About Marcel Haegi
Marcel Haegi: FEVR founder and president 1991-2004 (sadly died 6. Feb 2004)
Marcel HAEGI was described as a « great person », an experienced diplomat. He did the
work for FEVR with dynamism and ability.
He had established a lot of international contacts, which he used in our fight for justice for
road victims. He attended meetings of the United Nations, the European Commission, the
World Health Organization, and many others, and was appreciated and respected by
“He was for me inspiring and an ideal who influenced me so much also for later activities and the decision to be a candidate for president in 2010. In respect for Marcel I also joined the board in 2004 to help that all his work should be continued.” Jeannot MERSCH
Marcel Haegi’s words at the end of his speech in 2002:
“Our Federation and its national Associations defend the right to life without compromise. We are representatives of road traffic victims and victim families and we are already an unavoidable pressure group, influencing international road safety policy. Even if we have limited financial resources, we have a strong moral support among large sectors of public opinion, as well as among European and World International organizations.”
FEVR Special Newsletter
on the death, on 6th February 2004, of
FEVR’s Founder and President
Remembering Marcel HAEGI
This special Newsletter is dedicated to Marcel HAEGI our dear FEVR-founder and the Federation’s first president, who died on 6th February 2004.
I asked all those who knew Marcel to send me some dedication in French or English in memory of Marcel to complete this Newsletter including some pictures.
Marcel was always so busy editing a regular Newsletter, organising meetings, was active travelling through the whole world to defend the interests of road victims and their families and contact so many people to bring forward our common objectives:
Assisting, consulting and helping the victims of road crashes and their families and, equally important, contribute to reducing road deaths and injuries in their numbers and severity.
For me personally Marcel was a great model. Every time I returned from a common meeting, I felt greatly motivated and full of energy to go on fighting for road victims’ rights and contributing to reduce the lack of safety on our roads – this thanks to Marcel’s work , encouragement and example.
His death is an immeasurable loss for all of us, but I´m sure he will be always present between all of us during our common future activities.
Jeannot MERSCH, AVR President
Thank you Marcel… I remember, a dozen years ago, to have met you during a meeting in Brussels where international organizations expressed their complaints in relation to road prevention. It was the first time that the European Federation of Road Victims, FEVR, took part in such a meeting. You had just created the FEVR which counted then half a dozen of member associations. Very quickly, we sympathized and you encouraged the creation of an association of road victims in Luxembourg, which shows a very heavy contribution with regards to traffic accidents, compared to the other European countries. You came to Luxembourg to contribute to the launching of such an association, the creation of the national association of road victims (AVR), you influenced the direction in which it was going and which was going to become its raison d’être: to assist the victims of the road, to surround their close relations and to put forward measures aiming at improving road safety. The AVR has thus from its first hours belonged to the international network of mutual aid which the FEVR offered. You knew – with a diplomacy without similar – to blur the disagreements between associations of victims in one or the other country. You tried to rejoin all the actors with the only cause, the defence of the interests of the victims. You knew – through your dynamism – to give again a new direction to associations which had lost their first spirit and to motivate individuals to set up cells of assistance for victims where those were still lacking. You knew to construct synergies, by collecting often aggressive energies which victims released who were injured and transform them into a great action of positive and interdependent mutual aid towards the others. You especially knew to transcend your own suffering – the loss of your daughter – and to reconcile this to the others in a strategic force of claims for the rights of the victims and all the human standards of living. This dimension of reconciling made of you a being out of the common run. Without slackening, with a remarkable optimism and without ever letting you shake, you had the echo of all the associations of victims, in Europe and beyond, so much so that the suffering of the victims of the road is now largely included and understood in many countries.
You knew how to make everybody listen to the voice of the victims. Thank you, Marcel, for all that you transmitted to us, for your kindness, your generosity, your fidelity, your complicity and, especially, your integrity. I address my feelings of deep sympathy to your wife and to your children and to grandchildren who must be proud to have been able to share a bit of a walk with you.
Luxembourg, February 12, 2004
Martine Peters President honorary and founder of the AVR
J KLincker , Marcel HAEGI, J. Mersch, Martine Peters Luxemburg 1996
Marcel HAEGI left us… Marcel Haegi, President of the FEVR, left us on 6 February 2004, overcome in very little time by cancer. He had also known the drama of the loss of a child killed on the road. In 1991, with some parents and friends of several countries, he founded the European Federation of the Victims of the Road FEVR.
Marcel HAEGI, physicist, doctor of nuclear sciences, comes from the area of Geneva. He is a considered researcher, attached in a European centre of nuclear research (particle accelerator) close to ROME where he was established.
To make FEVR grow, he spent an extraordinary energy, in multiplying the steps, the overall contacts; He fights for the prevention of the accidents and consideration of the fate of the victims and/or their family after the accident. With the assistance of the FEVR, then dozen members from different countries- our Association APPER joined it in 1992 –
Several operations at the European level were launched; the studies on the “Principal causes of loss of quality and the reduction in the standard of living of the victims of road accidents, and their family – Proposals to limit the damage”. The seriousness of these actions of the FEVR makes it being recognized soon as consultant NGO (Non Governmental Organization) in the United Nations, represented at the head offices of New York, Vienna and Geneva.
