World Report 2009 - France
|Publisher||Human Rights Watch|
|Publication Date||14 January 2009|
|Cite as||Human Rights Watch, World Report 2009 - France, 14 January 2009, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/49705fa2c.html [accessed 20 December 2014]|
Events of 2008
Reviews by the UN Human Rights Council in May under Universal Periodic Review and the Human Rights Committee in July identified serious human rights concerns with France's counterterrorism law and policy. The Human Rights Committee called on France to end the practice of denying terrorism suspects in police custody access to a lawyer for 72 hours after arrest and not informing them of their right to remain silent.
The lack of an automatically suspensive appeal against expulsion in cases involving national security was identified as a particular problem; since it can result in the removal of suspects at risk of torture or ill-treatment before any appeal is determined (a similar concern applies in asylum cases subject to expedited procedures). In April the European Court of Human Rights ordered France to suspend the national security deportation of Kamel Daoudi to Algeria, highlighting the need for an effective in-country procedure.
In a welcome development, France ratified the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention against Torture in July, following the appointment in June of France's first Inspector General of Places of Detention (fulfilling a protocol obligation).
A law adopted in February allows certain former violent offenders to be detained for renewable one-year periods of preventive detention after they have served their prison sentence. This undermines the presumption of innocence, the right to liberty, and the right not to be punished twice for the same crime.
In June France's top administrative court, the Conseil d'Etat, denied citizenship to a Moroccan Muslim woman married to a French man on the grounds that her "radical" religious practices (including wearing the niqab) were incompatible with French values, in particular that of gender equality.