A majority (80%) of French people feel uninformed about the arms trade while more than 70% believe the arms trade should be the subject of a public debate in the country, according to a new opinion poll released by Amnesty International on Monday, ahead of the release of the government’s annual report on arms exports.
“The survey we are releasing today is a reminder that the arms trade is not a business like any other and that the government must be held to account on this issue. The French people are asking for it,” said Aymeric Elluin, Amnesty International France’s arms advocacy officer.
Amnesty is calling for greater transparency to ensure France meets its commitments under the UN Conventional Arms Trade Treaty adopted in 2013, which includes stopping the flow of arms to countries where these are known to be used to commit or facilitate genocide, crimes against humanity, or other serious human rights violations.
“While Saudi Arabia remains France’s largest customer for war material deliveries for the 2010-2019 period, we hope that the forthcoming annual report will finally include detailed, comprehensive and updated information so that it can serve as a solid basis for a legitimate and democratic public debate on France’s arms transfers to countries that violate human rights. We are still a long way from that today,” Elluin added.
France is the world’s third-largest arms exporter after the US and Russia with French exports in 2019 amounting to €8.33 billion. Of that, 42% was bought by other EU countries. (Mathieu Pollet | EURACTIV.fr)