France

Controversial global security law adopted, creating a state of generalised surveillance

After months of controversy, mobilisations and renegotiations, and despite strong criticism from UN Special Rapporteurs and CSOs, the French parliament on 15th April 2021 voted to adopt the controversial Global Security bill. Human rights organisations have warned that the proposed law would undermine public freedoms, creating a state of generalised surveillance, threatening the freedom to inform, the right to privacy and the right to demonstrate. in response to the adoption, civil society organisations are building coalitions against the law and mobilising to demand a citizen In referral to the Constitutional Council. In another concerning development, the draft legislation commonly known as the Anti-Separatism bill has been approved by France’s two parliamentary chambers and will be subject to final approval in the coming months. The bill would forbid religious signs in certain spaces and particularly targets the wearing of the hijab by Muslim women and girls.
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Controversial global security law adopted, creating a state of generalised surveillance

Worsening crackdown on civic space by Macron’s government to preserve ‘republican values’

French authorities have cracked down on civil society organisations (CSOs) accused of opposing the ‘Republican order’ and being ‘radical Islamists’. CSOs have also been under attack from extreme right and mainstream political forces, who have expressed stigmatising views towards Muslims and Muslim organisations. Following this, the French government led several initiatives which threatened civic space and the rule of law in France, which includes the draft Anti-Separatism law and the draft bill on Global Security. Objectors to the draft law on Global Security have maintained ongoing protests . The most controversial protest occurred in Paris, where organisers noted that police officers blocked access to the protest, refused to reveal their identification numbers and assaulted participants. There have been over 13,000 arrests in relation to these protests thus far.

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Worsening crackdown on civic space by Macron’s government to preserve ‘republican values’

Unjustified ban on protests during pandemic; Charlie Hebdo faces attack again

The governments ban on peaceful assembly was criticised due to its selective nature where shopping malls, bars, restaurants and an amusement park were authorised to open again, bringing together hundreds of people in small spaces, while protests were reprimanded by law enforcement. As a result, some demonstrations planned in June 2020 were prohibited in France. Despite this thousands gathered for Black Lives Matter protests and in memory of Adama Traoré, a 24-year-old black Frenchman who died in a 2016 police operation. The Council of State declared that the ban on demonstrations is not justified by the current health situation when the “barrier measures” can be respected or when the event is unlikely to bring together more than 5,000 people. Despite this, many bans were issued against demonstrations on the basis of disturbing public order and the state of health emergency and police detained protesters. In a separate development, French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, faced attacks yet again.
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Unjustified ban on protests during pandemic; Charlie Hebdo faces attack again

Police violence against protesters and journalists under spotlight

Police violence towards protesters and journalists has come under the spotlight during the G7 summit. In addition, the police disciplinary body is investigating cases of excessive force used against protesters who marched against the governments pension reforms. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, France has enacted a “State of Health Emergency” law. However, human rights organisations have raised concerns due to the Constitutional Council suspending its activities during this period. There have also been several reports of police abusing emergency laws. Read more  |  Read in French

Police violence against protesters and journalists under spotlight

Growing restriction and state violations against journalists covering continuous protests in France

As the “yellow vest” protests against inequality continue in France, in April 2019, President Emmanuel Macron signed into law the controversial “Anti-rioters” law that contains provisions restrictive to the freedom of assembly. The legislation gives security forces greater powers during demonstrations. Read more

Growing restriction and state violations against journalists covering continuous protests in France

Excessive police force against "Yellow Vest" protesters threatens freedom of assembly

French police has been criticised by human rights organisations for using excessive force and heavy-handed crowd control and anti-riot tactics during “Gilets Jaunes” (Yellow Vest) mass protests that have been ongoing since mid-November 2018 in Paris and other big cities. Read more  |  Read in French

Excessive police force against "Yellow Vest" protesters threatens freedom of assembly

NGO workers assisting migrants regularly harassed by police

A report released at the beginning of August by four NGOs warns of police intimidation and harassment of aid workers assisting refugees in Calais and Dunkirk. Read more

NGO workers assisting migrants regularly harassed by police

Anti-Nuclear Activists Arrested during simultaneous raids

Several anti-nuclear activists arrested, allegedly for infractions committed in previous protests in 2017. Read more

Anti-Nuclear Activists Arrested during simultaneous raids

Thousands of tear gas canisters fired as police clear anti-capitalist community

In dramatic scenes during April, thousands of police descended on a community in northwest France in an attempt to forcibly evict anti-capitalist residents. Read more

Thousands of tear gas canisters fired as police clear anti-capitalist community

SLAPP Lawsuits threaten critical voices in France

Subsidiaries of French corporate giant Bolloré are suing French media and NGOs because of reports about alleged land grabbing in Cameroon. Read more

SLAPP Lawsuits threaten critical voices in France