France urged to review security law to bring it into line with human rights

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France’s new national security bill has sparked protests, criticism from journalists, citizens and other human rights activists, as it will be more difficult to document cases of police brutality.

French police use force to arrest a protester during a demonstration against the controversial French security law on Saturday November 28, 2020 (AP)

Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Dunja Mijatovic has urged France to amend its controversial national security bill, which limits police filming and police brutality.

In a letter to the French Senate on Friday, Mijatovic said the European Court of Human Rights recognizes the crucial role the media play in informing the public about the authorities’ handling of public protests.

“He considers that the violation by Article 24 of the freedom to communicate information is particularly unjustified in view of the fact that law enforcement officers are already protected against such harm by numerous existing legal provisions”, he added.

Clause 24 of the bill, which is awaiting parliamentary approval, makes it an offense to show the face or reveal the identity of a police officer on duty in order to protect them from online harassment.

It has drawn criticism from journalists, human rights activists and the United Nations for severely restricting basic rights and freedom of the press.

Some critics say the bill is just a pretext to hide police brutality across France, especially during protests that have become widespread in France over the past two years.

READ MORE:
Is press freedom in France in danger?

Surveillance questioned

Mijatovic questioned the surveillance proposed in the bill via body cameras worn by security personnel, drones and accessing CCTV footage of public and private spaces, calling it a violation of international standards for the protection of human beings. private life.

She said it was “crucial as far as possible to avoid placing law enforcement in situations of extreme tension” and “to reduce the risks of abuse and excessive use of force. “.

The bill sparked protests across the country which escalated further following gruesome images of French police violently assaulting and racially abusing a black music producer.

President Emmanuel Macron called the incident shocking.

Amid the backlash and national outrage, the Macron administration agreed to submit a new version of the bill.

READ MORE:
Dozens of people arrested during protests against French police

Source: TRTWorld and agencies



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