• 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.

Reports

France

  • Jul 3, 2014
    The European Court of Human Rights’ ruling approving France’s blanket ban on full-face veils undermines Muslim women’s rights. The ban interferes with women’s rights to express their religion and beliefs freely and to personal autonomy.
  • Jun 25, 2014
    A 16 year-old boy is fighting for his life in a Paris hospital. On June 13, Darius was found by a neighbor in a supermarket cart, unconscious, on the side of a road.
  • Jun 24, 2014
    When Human Rights Watch first saw Yemi, the 17-year-old boy was huddled on a concrete bench in the corner of a windowless, graffitied holding cell run by the French border police. Clad in a stiff new leather jacket but otherwise without clothing warm enough to face Paris in January, Yemi had been in the cell for nine hours.
  • Jun 5, 2014
    Human Rights Watch welcomes the upcoming review of France by the Human Rights Committee. This briefing provides an overview of our main concerns with regard to France’s compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). We hope it will inform the Committee’s pre-sessional review of France and that the areas of concern highlighted here will be reflected in the list of issues submitted to the French government ahead of the review.
  • Jun 4, 2014
  • May 28, 2014
  • May 9, 2014
    An opinion survey released on May 9, 2014, highlights public discontent with discriminatory police identity checks in France. The survey was carried out on behalf of Graines de France, a Paris-based research organization focused on poor neighborhoods, together with Human Rights Watch and the Open Society Justice Initiative.
  • May 6, 2014
  • 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.