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The valley rebels

25 minutes

The farmer turned human rights activist who breaks France’s laws to defend its values

‘These are people, for god’s sake!’

An olive farmer by trade, Cédric Herrou became an unlikely lightning rod for the debate around immigration in France when he began housing African refugees on his property in Breil-sur-Roya, close to the Italian border near the Mediterranean Sea. While Herrou and his fellow activists see helping the refugees as a moral imperative and a manifestation of the republic’s enshrined values of ‘Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité’, their efforts have been condemned as illegal and irresponsible by some French authorities. Opponents of the activists argue that assisting refugees motivates more people in war-torn countries to attempt crossing the Mediterranean, where they risk death, exploitation by human traffickers, and deportation if they arrive. The Valley Rebels follows Herrou as he works tirelessly to support refugees, fights prosecution for his actions in court, and organises to prevent the illegal deportation of unaccompanied minors.

Director: Spencer Wolff

Producer: Ben Lenzner


Support Aeon

Ideas can change the world

Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview.

But we can’t do it without you.

Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview. Our mission is to create a sanctuary online for serious thinking.

No ads, no paywall, no clickbait – just thought-provoking ideas from the world’s leading thinkers, free to all. But we can’t do it without you.

Become a Friend for $5 a month or Make a one-off donation

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