PARIS – Paris Francophone Institute for Freedoms called on the French government to stop selling arms to countries in the Middle East that are involved in internal or external violations of international laws.
Paris Institute criticized, in a press release, the French government’s sustained ignorance for human rights organizations’ pressure to limit the supply of arms to the conflict-ridden Middle East region.
Paris Institute warned that France, one of the world’s largest arms exporters, is seeking to increase its diplomatic strength in the Middle East by selling warships, tanks, artillery to the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Egypt.
It pointed out that 60 % of France’s arms sales were exported into the Middle East Arms exports to the region reached 3.92 billion Euros, compared to 1.94 billion dollars a year earlier, while major French military firms, including Dassault and Thales, had large contracts with Gulf states.
Paris Institute For Human Rights has urged the French government to halt its support for Arab countries involved in a Saudi-UAE-led coalition in the war against Houthi militia in Yemen.
The Institute also called upon the French government to end its indirect participation in the Egyptian government’s crackdown on its opponents over the past five years by selling mass surveillance technology, personal data collection and crowd control.
France is now the third largest arms exporter in the world after the United States and Russia, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).
Unlike other allied countries, French arms export licenses are not subject to parliamentary restrictions. The licenses are approved by a committee headed by the prime minister and comprising ministries of foreign affairs, defense and economy. Details of licenses are not revealed and once approved, they are rarely reviewed.