• The French government failed to pursue necessary reforms to counter abusive identity checks, including ethnic profiling. Migrant Roma living in informal camps continue to be forcibly evicted, leading to further social exclusion and precarious living conditions, and removed from France. Modifications to the Criminal Code allow prosecution of French citizens and legal residents for participating in terrorism training abroad. The French parliament passed a law that legalizes same-sex marriage. A new law allows for far-reaching surveillance by the government with no judicial oversight.

  • European Union flags fly in front of the European Commission headquarters in Brussels. © Reuters 2012
    Amid economic crisis and much contested austerity measures in many member states, discrimination, racism, and homophobia remained serious problems in European Union member states.  Roma, migrants, and asylum seekers are particularly marginalized. The Council of the European Union acknowledged for the first time that more is needed to ensure human rights violations within EU borders are adequately addressed, with an ongoing policy debate focused on improving responses to rule of law crises. Meanwhile, abusive practices around the EU continued without adequate action by EU institutions and member states.



  • Apr 16, 2014
  • Apr 10, 2014
    Last month I stood in a room at Roissy Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris, talking to a scared refugee boy and sharing a box of cookies. Abid was alone in France, without a parent or a guardian. But was he really in France? I was on French soil. But according to the French government, Abid, 16, was not in the same country as I. And under that Kafkaesque legal fiction, they kept him locked up at the airport.
  • Apr 8, 2014
    France detains as many as 500 children who arrive in the country alone each year in transit zones at the borders, where they are denied the protection and due process rights afforded other unaccompanied children on French territory. Any unaccompanied child who arrives in France should be admitted to the country and provided with shelter and care while their immigration claims are decided.
  • Mar 24, 2014
    French President Francois Hollande should publicly deliver a strong message in defense of human rights to Chinese President Xi Jinping, Human Rights Watch said in a letter today. Xi will make his first visit to France as president of China the week of March 24, 2014.
  • Jan 21, 2014
    European Union (EU) leaders in 2013 acknowledged problems of rising intolerance and persistent human rights violations across the EU, but failed to take concerted action, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2014.
  • Jan 11, 2014
  • Jan 9, 2014
    The French authorities should not extradite Mukhtar Ablyazov, a recognized refugee and an outspoken government critic, to Kazakhstan. In Kazakhstan, he would be at serious risk of ill-treatment and would face a flagrant denial of his fair trial rights. The French authorities also should not send Ablyazov to any country that might return him to Kazakhstan.
  • Dec 26, 2013
    The French government has declared to the world its commitment to the right to privacy offline and online, supporting the United Nations (UN) General Assembly resolution passed on December 18 on the right to privacy in the digital age.
  • Dec 5, 2013
  • Nov 20, 2013