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Macron Should Address Rights Abuses in Gulf Region

This week, French President Emmanuel Macron will visit the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia and Qatar, with a large delegation of French ministers and major business executives. In the UAE, he will apparently be finalizing a weapons deal, when…
News

Civil Society Participation Key to Success at UN Climate Talks

At this month’s virtual climate negotiations several United Nations officials and governments highlighted the importance of civil society participation in climate action. Yet at the summit’s plenary session, time ran out before civil society…
Residents and environmental activists on Lamu island, Kenya, protest the proposed Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia (LAPSSET) project on March 1, 2012.  © 2012 Reuters/Joseph Okanga
News

France Complicit as Magomed Gadaev at Risk of Torture in Chechnya

Magomed Gadaev, 37, an asylum seeker from Chechnya and key witness in a high-profile torture case against Chechnya’s leadership, was abducted by Chechen security officials on April 11, two days after his deportation from France to Russia. France…
Magomed Gadaev pictured in Paris, France.
News
Over the past year, France has been an outspoken voice on the mounting crisis in the Brazilian Amazon, calling international attention to the disastrous environmental policies of President Jair Bolsonaro. But if France genuinely hopes to help…
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News

Arms Sales to Rights-Abusing Countries Fuel Atrocities Against Civilians

Last week, the French government published its latest report on arms exports, documenting sales and transfers throughout 2019. After Qatar, the governments of Saudi Arabia and Egypt received the greatest amounts, accounting for €1.4 billion and €1.0…
French-made Leclerc tanks of the Saudi-led coalition are deployed on the outskirts of the Yemeni port city of Aden during a military operation, August 3, 2015.
News

Other Dangerous Crowd Control Weapons Remain in Use

This week, France’s Interior Minister Christophe Castaner announced that French police would stop using the controversial GLI-F4 tear gas grenade. This move is long overdue, but doesn’t address serious concerns about other weapons…
Protester picks up a tear gas grenade during a police charge on December 8, 2019 on the Champs Elysees, Paris.
News

Libya Could Have Used Ships to Commit Abuses Against Migrants and Asylum Seekers

France’s decision last week to withdraw its offer of six boats to the Libyan Coast Guard is good news, as Libya could have used this “gift” to subject even more migrants and refugees to serious abuses in Libya. In February,…
Migrants on a boat that they tried to take to Italy, after being detained at a Libyan Navy base in Tripoli on September 20, 2015.
News
A 16-year-old boy named David is one of a group of children lodging a UN complaint against France and four other countries for its lagging efforts to fight the global climate crisis. David is from the Marshall Islands, on the front line of the…
Youth activists from all continents have brought a complaint to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) on climate change.
News

Government Should Invite, Not Repress Climate Change Activism

Last weekend, France recorded an all-time heat record of 45.9 degrees Celsius. With rising temperatures globally, heatwaves are becoming more intense and frequent and their impacts can be devastating. But when a group called Extinction Rebellion…
French CRS riot police forcibly remove French youth and environmental activists as they block a bridge during a demonstration in Paris, France.
News

French Assistance Could Lead to Gross Rights Violations

People shackled, beaten, burned, crushed, hung upside down, threatened, and detained in horrendous conditions: the images broadcast recently by Channel 4 News apparently showing the torture and inhumane conditions suffered by some…
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News
Following his meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel last week, French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted that he wanted “to make the Mediterranean a chance and not a fear.” But does he mean Europeans’ fears of foreigners,…
Migrants are seen onboard the charity ship Lifeline at Boiler Wharf in Senglea, in Valletta's Grand Harbour, Malta June 27, 2018.
News

New provisions risk undermining asylum seekers’ rights while not solving ongoing issues

In France, asylum seekers are sleeping rough, and flawed procedures often leave unaccompanied migrant children adrift, homeless, and excluded from the care they need. But instead of addressing these challenges or correcting…
Tents are seen at a makeshift migrant camp on a street near the metro stations of Jaures and Stalingrad in Paris, France, October 28, 2016
News

‘Fraternity’ Ruling Offers Wider Lessons for Europe

France’s highest court has just ruled that helping others in need, including undocumented migrants, is protected by the country’s constitution. The decision comes at a time when people and groups trying to help undocumented migrants – in…
Migrants rest after having crossed part of the Alps mountain range from Italy into France, near the town of Nevache in southeastern France, December 21, 2017.
News

New Bill Could Open Door to Wrongful Asylum Rejections

Proposed changes by France’s Senate Law Commission to a controversial and widely criticized asylum and immigration bill could make things worse and open the door to improper and unlawful exclusion of refugees. The commission’s amendments would…
Migrants queue for a free meal distributed by the Adventist Development and Relief Agency International (ADRA) humanitarian agency on a street near Stalingrad metro station in Paris, France, October 28, 2016
News
It’s the middle of winter and six hundred or more asylum seekers and migrants, including more than 100 unaccompanied children, remain camped out in Calais in increasingly dire conditions, exposed to the elements and faced with routine police…
Migrants in Calais gather in the rain for a clothing distribution in an industrial zone on the outskirts of Calais, France. © Futuro Berg/Help Refugees, October 2017
News

Authorities Should End Abuse of Migrants, Open Shelters for Winter

Shortly after he became president of France last year, Emmanuel Macron had a hopeful vision for humanely addressing the country’s asylum crisis. “By the end of the year, I do not want to have men and women on the streets, in the woods. I want…
A migrant walks past the slogans which read "refugees welcome" written on a wall near the former "jungle" in Calais, France, August 23, 2017.
News
It was mid-morning in late June, but the warehouse in Calais was dark, cold, and drafty. I sat on the ground with “Marie,” a tall, slim French woman in her early twenties. Bent forward with a look of concentration, she described how the…
Migrants in Calais gather in the rain for a clothing distribution in an industrial zone on the outskirts of Calais, France. © Futuro Berg/Help Refugees, October 2017
News

Pact Would Enshrine Key Rights Protections

Today, in front of the United Nations General Assembly, French President Emmanuel Macron is set to launch the Global Pact for the Environment. Its primary aim is to bolster international efforts to protect the environment from climate…
French President Emmanuel Macron waits for a guest outside the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, September 15, 2017.
News
In Calais at the end of June, I spoke to a 17-year-old Ethiopian boy (I’ll call him Biniam T.). He said French riot police (the Compagnies républicaines de sécurité, CRS) had sprayed him with a chemical substance as he was walking with…
After police halted an evening distribution of food and clothing, three officers stop and question a boy who had paused to change his shoes before returning to the wooded area where he and other migrants spend the night, May 2017. © 2017 Help Refugees
News

In times of populist and xenophobic election rhetoric, protecting the rights of young migrants can be an uphill battle

I recently met “Birhan” in a shelter for unaccompanied migrant children in southern France. Birhan is a friendly 17-year-old boy from Eritrea —he was open to speaking to me and offering to make me tea, which I accepted gratefully on a cold day. …
Unaccompanied children in the Calais migrant camp await interviews with the UK Home Office, October 22, 2016.