UN expert: France must ensure Paris arms fair ‘does not promote illegal instruments of torture’

Эксперт ООН: Франция должна гарантировать, что на оружейной ярмарке в Париже «не продвигают незаконные орудия пыток»

Paris, France. UN expert: France must ensure Paris arms fair ‘does not promote illegal instruments of torture’ Human rights

Amid the major arms fair Eurosatory 2024 taking place in Paris, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Ellis Jill Edwards called on the French government to ensure that event participants do not promote illegal instruments of torture. In November 2023, Paris hosted the Milipol Paris exhibition, where French and foreign companies promoted equipment related to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.

“The trade in instruments of torture is barbaric and must be curtailed as a matter of urgency,” Edwards said. 

“Late last year at Milipol Paris, four foreign companies were found to have items considered illegal under European Union law. These included spiked batons, thumb cuffs, leg shackles, leg shackles with handcuffs attached, and spiked handcuffs,” the Special Rapporteur said.  

She added that the exhibition included other devices included by the Special Rapporteur on the “list of prohibited equipment,” including direct contact stun guns, stun batons and stun gloves, ammunition containing multiple kinetic impact (MKI) bullets, and multi-barreled MKI launchers.

“The devices sold at Milipol Paris can easily puncture skin, damage the delicate bones of the hands and can electrocute at the touch of a button,” Edwards said.

At the Eurosatory 2024 arms fair, 2,000 participants from 62 countries present their products. It is estimated that 62,000 people may attend.

The Special Rapporteur noted that France has led the way in securing a ban on many of the devices on its prohibited equipment list and that the country also supports her call to the adoption of an international human rights instrument regulating the use of such equipment, its production, promotion and trade in them.  

“I invite the French government to continue support and lobby for a global agreement on torture-free trade,” said the UN expert.

The Special Rapporteur asked the French government to describe the measures that have been taken to ensure that to prevent the display or sale of prohibited weapons and equipment at Eurosatory 2024.

Edwards presented a list of prohibited instruments of torture to the UN General Assembly last year. 

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