Human Lives Human Rights: Rights organizations are urging the French government to give top priority to completely overhauling the regulations that govern the use of firearms and lethal force by law enforcement officers.
They are calling for an end to the dangerous denial of the impact of systemic racism within law enforcement and for the protection of the right to peaceful assembly. This demand comes in the wake of the banning of several protests against police violence following the unlawful killing of 17-year-old Nahel M by a police officer.
The unlawful killing of Nahel by the police, which is just one of many similar incidents at traffic stops, emphasizes the immediate necessity for a complete overhaul of France’s dangerously vague and lenient regulations regarding the use of firearms by law enforcement.
The existing rules do not meet international legal standards and, combined with the ongoing failure to address racial profiling, systemic racism, and the lack of accountability for officers who use unnecessary or excessive force, has instilled fear in the public.
The issue of drivers and passengers being killed by French police has been a longstanding problem. Amendments to the Internal Security Code have introduced the principles of “absolute necessity and strict proportionality” into the existing regulations regarding the use of firearms in various situations. This means that law enforcement officers should refrain from using firearms if they can achieve their objective through less harmful methods.
Additionally, when firearms are used, the harm caused should not exceed the harm that the use of firearms is intended to prevent. Nevertheless, the regulations do not effectively limit the use of firearms to situations where there is an immediate risk of loss of life or serious injury. As a result, these rules do not meet the standards set by international human rights law.