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POLITICS

French parliament approves introduction of vaccine pass

The bill changing France's health pass into a vaccine pass which bars the unvaccinated from venues including cafés, gyms and long-distance trains has been approved by the French parliament and is expected to enter into effect this week.

Health pass control in France
Proof of vaccination will now be required to enter leisure and cultural venues in France. Photo: Pascal Pochard Casablanca/AFP

MPs in the Assemblée nationale voted on the bill’s final reading on Sunday evening, with 215 in favour of the vaccine pass and 58 against.

France has had a health pass in place since the summer, requiring visitors to venues including bars, restaurants, cafés, gyms, leisure centres, theatres, cinemas, tourist sites, large gatherings and long-distance trains to show either proof of vaccination, proof of recent recovery from Covid or a negative Covid test.

However, the passing of this bill means means that only proof of vaccination will be accepted for the pass.

READ ALSO What changes when France’s health pass becomes a vaccine pass?

The new rule is expected to come into force this week, with Friday, January 21st suggested as a likely start date.

The government’s original planned start date was January 15th, but the bill was delayed several times as it passed through the Assemblée nationale on the first reading, the Senate and then back to the Assemblée nationale.

Some of the opposition parties have said they intend to appeal to the Constitutional Council, which considers whether new laws or decrees in France comply with the country’s constitution.

For people who are already vaccinated and use either a paper vaccination certificate or the TousAntiCovid app to enter health pass venues, nothing will change.

But unvaccinated people will be shut out of a wide range of leisure and cultural venues, although vaccination is only mandatory for health workers in France. 

Member comments

  1. Q ? – Is the plan to keep the vaccine passport only until the Cov.19 Pandemic is over or is the plan that once the pandemic is over the Health Pass be re-tasked to exclude members of society that do not take, say, a flu vaccine ?

    Q ? – Does anyone know where it is that the establishment are developing an ‘anti-social scoring matrix ‘ that is embedded into their National identity pass necessary for access to all manor of aspects of life – in their case, simply put should you in any way offend society you get a black mark which is recorded and then effects you in a number of ways – such as the ability to get Credit, access restaurants, shopping malls and so forth. A – China.

    The most effective tools of a government (with aspiration for more control) is to plant into the conversation of society “what are you trying to hide” – “if you are a good member of society society will reward you with inclusion” –

    If you accept the loss of these freedoms easily – only when you look back and see the aggregate value of the liberty and freedom of self determination you have talked yourself out of will you regret giving up each small piece of freedom so easily now.

    So – when the pandemic is over will the Health Pass go ? And if not why not. We cannot develop a vaccine to give the population without any new Covid variant so when that scenario evolves – which it will do soon, why would we see a continued insistence on the Health Pass.

    I am vaccinated and happy to be so – why should it matter to me if my next door neighbour is un-vaccinated. The vaccine protects me (allegedly) so the only person at risk is my neighbour and that is his choice – surely ?

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POLITICS

Newly appointed French Minister faces rape allegations

The final composition of the new French government was announced on Friday. A new investigation suggests that historic rape allegations against a newly appointed minister were ignored.

Newly appointed French Minister faces rape allegations

It didn’t take long for scandal to hit the France’s new government.

An investigation by Mediapart published the day after the final list of ministerial positions was announced revealed that two women have accused one of the appointees of rape. 

READ MORE Who’s who in France’s new government?

Damien Abad, the new Solidarity Minister denies the allegations and a police investigation into one allegation was dropped in 2017. But another could be about to open. 

Who is Damien Abad? 

Damien Abad is a 42-year-old son of a miner from Nimes in southern France who became the first handicapped MP to be elected in 2012. He has arthrogryposis, a rare condition that affects the joints.

Prior to his appointment as the Minister for Solidarity, Autonomy and Disabled People, he was the leader of the France’s right-wing Republicans party in the Assemblée nationale

What are the allegations? 

Two alleged victims, who didn’t know each other, told Mediapart that Abad raped them on separate occasions in 2010 and 2011.

The first woman described meeting Abad for dinner after having met him weeks earlier at a wedding. She said she blacked out after one glass of champagne and woke up in her underwear in a hotel bed with Abad the next morning fearing she had been drugged. 

A second woman who lodged a formal charge against Abad in 2017 said that he harassed her by text message for years. She eventually agreed to meet with him one evening. After initially consenting, she told him to stop – but her plea fell on deaf ears as Abad raped her. 

What does Abad have to say? 

The new minister denies the accusations.

“It is physically impossible for me to commit the acts described,” he told Mediapart – in reference to his disability. 

He admitted to sending “sometimes intimate” messages, but said he had “obviously never drugged anyone”. 

“I was able to have adventures, I stand by my claim that they were always consensual.”

Is he under investigation? 

The second alleged victim made a formal allegation against Abad in 2017. 

A subsequent investigation was dropped later that year after a “lack of sufficient evidence was gathered”.

Mediapart report that Abad’s entourage were not questioned by police and that the MP told investigators that he had no memory of the alleged crime. 

The first alleged victim flagged the abuse to the Observatory of Sexist and Sexual Violence in Politics – an unofficial watchdog monitoring elected bodies – earlier this month. 

The Observatory has since brought the case to the state prosecutor, but it is unclear if another investigation will be launched.  

Who knew? 

The tone deaf appointment of Gérald Darmanin as Interior Minister in 2020 was controversial because at the time he was under investigation for rape. His nomination was met with street protests in Paris and elsewhere. Feminists accused (and continue to accuse) Emmanuel Macron of not taking sexual violence seriously. 

The investigation into Darmanin’s alleged crime has since been dropped.

Some will question whether the naming of Abad shows that lessons have not been learned. 

“Once again a minister  in the government of Emmanuel Macron accused of rape,” said Caroline De Haas, the founder of the #NousToutes feminist movement. 

The Observatory sent a message warning senior party figures in the Republicans and LREM about the allegations on Monday – prior to Abad’s nomination. 

France’s new Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne denied having any knowledge of the warning. 

“I am going to be very clear on all these questions of harassment and sexual violence, there will be no impunity,” she said during a visit to Calvados. 

“If there are new elements, if the courts are summoned, we will accept the consequences.” 

READ MORE Who is Élisabeth Borne, France’s new PM?

The Observatory meanwhile claims it has been ignored. 

“Despite our alerts, Damien Abad who is accused of rape has been named in government. Thoughts and support to the victims,” it tweeted

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