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Western European intransigence on ensuring that citizens detained abroad as ISIL suspects or their family members can return home made world headlines recently when an Iraqi court sentenced nine French citizens to death following trials…
A woman walks with a child in Roj camp, which holds foreign wives and children of Islamic State (ISIS) members, in northeast Syria, September 2018. © 2018 Delil Souleiman/AFP/Getty Images
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On January 27, President Emmanuel Macron began his first official visit to Egypt. Relations between the two countries and presidents have never been warmer. Macron has justified France’s support for Egypt, despite the well documented…
French President Emmanuel Macron meets with his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah al-Sisi at the presidential palace in Cairo on January 28, 2019. © 2019 Ludovic Marin/AFP/Getty Images
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Should someone go to prison for calling terrorists “courageous” even though they also express fundamental disagreement with their ideology? France’s answer since the Charlie Hebdo attacks in 2015 has increasingly been: Yes. Seizing on a…
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France’s two-year-long state of emergency is in the process of being lifted. Does that mean all will return to normal, to the way things were? No, decidedly not. Far from offering a return to normality, November 1 marks the start of a troubling “…
French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe meets soldiers during a visit at the Eiffel Tower in Paris, as France officially ended a state of emergency regime, replacing it with the introduction of a new security law, France, November 1, 2017. REUTERS/Christia
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Normalizing emergency measures will undermine human rights

Europe’s residents have genuine reason to be wary of the risk of terrorism in the streets, stadiums, markets and concert-halls. But how President Macron and the Philippe Cabinet respond to that risk is crucial to hard-won liberties and rights…
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“The jihadists are the law now,” an elder from central Mali told me. “The very day the French-supported operation finished, the Islamists were back in the villages,” confided another villager last week, referring to a military operation near the…
French soldiers from Operation Barkhane stand outside their armored personnel carrier during a sandstorm in Inat, Mali, May 26, 2016.
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Like an addict, France does not know how to quit its state of emergency even though it has become clear that maintaining it erodes the rule of law and fosters human rights abuses while not keeping the country safer. The February 22 report by the…
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For all his promises — and a Nobel Peace Prize — the Obama presidency delivered more hope than change

As Donald Trump prepares to take office, many fear a new hostility to human rights on the part of the United States. From his divisive rhetoric about minorities to his embrace of autocrats abroad, there is plenty to worry about.  Trump…
U.S. President Barack Obama waves at the conclusion of his final State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress in Washington January 12, 2016.
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France’s latest renewal of its emergency law has made few headlines abroad—except perhaps in Turkey, where President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, fresh from passing his own sweeping state of emergency, may have relished watching the champion of liberté, égalité…
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One effective way for western governments to keep their people safe is to press for fundamental reforms in countries where armed extremists thrive, rather than subverting democracy at home.

Not since the Algerian War more than a half-century ago has France imposed such sweeping emergency powers. In little more than two weeks since the Paris attacks, French police have carried out well over 1,000 raids nationwide, busting…
French police stop and search a local resident during an operation in Saint-Denis, France.
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Favoring security over privacy only helps the terrorist agenda

The horrendous Paris attacks have provided certain European and U.S. politicians with an irresistible opportunity to attempt to close the door on refugees while seeking to expand overbroad government surveillance. It is important, out of principle and for…
Belgian soldiers patrol the Grand Place in central Brussels after security was tightened in Belgium following the terrorist attacks in Paris, France.
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One month after the worst terrorist attack in Europe since Anders Breivik’s murder of 77 people in Norway, the contours of the response are becoming clear. Three areas stand out – new counterterrorism laws and policies; the related, though distinct,…
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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…
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Obama says the U.S. won't spy on foreign leaders — but what about spying for them?

President Barack Obama appeared to have good news on Jan. 17 for foreign citizens appalled by months of revelations of U.S. surveillance overseas. The United States, he assured them in his much-awaited speech on new controls on snooping by the…
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Joseph Kony, Thomas Lubanga and Charles Taylor are just the tip of the iceberg. The use of children as soldiers extends far beyond Africa. Last week in The Hague, the International Criminal Court, or ICC, found the Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanga guilty…
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Torture is prohibited under international law, at anytime and anywhere. No exceptions are allowed. Yet the UK, France and Germany are engaged in ongoing counterterrorism cooperation with foreign intelligence services in countries that routinely use…
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During his four days in police custody, Emmanuel Nieto was subjected to 45 hours of interrogations. Bachir Ghoumid endured 40 hours, Saliha Lebik: 30 hours, Radicha Alam: 25 hours. None of them had a lawyer present. None of them were told they had the…