While the hearing of the Minister of the Armed Forces is held behind closed doors, Parliament must finally be able to exercise genuine control over the sale of French weapons.
Paris, Tuesday, 7th of July 2020- Ten humanitarian and human right organizations expose the desire of the French government to maintain the opacity of its arms sales, on the occasion of the hearing held behind closed doors with the Minister of the Armed Forces, Florence Parly, at the National Defence and Armed Forces Commission of the National Assembly regarding its report on France’s arms exports over the past year.
By maintaining the confidentiality of this hearing, the French authorities are denying civil society, the media and public opinion the right to ensure France's compliance with its international commitments in terms of human rights and international humanitarian law as required by the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT).
France, like the rest of the international community, must terminate all licenses and supplies of weapons, military equipments and munitions to all parties associated with the conflict in Yemen and instead promote the implementation of the ceasefire and the protection of civilians, as well as the fight against impunity (accountability) and access to justice which are non-negotiable aspects of any long-lasting peace in Yemen.
France’s arms transfers should in no way contribute to the “human suffering “as mentioned by the UN Group of Eminent International Experts on Yemen in its latest report published on September 3rd, 2019. Our organizations therefore call upon the parliamentarians to mobilize so that France can finally be held accountable for its arms exports, particularly to the coalition led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates regarding the conflict in Yemen. Arms transfers suspected of fueling human rights violations in the conflict in Yemen must stop immediately.
France must investigate its role and that of its officials in regards to the violations and the war crimes allegedly committed by its allies in Yemen. As the Coalition led by the Saudis and the United Arab Emirates attacked civilians and civilian property including hospitals and schools, France continued to sell them weapons. France should support efforts made to fight impunity in Yemen rather than help its allies evade justice
If the government has a responsibility to be transparent, then parliament has a responsibility to monitor the government’s actions.
«We are strongly committed: We must create conditions for a continuous collaboration between the executive and the legislature on this issue of sovereignty », Jacques Maire, Deputy Chairman and Co-Rapporteur of the Fact-Finding Mission on Arms Exports, recently confirmed that the report is due to be published in the upcoming weeks. The elected representatives must now reaffirm these statements and finally fulfill their duty to monitor French arms exports. Our organizations will be vigilant in ensuring that this unprecedented call translates into greater transparency, not only toward the parliament but also toward civil society, public opinion, and the media. The hearing held on the 7th of July should be a first step towards the construction of a new role for parliamentary oversight of France’s arms exports. Civilian lives are at stake.
- Amnesty International France
- Action Against Hunger
- ACAT –Christian Action for the Abolition of Torture
- Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies
- International Federation of Human Rights
- Humanity and Inclusion - Handicap International
- League of Human Rights
- The Observatory of Arms
- Doctors of the World
- Mwatana for Human Rights
- Oxfam France