• 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

  • Dec 10, 2014
    Listening to the debate in Europe on the threat from the extremist group Islamic State (IS) and returning fighters feels like Groundhog Day. Its black-and-white presentation, the existential nature of the alleged threat, the notion that governments should stop at nothing in responding—these were all characteristic of the discussion on countering al-Qaeda, particularly in the wake of the 2004 Madrid and 2005 London attacks.
  • Dec 3, 2014
  • Dec 2, 2014
    A few hours after a grand jury decided not to indict the police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, French Minister of Justice Christiane Taubira issued several tweets demonstrating a keen interest in issues of racial discrimination. One tweet reads “Michael Brown, Racial profiling, social exclusion, territorial segregation, cultural relegation… arms, fear… a fatal cocktail!”
  • Dec 1, 2014
  • Nov 19, 2014
    We write to you in connection with the death of Rémi Fraisse on the night of October 25 during a demonstration against the construction of the Sivens dam in the Tarn area. We would be grateful if you could provide us with further information on the investigations that have been opened into his death, and the steps you have taken to ensure those investigations are effective.
  • Oct 22, 2014
    President Francois Hollande of France should urge President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan to free four human rights defenders jailed unjustly in Azerbaijan.
  • Oct 22, 2014
  • Oct 9, 2014
    A counterterrorism bill before the French parliament would provide overly broad and vague powers that would breach rights to free movement and expression. The bill, proposed by the French government in July 2014 under an accelerated procedure, was adopted by the National Assembly in September and is now before the senate.
  • Sep 23, 2014
    The Open Society Justice Initiative and Human Rights Watch urge the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe to stress in his upcoming report on France the urgent need to put in place effective measures to address ethnic profiling.
  • Sep 19, 2014
    With many hundreds of thousands of people fleeing the violence in Syria, the focus—as it should be—has been on finding them safety, shelter and aid. But some governments are also looking to hold those responsible for the underlying mass murder and torture to account for their crimes. This requires an proactive approach, with appropriate laws to pursue suspects, skilled professionals to investigate these crimes and strong political will to support accountability efforts.