200 lawyers and jurists call “for deconfinement and to defend life in all its aspects”
Dozens of lawyers, law professors and jurists signed an appeal led by lawyers Thibault Mercier and René Boustany to put an end to the lockdown of the country’s vital forces.
Here is the tribune of the 200 lawyers and jurists calling for deconfinement:
“While only a few days ago there was ‘no question of reconfinement’, Emmanuel Macron finally announced what many feared: the implementation of a new general and forced confinement. We, lawyers and jurists of all specialties and from all parts of France, exercising our free will and freedom of expression, express our indignation at the injustice of this measure.
After the past astonishment of the first lockdown, we believe that such a consent to the violations of our freedoms and ways of life is neither viable nor legitimate and that this placing of all French people under glass (ER: expression) will have major collateral effects that will be more deleterious than the virus itself.
Having just as much at heart to defend life as the thurifers (ER: acolytes) of the lockdown, we refuse the bad role assigned to us and the false morality that is opposed to us.
Of course, we agree with the President of the Republic’s statement that nothing is ‘more important than human life’, but we believe that general lockdown is an approach reduced to the biology of life alone, which forgets that health is also, according to the WHO definition, ‘a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity’. Protecting life therefore implies taking into account all its aspects, which are as much social, cultural, spiritual, political and economic as they are health-related.
We understand the anger and concerns of doctors and health care workers and call on the Government to provide them with the necessary means to practice their professions. While support for hospitals should have been the priority of the Executive in the last six months, the Executive has allowed itself to be overwhelmed and prefers to brandish the threat of a collapse of the health care system, allowing it to impose measures that it arbitrarily qualifies as a last resort in order to avoid having to study other options, which do exist. This is an insult to doctors and to the people of France by suggesting that they are not capable of managing the crisis we are going through.
By shutting down a large part of the country, the Government is sacrificing the most courageous of our people: entrepreneurs, the self-employed, craftsmen – those who took risks to invest and create, giving color and life to this country, as well as their employees. Yet the human and social misery that will result from this reconfinement (bankruptcies, depression, suicides, poverty, psychological disorders, abandonment of care) will also lead to many deaths, but necessarily less visible in the short term… If support measures have indeed been announced, they have been taken at the price of an unprecedented indebtedness of our country, which will ruin, tomorrow, our children and the political room for maneuver of our Nation.
If we are at war, as the Executive has repeatedly declared, it is courage that we need and not governance by fear that pushes us to moralizing guilt and acceptance of the worst by fear. Moreover, this fear is often irrational: let us recall that the median age of death is 84 years old according to the latest statistics from Santé Publique France. Forcing the majority of the population into inactivity, preventing any fighting effort, any start is a curious way to fight a battle!
We are therefore concerned about the future of this zero-risk society, which would be ready to stop living in order not to die, and sacrifice practically everything, its normal living conditions, social relations, work, and even friendships, affects and political and religious convictions, to the threat of contamination.
As jurists, we are also particularly alert to the twisting of the law that would be justified in the fight against the pandemic. Any state of exception, even justified by an exceptional health situation, implies a risk of drift. Thus our law is now subject to the technical-scientific injunction of doctors and the Scientific Council, who impose their specialist vision to the detriment of a more global political vision that must balance different interests. And health to become a legal obligation to be fulfilled at all costs?
Recalling that the WHO has underlined the deleterious effects of lockdown and basing ourselves in particular on the work of the Institute for Human Rights of European Lawyers and the Human Rights Institute of the Paris Bar, we consider that general forced lockdown is disproportionate in its infringement of our public liberties, unjust, contrary to the common good and therefore illegal. The Government must adapt its measures to protect fragile people and those exposed to the most serious forms of the pandemic without sacrificing all the citizens who allow countries to survive.
We join with many entrepreneurs and mayors of municipalities who have sounded the alarm. We therefore ask the Executive to allow the deconfinement of the living forces of our country, and the elites of all sides to make their voices heard to protest against these measures that will affect our most humble citizens the hardest”.
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