A brief look at Human rights violations (part 4) France
A brief look at Human rights violations (part...
Reports and statistics from various international organizations and news agencies indicate that the rate of human rights violations in France has, in some cases, been much worse than the past. In this report we enumerate some of these violations from Mid-April till June.
1- A bill before the French Parliament on immigration and asylum could jeopardize access to protection and should be revised. “The few – albeit significant – positive measures in the bill cannot hide the concerns it raises for people who were at risk in their home countries.” said Bénédicte Jeannerod, France director at Human Rights Watch. Human Rights Watch is concerned about the following measures:
- Lack of fairness in accelerated procedures: for example, the bill would reduce the period for filing an asylum application from 120 days after entering French territory to 90 days. But asylum seekers face significant obstacles to filing their applications, in many cases finding it difficult or impossible to get legal or other assistance they need, within a shorter time period.
- Shortened deadline for appealing rejections: The bill would reduce from one month to 15 days the time for all asylum seekers to file appeals of negative decisions. Such a short time-frame for the preparation of what can be a technical and complex filing and for which applicants will need legal support, risks depriving them of an effective remedy, with severe and far reaching consequences.
- Removals would no longer be suspended pending appeal: Removing the automatic suspension of removal during an appeal undercuts asylum seekers’ right to an effective remedy and means asylum seekers could be sent back to their country even if their claims of persecution not having been fully adjudicated.
- Increased maximum detention period: The bill would increase the maximum administrative detention period for those awaiting deportation from 45 to 90 days.
- Migrant children in detention: This draft law does not address the issue of the detention of migrant children, when it could have been an opportunity for France to abolish this practice.
2- Thousands of Parisians took part in the annual parade, held to mark International Workers' Day, held on May 1, and the protests turned violent. There is widespread discontent in labour unions over Mr Macron's reforms. More than 100 people remained in custody in Paris. An estimated 1,200 masked and hooded protesters dressed in black took part in the violence, Paris police said. At a news conference, officials said three people were detained for throwing projectiles and another four for carrying prohibited weapons. police used teargas and water cannon to disperse the protesters.
3- Thousands of protesters marched under tight security in eastern Paris, after French labor unions, left-wing political parties and civil rights groups called for "floods of people" to oppose the pro-business policies of President Emmanuel Macron. Police estimated that 21,000 people took part in the Paris protest, while The General Confederation of Labour put the number at 80,000. Unions, opposition parties and other groups are particularly denouncing a Macron-led legal overhaul aimed at cutting worker protections and increasing police powers. They allege that Macron supports tax reform that favors France's wealthiest and is working to tear down public services. They also oppose a government plan making it harder for students to attend the public universities of their choice, more restrictive immigration laws and police methods in underprivileged neighborhoods that protesters consider "repressive."
4- The UN Special Rapporteur on the protection of human rights said she was particularly concerned that tough new security laws, may disproportionately stigmatize and further marginalize Muslim citizens. “It is deeply concerning that the Muslim minority community is being constructed as a per se ‘suspect community’ through the sustained and broad application of a counter-terrorism law,” There is no doubt that the State may lawfully engage in restrictions to protect public order, but a clear tipping point to exceptionality arises when counter-terrorism measures engage profound, sustained and potentially disproportionate effects on the enjoyment of fundamental human rights and civil liberties,”
5- Human rights judges say French police used excessive force when they shot dead a youth in an escaping car. In the case of Toubache v. France (application no. 19510/15) the European Court of Human Rights held, unanimously, that there had been a violation of Article 2 (right to life) of the European Convention on Human Rights. The court held that France was to pay the applicants 60,000 euros (EUR) in respect of non-pecuniary damage (EUR 30,000 each), and EUR 9,784 in respect of costs and expenses.
6- An investigation into the complex questions of identity and alienation in the under-privileged suburbs of Paris has been done by Al Jazeera reporter. “How does it feel when you can't get a job, when you are targeted because of your race and seven times more likely to be stopped and searched than your white, middle-class counterparts?” "We didn't choose to be gangsters. We'd like to work in offices with computers. But we can't because they won't accept us," said a drug dealer. Behind the dealer's alienation lies a whole sub-culture, in which young people like him simply don't have the same educational and social opportunities as the white, middle class. They feel marginalised from mainstream French society. "They treat us as if we don't have the right to succeed in life. They want to stigmatise the suburbs as negative, dirty places. So we end up with no trust or communication," The alienation is felt mostly by second and third-generation descendants of the immigrants from the former French colonies in Africa who came to boost the labour force in the 1970s. "The Paris suburbs face big economic and social problems. They face security threats on a daily basis. They suffer from delinquency, theft and drug trafficking," says Gaetan Dussausaye, the president of the Youth National Front (FNJ). In May 2018, President Emmanuel Macron appeared to turn down proposals to rejuvenate these areas, reportedly on grounds of cost. This suggests that although the central government recognises their social, economic and cultural problems, it seems unable to commit to solving them.