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Tribute to François-Régis Hutin

Published 11 December 2017

MEDIA RELEASE, 11 December 2017

The daily Ouest-France, with a circulation of over 700 000 copies across 12 départements of the West, is France’s number one newspaper in terms of readers. It has just lost its President, an inspired and inspiring man, François-Régis Hutin, who was COE from 1984 to 2016.

It is striking that François-Régis Hutin, died at age 88, on the evening of December 10 2018, just as the Nobel Peace Prize had been presented in Oslo to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear weapons (ICAN).

A convinced Christian and a social humanist, François-Régis Hutin was always opposed to nuclear weapons - and that made him one of the few press bosses in France, perhaps the only head of a daily, to stand up strongly against France’s "nuclear strike-force", ever since General de Gaulle created it.

Some ten years ago I was surprised to have a phone-call from Hutin (whom I had never met) after sending a press release to the media in general, one of many I have sent, and which were seldom picked up by the national media. He wanted to know more. And since then Ouest-France has helped to inform its readers of the anti-nuclear cause.

Thus on 10 December 2009, when Barack Obama was given the Nobel Peace Prize for his action in promoting nuclear disarmament, Ouest-France published an article entitled « Pour un Moyen-Orient sans armes de destruction massive », [for a Middle East without Weapons of Mass Destruction], co-signed by Michel Rocard, Yehuda Atai and Jean-Marie Matagne, the same trio who, two years earlier, had launched Appel aux Européens : empêchons la guerre contre l’Iran !. [ Appeal to Europeans: we must stop the War against Iran!] in the pages of Libération.

François-Régis Hutin has left us with the comforting thought - well-founded or not (that’s a question with the Nuclear Ban Treaty ought to raise) - that humankind is marching steadily towards the abolition of nuclear weapons. We can only hope that this big-hearted man is correct in thinking so.