What is your assessment of the evolution of the human rights situation in France?
The space for public debate, the space for the realization of civil and political rights is being reduced. Why ? Because the right to demonstrate has been subject to numerous restrictions, because France continues to use tear gas, de-encirclement grenades, LBD 40s in an abusive manner and that, this use of violence by the police, it creates fear.
The legal framework has been strengthened, but against civil and political rights: the comprehensive security law has strengthened the power of the police, imposed a form of surveillance. This is a great cause for concern, as is the bill concerning respect for the principles of the Republic.
We are also talking about migration policies, the criminalization of acts of solidarity: this violence, these arrests continue.
This is a gradual destruction of the values that should be the foundation of any society. This is indeed a red card (addressed to France, editor’s note), to say “beware the latest developments in recent years and in particular in 2020 are going in a direction which is extremely harmful, problematic, and possibly even dangerous. for all rights and freedoms in France ”.
It is the set of values of solidarity, respect, values against racism, values for equality which are attacked by this set of measures taken, one has the impression, in a hurry, without a great thought.
The defense of human rights also involves diplomacy. You were not kind last year with Jean-Yves Le Drian. What do you blame Paris for on the international scene?
French diplomacy is not what it was on many rights issues, whether in relation to Saudi Arabia, or in relation to China.
France has taken measures on the sale of arms which are again difficult to understand: we sell arms to States which are recognized as responsible for war crimes, crimes against humanity, the responsibility of France is engaged.
How do you judge France’s attitude regarding the attack in Mali which, according to the UN, claimed the lives of 19 civilians in January?
France is in this position of silence and denial. Defense secrecy, we understand, it has a place in practices and policies, but it must also be supervised. When France implements defense secrecy in order to protect its reputation or to protect illicit or illegal activities, defense secrecy violates international standards.
You called as UN special rapporteur for the repatriation of the children of jihadists. Do you understand France’s position, which is sticking to a case-by-case return?
The children of jihadists in these camps in northeastern Syria live in abominable situations, atrocious at the humanitarian level, in terms of respect for their rights as children. There is no reason why France should not implement its obligation under international law to repatriate these children. Now they don’t do it or they have done it in exceptional cases, they do it in an arbitrary way: it is not acceptable.
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