French President François Hollande on Wednesday told French parliament leaders that he will seek a third extension of state of emergency powers introduced immediately after the November 13th terrorist attacks in Paris which left 130 people dead. The announcement followed two separate and fiercely critical reports published this week, one by the government’s own official consultative committee on human rights which denounced "abuses" and the "devastating damage" of the special powers the government has granted itself, and another by a panel of United Nations rights experts who said the measure had created “excessive and disproportionate restrictions”. Jérôme Hourdeaux reports.
For many years successive French governments have opposed the decriminalisation of cannabis, unlike many other countries. However, France did recently bring in on-the-spot police fines in a bid to simplify procedures and avoid lengthy and costly court cases for cannabis users. However, this new approach will not end the disparities and lack of coherence in the existing repressive policy, under which prosecution for using cannabis depends as much on who you are and where you live as on what you smoke. Michaël Hajdenberg reports.
A committee of the UN's International Maritime Organization is discussing ways to reduce the sulphur content in marine fuels, a pollutant said to be responsible for up to 50,000 deaths a year in Europe alone. But France's representative on the body is an employee of French oil firm Total - which produces those very same marine fuels. As Jade Lindgaard reports, there is embarrassment in Paris over this apparently flagrant conflict of interest.
Following the revelation in late April that a UN investigation had collected convincing evidence that French peacekeeping troops in the Central African Republic (CAR) had sexually abused boys aged as young as nine, including acts of rape, the French authorities feigned to be unaware of the alleged events, despite being alerted at least eight months earlier. In this investigation by Mediapart, we present the confidential UN report in full, and hear from aid workers and members of inter-governmental organizations active in the strife-torn country how child abuse cases are in fact more widespread, why they believe there was a deliberate cover up of the UN evidence, and the tales of wider scandals involving members of the foreign community in CAR, a country that has become anything but a sovereign state. Thomas Cantaloube in Bangui and Célhia de Lavarène in New York report.
US Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Paris late on Saturday to discuss what increasingly appears to be an imminent US-led military attack, with the active support of France, upon the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad. Kerry said the international community was now before a "Munich moment", referring to the appeasement that failed to stop Nazi Germany in the 1930s. "We in the United States know, and our French partners know, that this is not the time to be silent spectators to slaughter," he said. The present crisis will, whatever the outcome, be recorded as a turning point for French President François Hollande. Mediapart editor-in-chief Edwy Plenel argues here that Hollande has alone decided to lead his country to war in a simplistic and precipitated manner, while turning his back on the two challenges left by his predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy, namely a renewal of the democratic process in France and the establishment of a new approach to international relations.
by Edwy Plenel
Directeur de la publication : Edwy Plenel
Direction éditoriale : Stéphane Alliès et Carine Fouteau
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