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UN rights experts warn France state of emergency may curtail freedoms

[JURIST] The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) [official website] warned [press release] Tuesday that the current state of emergency and law on surveillance in France may impose "disproportionate restrictions on fundamental freedoms." The four UN experts shared their concerns [public statement, in French) with French government officials. The statement focused on provisions of the law on surveillance [BBC report] passed in May 2015 after the Charlie Hebdo attack, stating that certain provisions of the law may impose restrictions on individuals' right to freedom of expression, right to privacy, right to peaceful assembly, and freedom of association.

Following the terrorist attacks in Paris on November 13, the French government declared a state of emergency [bill text, in French] under Act No. 55-385. On November 19 the French National Assembly [official website, in French] voted to extend the state of emergency [JURIST report] until February 2016. In early December the Constitutional Court of France reviewed the constitutionality of the state of emergency legislation, "notably for its restrictions on freedom of movement." Also in December French President François Hollande submitted a proposed Constitutional amendment [JURIST report] to the French Parliament to address anti-terrorism laws in response to the terrorist attacks in Paris in November. In December the French Human Rights League and the Collective against Islamophobia joined over 100 organizations to issue a statement [JURIST report] asking the French government to lift the state of emergency.

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