Florent Compain, President of Friends of the Earth France, is being sued by the bank BNP Paribas for taking part in a non-violent citizen action, called the requisition of chairs, in one of the bank’s branches in November 2015.
The action took place a few weeks ahead of UN Climate Change Conference 21 (COP21). The aim was not only to condemn BNP Paribas’s role in the tax evasion system, but also to raise the alarm over the lack of funding for the climate crisis and the much needed ecological and social transition, while $20,000 to 32,000 billion continue to be sheltered in tax havens.
Following the prosecution of “Faucheurs de Chaises” activist Jon Palais in January 2017, BNP Paribas, one of the world’s leading banks and a COP21 sponsor, is now taking Florent Compain to court. His trial will take place on April 11, 2017 in Bar-le-Duc, France.
Once again, a citizen and activist is being prosecuted, when BNP Paribas should be the one in the dock.
We accuse BNP Paribas of organizing tax evasion, for example through the creation of offshore companies as revealed in the Panama Papers. BNP Paribas is the French bank that generates the highest profit in tax havens, making €2.4 billion in 2014.
We accuse BNP Paribas of exacerbating the climate crisis with its continued financing of fossil fuels, nuclear and other false solutions incompatible with the social and ecological transition needed to prevent catastrophic climate change. While BNP Paribas has halted its direct support of new coal projects, it continues to finance companies involved in developing, extracting and consuming coal. Furthermore BNP Paribas is looking for other fossil fuel projects to finance, such as the LNG export terminal in Texas, US (for fracked gas), despite a French ban on shale gas.
We accuse BNP Paribas of disregarding people’s right to a healthy environment and control over their living conditions, through its funding of companies known for misconduct against those who protest against their activities (Glencore, BHP Billiton, Anglo American amongst others) and projects such as the Dakota Access Pipeline in the US, currently being fought by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.
Because the next 5 to 10 years will be crucial in stabilizing the climate, the money currently hidden in tax havens and used to finance the world’s most polluting companies should be immediately redirected to fund an ecological and social transition to help us tackle the climate challenge.
Powerful multinational companies responsible for the tax evasion system, the destruction of the environment and living conditions of people around the globe should be prosecuted, not “Faucheurs de Chaises” activists, whistleblowers and environmental activists. BNP Paribas is the one that belongs in the dock.
Over 150 organizations from 56 different countries join forces to denounce the actions of BNP Paribas. In support of Friends of the Earth France/Les Amis de la Terre president Florent Compain, who will be tried on April 11th for requisitioning chairs in a BNP agency, these organizations testify in their language of their indignation:
50 Vietnam (Vietnam), 350.org Australia (Australia), 350.org France (France), 350.org Germany (Germany), ACFM Niger (Niger), Action Non-Violente COP21 (France) , ActionAid International (International), ActionAid France-Peuples Solidaires (France), Agir pour l’Environnement (France), Alofa Tuvalu (France ), Alternatiba (France), Amigos da Terra Brasil (Brazil), Amigos de la Tierra (Spain), Amigos de la Tierra Argentina (Argentina), Amigos de la Tierra Madrid (Spain), Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD) (Asia-Pacific), Association CRI-AC + Collectif Isérois contre les huiles et gaz de Schiste et houille (France), Association Nigérienne des Scouts de l’Environnement (Niger), ATTAC France (France), ATTAC Japan (Japan), Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (Bangladesh), BankTrack (Netherlands), Bankwijzer -Scan des Banques (Belgium), BBL (Belgium), Bharat Jan Vigyan Jatha (India), Biofuelwatch (UK), Bizi ! (Pays Basque), Bluff Ridge Conservancy (South Africa), Both ENDS (Pays-Bas) , BUND – Friends of the Earth Germany (Germany), BUNDjugend/Jeunes Amis de la Terre Allemagne (ermany), Campaign for Climate Justice (Nepal), CEE Bankwatch Network (International), Censat Agua Viva (Colombia), Centar za životnu sredinu/Amis de la Terre Bosnie-Herzégovine (Bosnia and Herzegovina) , Center for Environment (Bosnia and Herzegovina), CHANGE (Vietnam) , Climate Action Network Europe (CAN Europe) Europe, Climaxi (Belgium), Coalition Against Nuclear Energy (South Africa), COECOCEIBA (Costa Rica), Collectif Causse Méjean – Gaz de Schiste NON ! (France), Colletif viganais contre les gaz et huiles de schiste (France), Confédération paysanne (France), Coordination gegen BAYER-Gefahren (Germany), Corporate Europe Observatory (Europe), Counter Balance (Czech Republic), CRID (France), Daraja Press (International), Earth in Brackets (International), Earthlife Africa Jhb (Afrique du Sud ), EarthLore (South Africa), Ecodefense (Russia), Ecologie sans frontières (France), Ecologistas en Acción (Spain), ECOMUNIDADES (Mexico), Syndicat ELA (Pays Basque) , Engajamundo (Brazil) , Environmental Rights Action (Nigeria), ethecon Stiftung Ethik & Ökonomie (Germany), European Environmental Bureau (Europe), FairFin (Belgium), Finance & Trade Watch (Austria), Focus Association for Sustainable Development (Slovenia), Fondation Danielle Mitterrand France Libertés (France), Food & Water Europe (Belgium/UE), Forschungs- und Dokumentationszentrum Chile-Lateinamerika e.V. (Germany), Foundation for Environment and Agriculture (Bulgaria), FRANCE AMERIQUE LATINE (France), France Nature Environnement (France), Friends of the Earth Australia (Australia), Friends of the Earth Canada (Canada), Friends of the Earth England Wales and Northern Ireland (England, Wales and Northern Ireland) Friends of the Earth Finland(Finland), Friends of the Earth Indonesia (Indonesia), Friends of the Earth International (Netherlands), Friends of the Earth Japan (Japan), Friends of the Earth Malta (Malta), Friends of the Earth Scotland (Scotland), Friends of the Earth Uruguay (Uruguay), Friends of the Earth USA (USA), Friends of the Earth Malaysia (Malaysia), Friends of the Earth-Ghana (Ghana), Friends of the Siberian Forests (Russia), Fundación Solón (Bolivia),Geg enStroemung – CounterCurrent (Germany), GLOBAL 2000 (Austria), Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (USA), Global Environmental Trust (South Africa), Global Forest Coalition International Green Development Advocates (GDA) (Cameroon), Greenpeace France (France), Ibon international (Philippines), Independent community activist for human rights and social justice (South Africa), Indian Social Action Forum (India), INFOE – Institute for Ecology and Action Anthropology (Germany), Institute for Policy Studies – Climate Policy Program (USA), JA !Justica Ambiental/FOEMozambique (Mozambique), Japan Center for a Sustainable Environment and Society (Japan), Jordens Vänner/Friends of the Earth Sweden (Sweden),Jubilee Australia (Australia), Korea Federation for Environmental Movement(KFEM/FoE Korea) (Republic of Korea), Korea Federation for Environmental Movements (Republic of Korea), LDC News Service (UK), Leave it in the Ground Initiative (Germany), Les Amis de la Terre Togo (Togo), Ligue des droits de l’Homme (France), Magyar Természetvédvők Szövetsége / Friends of the Earth Hungary (Hungary), MAN-Mouvement pour une Alternative Non-violente (France), Market Forces (Australia), Mfolozi Community Environmental Justice Organisation (South Africa), Milieudefensie – Friends of the Earth Netherlands (Netherlands), Mom Loves Taiwan Association (Taiwan), Mouvement Ecologique asbl. (Luxembourg), Mouvement SOL (France), MTVSZ / Friends of the Earth Hungary (Hungary), Nation Océan (France), National Toxics Network (Australia), NOAH Friends of the Earth Denmark (Denmark), ODG – Observatori del Deute en la Globalització (Spain), Oxfam France (France), PAX (Pays-Bas), Plateforme Paradis Fiscaux et Judiciaires (France), Platform (UK, PowerShift e.V. (Germany), Pro Natura / Friends of the Earth Switzerland (Switzerland), Pro Public/ FOE,Nepal (Nepal), PVDA (Belgique), Rainforest Action Network (USA), Re:Common (Italy), REDES Amigos de la Tierra (Uruguay), ROBIN WOOD e.V. (Germany), Réseau Action Climat-France (France), Résistance à l’agression publicitaire (France), Sierra Club (USA), Solidaires Finances Publiques (France), South Durban Community Environmental Alliance (South Africa), Stop GDS 39 (France), Students for a Just and Stable Future (USA), Surfrider Foundation Europe (France), Texas Drought Project (USA), The Law and Policy of Sustainable Development Research Center (Vietnam), TierrActiva (Peru), Urgewald (Germany), Village Emmaüs Lescar Pau (France), WALHI – Friends of the Earth Indonesia (Indonesia), We Women Lanka (Sri Lanka), WISE, World Information Service on Energy (Netherlands), WoMin African Alliance (South Africa), YUVA Association (Turkey), Zelena akcija/FoE Croatia (Croatia)