The contacts of Marcel Haegi still let the FEVR remain close to the European Commission, and also the World Health Organisation in Geneva. During a dozen years, I had the chance of being close to this man, during meetings of the FEVR, of course, but also at meetings attached to the European Commission in Brussels, or in Italy, in Frascati close to Rome, at his home. He was a true friend.
With the Vice-president of FEVR Jan de Kroes (NL), we have, after the funeral and the condolences with his wife and all the family, in Collex-Bossy close to Geneva, deposited flowers on his tomb near that of his daughter, in the name of all FEVR member associations, and in the name of all those who are sensitive to problems resulting from the accidents on the roads, in the name of those for whom he fought and devoted his body and his heart…
He will leave a great vacuum in our FEVR. But we will do all that is possible to go on with his action, and to even continue the rise of the FEVR. In all simplicity,
THANK YOU, MARCEL HAEGI!
Jacques Duhayon Treasurer FEVR
Marcel Haegi welcomed Drive Alive into the fold of FEVR in the 1980s. In 1989 I invited him to come out to Johannesburg, South Africa, and deliver the key note address at our conference on “The aftermath of road Death and Injury”.Marcel was always available to give advice and to give help.He was a person who listened, really listened. I will miss him as the President of FEVR and as a very dear friend.
Moira Winslow Chairman and Founder of Drive Alive
Fondation Anne CELLIER
I do remember so well my first meeting with Marcel. He came one day spontaneously to our home. We had, both of us, a few months before, lost our child: our pain was the same but we wanted also both of us fight against the absurdity of death on the road.
The “Fondation Anne Cellier” was just born. Marcel HAEGI, deeply European, got the superb idea of the FEVR sometimes later.
During years I could admire his bravery in the struggle, his penetrating intelligence always concerned by efficiency, his active presence and contact with the European institutions.
We should be filled with gratitude towards Marcel: thanks to his warm energy never losing sight of the victims, he has known how to federate all of us with our differences; he has known to inform us without ever forgetting the objectives of progress.
We are missing Marcel already: his tenacity, his attachement to our cause, have been essential
By loyalty to Marcel, the F.E.V.R. has to continue, following the way he opened to us with great intelligence and generosity
Obituary for Marcel Haegi
by Prof Ian Roberts, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine,
Patron from 1998 of RoadPeace, who introduced him to Marcel Haegi
Obituaries tell as much about the living as about the dead. For out of the multitude of past actors and their countless past actions, those selected in an obituary are those that vibrate in the minds of the biographers. Marcel Haegi was a husband, father, grandfather and renowned nuclear physicist but what resonates for me, and for the BMJ, at this remarkable phase in history when 3,000 deaths every day on the world’s roads is accepted as the necessary albeit regrettable cost of motorized transportation, is his contribution as road safety activist and advocate for justice for road injury victims.
In 1988, Marcel’s eldest daughter Vlasta was killed, when her car was struck by a speeding driver. The speeding driver survived, was prosecuted and was required to pay compensation. After this Marcel and his family were expected to suffer in silence just like the thousands of other parents who have lost children to road traffic crashes.
In many countries, Britain included, road deaths are called accidents. No one is really responsible and no one is really to blame. Marcel however, could not accept this.
In their fight for justice, road injury victims had recruited a formidable ally. Marcel was a scientist, a statesman and was extraordinarily tenacious. Marcel obtained a Doctorate in Physics at the University of Geneva in 1968. He worked for several years as a research assistant at the European Centre of Nuclear Physics (CERN) before taking up the post of principal researcher at the Italian Centre for Nuclear Research in Frascati (Italy). He went on to become scientific advisor at the European Commission. By the time he retired in 1996, he had published close to 100 papers on experimental and theoretical physics.
Following the death of his daughter, Marcel founded the Association des Familles des Victimes de la Route in Switzerland. His aim was to give a voice to road traffic victims. Marcel was an experienced diplomat and he understood that in order to have political influence at the level of the major international institutions he needed to forge a broad based coalition of national victim organizations. He set about to do this with vigor and ability and by 1991 he had founded the European Federation of Road Traffic Victims.
In 1997, the Federation gained consultative status at the United Nations. This was a major coup since it meant that victims would be represented on the various UN road safety and human rights related working parties. Although the Federation could not vote, this was an opportunity to put victim’s issues on the agenda and to lobby the national representatives. Gaining consultative status was not an easy victory. Britain and Germany voted against the proposal.
After retiring, Marcel became a full time road safety and road victim advocate. He was driven by passion but a passion constrained by reason. He felt that 2004 would be an important year for the Federation. For the first time World Health Day had been dedicated to road safety, the UN had announced Road Safety Week and this week would see the launch of the World Report on Road Traffic Injury Prevention. It is therefore particularly tragic that he will not see for himself how the ripples of indignation against the slaughter on the roads, that he had been so active in initiating, are now gaining momentum and rising into waves.