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Potential Complicity in Unlawful Detention of ISIS Suspects, Children

Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden should promptly repatriate their nationals unlawfully held in life-threatening conditions in northeast Syria, Human Rights Watch said in a letter to the four governments today.…
Children fly a kite at al-Hol camp in northeast Syria. 
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Government’s Misguided Move Part of Security Drift Endangering Liberties

(Paris) – The French government’s decision to shut down a leading anti-discrimination group threatens basic human rights and liberties including freedom of expression, association, and religion, and the principle of nondiscrimination, Human Rights…
French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin delivers a speech on the state of terrorism threat at the French General Directorate for Internal Security (DGSI) in Paris, Monday Aug. 31, 2020. © 2020 Stephen de Sakutin, Pool via AP
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A Country Shocked and Mourning Needs a Just, Fair Response

The French public has been shaken in recent weeks by a series of horrific knife attacks, which government authorities attribute to lslamist extremists. Those responsible for these reprehensible acts should be brought to justice—properly and fairly,…
People set flowers at a memorial in front of the Notre Dame church, in Nice, France, October 30, 2020.
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Bring Home Other French Children Trapped There

(Toulouse) – Human Rights Watch and nine other organizations issued the following statement on April 21, 2020: We, the undersigned civil society organizations have learned of the alarming situation of young Taymia, a 7-year-old child of…
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Government Should Pursue Full Investigations, Fair Trials

The Australian government is taking an important step by helping eight Australian children of suspects of the Islamic State (also known as ISIS) return home from northeast Syria. The children were held for months without charge under horrific…
Rusafa Central Criminal Court in Baghdad.
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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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Bill Became Harsher Since Leaving the Senate

France’s draft counterterrorism bill is now in its final stretch before becoming law. The fast-tracked bill is widely expected to pass a vote in an extraordinary session of the National Assembly on October 3 – despite concerns that it…
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Fix Abusive Measures in Draft Counterterrorism Law

(Paris) — France’s National Assembly should amend abusive measures in a draft counterterrorism bill that would move a number of emergency powers into ordinary law without adequate safeguards, Human Rights Watch said today. The Assembly’s law…
French soldiers patrol near the Eiffel Tower as part of the "Sentinelle" counterterrorism security plan in Paris, France, May 3, 2017. © 2017 Reuters
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Proposed Measures Undermine Rights, Rule of Law

(Paris) – The French government’s new counterterrorism bill would move some overly broad emergency powers into normal criminal and administrative law without adequate judicial safeguards Human Rights Watch said today. The Draft…
French army paratroopers patrol near the Eiffel tower in Paris, France, March 30, 2016.
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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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Following 5th Extension, Time to Rethink Exceptional Measures

(Paris) – The French parliament’s adoption of a new law on December 15, 2016, to prolong the country’s state of emergency for an additional seven months risks normalizing exceptional measures while weakening human rights and the rule of law, Human Rights…
French policemen attend a drill at the Marseille railway station in France on May 4, 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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Increase Oversight to Reduce Risk of Misuse

(Paris) – The decision by France’s parliament on July 21, 2016, to expand and prolong the country’s state of emergency for six months undermines human rights and the rule of law, Human Rights Watch said today. The government…
French policemen attend a drill at the Marseille railway station in France on May 4, 2016.