France has decided to “opt out” of the European Human Rights Convention, citing the recent Paris attacks as justification for its extreme decision.
France is still in a state of emergency, with police raids being conducted daily on mosques, Islamic charities, and “radical environmentalists”. With the government shutting down alternative news websites, it’s looking grim for the future of civil liberties in France right now.
States are allowed to opt out in case of war or a danger “threatening the life of the nation”, although they cannot be exempted from certain provisions, including bans on torture and cruel and inhuman treatment.
Exemptions can be challenged at the European Court of Human Rights.
There have been 1,616 searches of premises, 211 arrests, 161 people charged and 293 weapons seized since the state of emergency was declared.
Among the premises raided have been mosques, prayer rooms and shops targeted because “radical Islamists” were said to frequent them or because some sermons given were judged extreme.
But others have been on the homes of people who have taken part in environmental protests and occupations, such as the camp at the site of the proposed airport near Nantes in western France and one aiming to stop a dam in the south-west where a protester was killed.
Several activists have been placed under house arrest, apparently for fear that they might have defied the ban on demonstrations ahead of the Cop21 climate conference, which opens on Sunday 29 December.
“Special measures are necessary for the conference’s security” and there have been calls for “violent actions”, according to warrants seen by Le Monde newspaper.
On Tuesday a group of intellectuals published an appeal to defy the state of emergency in Libération newspaper and a Facebook page calling for “disobedience” of the ban on Sunday’s planned march for the climate had attracted 4,700 participants on Friday.