National State of Emergency and Dual Nationality Discussion Divide the French

France, 30 Dec - 27 Jan 2016
Deprivation of dual nationality for terrorists divides French politicians ++ Government considers new extension of National State of Emergency ++ Clinical trial accident: One person dies during drug tests. by Ina Berger
Deprivation of dual nationality for terrorists divides French politicians

After the terrorist attacks in November 2015 in Paris the French Government has introduced a legal proposal to withdraw the French nationality from dual nationality citizens who have been convicted of terrorist actions. The proposal is part of the constitutional amendment bill which will be discussed in the Parliament next month.

President Hollande, Prime Minister Valls and other supporters of the proposal claim that the deprivation of the French nationality was an important sanction against those who “harmed the fundamental interests of the Nation” even though it concerned only a small number of people and was primarily of symbolic value.

While the legal proposal of the socialist Government was appreciated by the extreme right Front National, politicians of the Socialist Party as well as the conservative party The Republicans are deeply divided about the subject. Many of them criticise the idea as a dangerous measure which could lead to a further division of the French population. Dual nationals would be discriminated against by the constitution, though equality was one of the basic principles of the French State. Furthermore, the deprivation would not help in any way to fight and diminish terrorism.

Although, surveys convey that almost 90 % of the French population are in favour of the proposal, it remains uncertain, if the Government will manage to gather the necessary three fifths of supporting votes in the Parliament to modify the Constitution.

Government considers new extension of National State of Emergency

The French Government is currently discussing whether or not to extend the current state of emergency established after the Paris terror attacks in November. President François Hollande announced that the state of emergency would be maintained for three more months.
Journalists however doubt that things will get “back to normal” in the end of May as France will host the UEFA football European Cup 2016 this June. As thousands of international visitors are expected, this is seen as a great challenge for the French security forces.
In an interview with the BBC Prime Minister Manuel Valls explained that the state of emergency had to be kept up as long as “necessary” until “we have defeated Daesh [another term for IS]”. He states, nevertheless, that the situation could not be a permanent one.

While the first extension had been supported by a great majority of the deputies, critical voices have recently grow louder. The state of emergency enables the police to undertake house raids and place people under house arrest without a prior judicial mandate. Furthermore, protests and public gatherings can be banned.
The French Human Rights League (LDH) and UN specialists for human rights criticise that the state of emergency and its measures were “excessive and disproportional for the fundamental liberties”. They observe that they have also been used to silence environmental activists during the Paris Climate Conference in December. Still, about 69 % of the French seem to be in favour of an extension of the state of emergency.

Clinical trial accident: One person dies during drug tests

In the course of a drug test in a clinical trial in Rennes one man died in hospital after having been diagnosed brain-dead several days earlier. Another five patients have been taken into in-patient care with neurological troubles. Three showed signs of permanent neurological damage leading to irreversible disabilities.
The six men had taken part in a clinical trial carried out by the well-reputed French company Biotrial. The drug had been produced by the Portuguese company Bial. The medicine aimed at treating pathologies such as troubles of anxiety or certain symptoms of Parkinson and the accident occurred in Phase I of the trial.
French authorities are investigating into the reasons for the accident. The drug trial was been suspended immediately.

The French newspaper Figaro managed to obtain the laboratory’s records on the trial and handed it to experts who expressed doubts concerning the seriousness of the tests. They claim to have found evidence of incoherent data regarding the trial’s chronological process and suppose that certain stages of the tests had not been carried out properly.
Probands currently taking part in other clinical trials showed themselves concerned and insecure. Meanwhile, Marisol Touraine, the French Health Minister, pointed out that the accident needed to be examined closely but that there was no reason to question clinical trials in general.

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