

“The issue of dignity is closely linked to that of access to rights. Poverty is not just a lack of income, but also the difficulty in asserting one's rights, in access to work, housing, education, health care, culture."

In 2005, she joined the board of directors of ATD Fourth World, before becoming vice-president in 2011 and president in July 2015. As president of ATD Fourth World, she continued the work undertaken to advance the battles. ATD Fourth World: increased parental participation in school; the definition of a 21st legal criterion for discrimination on the grounds of social insecurity, added to the penal code on June 14, 2016; the participation of the poorest in the formulation, implementation and evaluation of public policies. It will also support the Zero long-term unemployed Territories project, which will result in an experimentation law voted unanimously by the Assembly and the Senate in 2016. Experimented since 2017 in 10 territories, a law was tabled in 2020 by the majority with a view to its extension.

As president of ATD Fourth World, she is a member of the National Council for Policies to Combat Poverty and Social Exclusion (CNLE).

She was appointed a member of the National Consultative Ethics Committee in 2017, where she will work in particular on opinions on the bioethics law and, more recently, on the opinion on containment.