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Muslim and human rights groups in France ask government to lift state of emergency
Muslim and human rights groups in France ask government to lift state of emergency

[JURIST] The French Human Rights League and the Collective against Islamophobia [official websites] on Thursday joined over 100 organizations to issue a statement [petition, in French] asking the French government to lift the state of emergency. The petition urges the government to defend individual rights and public freedoms, restore the right to demonstrate by Muslims, stop indiscriminate search and arbitrary house arrests, and lift the state of emergency. Following the terrorist attacks in Paris on November 13, the French government declared a state of emergency [bill text, in French]. During the last month, French police authorities have conducted over 2,700 raids and enforced 360 house arrests [Shanghai Daily report]. In this period, at least 20 complaints have been filed against the French government, a majority by the French Muslim population who allege abuse and unfair targeting [Q&A with spokesman for Collective Against Islamophobia] of Muslims. The state of emergency allows French police to conduct warrantless searches [Lawfare report] of homes and assign house arrests if the government determines there is a “serious reason to think that the person’s conduct threatens security or the public order.” In early December, the Constitutional Court of France [official website, in French] reviewed the constitutionality of the state of emergency legislation, “notably for its restrictions on freedom of movement.”

A month ago, the French National Assembly [official website, in French] voted to extend the state of emergency [JURIST report] until February 2016. Shortly after the Paris attacks in November, a UN rights expert argued that the shootings may amount to crimes against humanity [JURIST report] under Article 7 of the Rome Statute [text]. Last month, JURIST Contributing Editor Michael Kelly of Creighton University School of Law argued [JURIST op-ed] that France has the legal right to invoke Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty [text] following the Paris attacks.