Photo credit: Isabelle Merny
On 10 April 2022, Ms Marine Le Pen obtained 23.1% of the votes in the first round of the French presidential election. Her qualification for the second round of the election raises concern and vigilance within our association. Indeed, the candidate of the Rassemblement National, who has made "national priority" and "immigration control" the pillars of her electoral campaign and programme, is defending a vision and a project that are the opposite of our values, our principles and the projects that we lead and defend. For more than 40 years, Aide et Action, an international development association, has been dedicated to international solidarity and has been working for access to quality education for all, regardless of origin, gender or religion.
Since 1981, based on the values of inclusion, integrity and dignity, we have been accompanying the world's most vulnerable and marginalised populations on their path to education and at all stages of life.
In a world of constant change, already plagued by growing inequalities and exacerbated by the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, we know from our experience that only a collective and united response will be able to address the many crises - health, economic, social, security and political - that are already impacting human development and are likely to multiply in the future.
Mrs Le Pen defends the idea of an essentially hexagonal solidarity. Solidarity must, of course, be exercised in France: public bodies and associations are already working with the most disadvantaged French people; and this solidarity must, of course, be continued and strengthened. But our country is sufficiently stable and economically developed to also be able to accompany the most disadvantaged and deprived foreign populations towards development.
France has long made international commitments that it must now respect. For example, it has committed to allocate 0.7% of its GDP to official development assistance (compared to 0.55% of its gross national income in 2022) and to contribute, like 190 other countries, to achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (i.e. the eradication of poverty, hunger, disease and free access to basic education for all) by 2030.
An approach contrary to human rights
Despite France's historic commitment to international solidarity, Le Pen approaches international policy primarily through the distorted prism of immigration and security. Her priorities include establishing the superiority of French law over international law; restricting the right to asylum; abolishing the right to land; tightening the rules on naturalisation; penalising illegal presence and entry into the country and encouraging the deportation of illegal foreigners; not making any distinction with regard to unaccompanied minors...
In the name of the "France she loves", Ms. Le Pen thus advocates a violent, exclusionary migration policy based on an approach that is contrary to human rights.
The risk of withdrawal
For Aide et Action, the campaign and the programme of Mrs Le Pen are alarming. To envisage her arrival at the Elysée Palace is to fear a strong withdrawal into oneself, as well as an increase in nationalist and selective sentiment, decisions and actions that would jeopardise the survival, education and development of millions of people in the world, including in France. In addition to the loss of cultural richness and diversity for our country, the "national priority" would constitute a major obstacle on the road to acceptance of the other, to learning to live together, to international solidarity in favour of a peaceful and sustainable world. It would also inevitably lead to rejection, to an increase in all forms of inequality and discrimination, and to the exacerbation of resentment and conflict.
" If the Rassemblement National came to power, it would undermine the development and future of millions of children, young people and adults throughout the world. The France of human rights, of the values of "liberty, equality and fraternity" preached on the very pediments of the schools of the Republic, would become a nation of every man for himself, of discrimination and exclusion. The opposite of everything we have been fighting for for over 40 years! says Charles-Emmanuel Ballanger, Director of Aide et Action France.