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    July 13, 2018

    Responding to the decision of a French court to acquit Martine Landry, a 73-year-old woman, charged with helping two 15-year-old asylum seekers in France, Gauri van Gulik, Amnesty International’s Europe Director, said:

    “Today’s decision is not only a victory for justice but also for common sense. Martine Landry did nothing wrong. By taking two young people to a police station so they could be registered and cared for as minors, she acted compassionately and within the law.

    “Whilst it is a relief that Martine Landry’s ordeal is now over, she should never have been charged in the first place.

    “In the wake of today’s decision and the 6 July ruling by France’s Constitutional Council that humanitarian activities should not be criminalized, French law should be amended to ensure only smuggling for material benefit is regarded as an offence.”

    April 23, 2018

    Responding to the passing of an asylum and immigration bill that will tighten asylum rules, Cécile Coudriou, President of Amnesty International France, declares:

    “This bill, and the discussions around its text, fails to address the difficulties faced by migrants and asylum seekers in France and the need to fully respect their rights. Those drafting this bill missed numerous opportunities including putting an end to the detention of children and providing dignified protection for those fleeing war or persecution.

    “The majority of parliamentarians were aware that the ‘offence of solidarity’ could be wrongfully used to prosecute people providing voluntary assistance to asylum seekers. Yet the final draft of the bill remains unaligned with international law.

    “The new list of immunities and the conditions for not being prosecuted leaves the sword of Damocles dangling over the heads of activists, citizens and organizations that act to protect human rights.

    February 22, 2018
    Amnesty International publishes State of the World’s Human Rights report for 2017 to 2018 “Last year our world was immersed in crises, with prominent leaders offering us a nightmarish vision of a society blinded by hatred and fear. This emboldened those who promote bigotry, but it inspired far more people to campaign for a more hopeful future,” says Salil Shetty, head of Amnesty International

    The world is reaping the terrifying consequences of hate-filled rhetoric that threatens to normalize massive discrimination against marginalized groups, Amnesty International warned today as it launched its annual assessment of human rights.

    Nevertheless, the organization found that a growing movement of both first-time and seasoned activists campaigning for social justice provides real hope of reversing the slide towards oppression.

    The report, The State of the World’s Human Rights, covers 159 countries and delivers the most comprehensive analysis of the state of human rights in the world today.

    January 12, 2018

    Amnesty International welcomes today’s long-overdue order for the release of Canadian-Lebanese dual citizen Hassan Diab from pre-trial detention in France, following a court ruling dismissing all allegations against him. In contravention of international human rights standards, Mr. Diab spent more than three years in pre-trial detention without being officially charged or brought to trial. He remained imprisoned despite eight consecutive orders from four separate French investigative judges that he be released on bail, all of which were summarily overturned on appeals perfunctorily lodged by French prosecutors.

    September 22, 2017

    21 September 2017, Ottawa – On July 28, 2017, the French investigative judge issued a notice about the end of investigations in Dr. Hassan Diab’s case, the Canadian citizen and sociology professor who was extradited to France in November 2014. However, the decision has been delayed as the prosecutor is yet to submit written arguments.



    June 22, 2017

    Dear Ministers Freeland and Wilson-Raybould, and Mr. Alghabra,

    Amnesty International is alarmed at the continued detention of Lebanese-Canadian dual national Hassan Diab in Fleury-Mérogis Prison in France in the face of six orders from investigating judges that he be released on bail. We urge you to call on your French counterparts to take immediate steps to secure his release on bail.

    June 20, 2017

    Media Advisory

    Strong new evidence uncovered in the past few days that could help in the case of Canadian citizen Hassan Diab, who has been held in pre-trial custody in France for 2½ years without charge or trial, will be the subject of a national press conference tomorrow.

    Mr. Diab, a Lebanese-Canadian dual national, was extradited from Canada to France in November 2014 to face criminal charges in connection with a 1980 bombing outside a synagogue in Paris. Mr Diab has consistently professed his innocence.

    French investigating judges have delivered 6 judicial orders that Mr. Diab be released on bail, all of which have been summarily overturned on appeal. The most recent release order, on April 24, cited evidence that indicated Mr. Diab was in Beirut during the Paris bombing. That order was quashed on appeal May 2.

    Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada, and Chantal Vallerand, of the Canadian Association of University Teachers, will speak at the press conference, as will Mr. Diab’s Canadian lawyer and his spouse.

    May 31, 2017

    France: Unchecked clampdown on protests under guise of fighting terrorism

    Powers designed to combat terrorism have been repeatedly misused to curb peaceful protest, a new report from Amnesty International has found.

    A right not a threat: Disproportionate restrictions on demonstrations under the State of Emergency in France reveals that hundreds of unjustified measures restricting freedom of movement and the right to peaceful assembly have been issued under the guise of countering terrorism.

    “Emergency laws intended to protect the French people from the threat of terrorism are instead being used to restrict their rights to protest peacefully,” said Marco Perolini, Amnesty International’s researcher on France.

    “Under the cover of the state of emergency, rights to protest have been stripped away with hundreds of activists, environmentalists, and labour rights campaigners unjustifiably banned from participating in protests.”

    December 13, 2016

    As the National Assembly and the Senate vote on the renewal of the state of emergency today and tomorrow, Amnesty International is calling on parliamentarians to reject the extension of these disproportionate measures.

    After four extensions and more than a year under the state of emergency the risks and knock-on effects of these measures are becoming all too apparent.

    Not only is the effectiveness of the state of emergency seriously in question, but the consequences on those targeted under its provisions are very real. The rights of hundreds of men, women and children have been trampled, leaving them traumatized and stigmatized.

    While it is the duty of the authorities to take necessary measures to protect the population, it is also their responsibility to ensure that any derogation from international standards does not become the norm and to demonstrate the necessity for the renewal.

    August 26, 2016

    Responding to the decision of France’s highest administrative court to overturn the ban on the burkini on a French beach, John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Europe Director said:

    “By overturning a discriminatory ban that is fuelled by and is fuelling prejudice and intolerance, today’s decision has drawn an important line in the sand.”

    “French authorities must now drop the pretence that these measures do anything to protect the rights of women. Rather, invasive and discriminatory measures such as these restrict women’s choices and are an assault on their freedoms of expression, religion and right to non-discrimination.”

    “These bans do nothing to increase public safety, but do a lot to promote public humiliation. Not only are they in themselves discriminatory, but as we have seen, the enforcement of these bans leads to abuses and the degrading treatment of Muslim women and girls,” 

    August 25, 2016

    Failure to overturn the ban on the burkini would be a missed opportunity to end an assault on women’s freedoms of expression and religion as well as the right to non-discrimination, said Amnesty International as France’s highest administrative court considers a challenge to the ban.

    “The case being considered today offers an opportunity for the French justice system to overturn a discriminatory ban that is fuelled by and is fuelling prejudice and intolerance,” said John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Europe Director.

    “French authorities should drop the pretence that these measures do anything to protect the rights of women. Rather, invasive and discriminatory measures such as these restrict women’s choices, violate their rights and lead to abuse.”

    July 15, 2016

    Amnesty International utterly condemns the despicable attack in Nice last night, which has left over 80 dead and many more injured. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack, which President Hollande has described as being of a “terrorist nature”.

    Amnesty International’s Europe Director, John Dalhuisen said: “We are all deeply shocked by the appalling attack in Nice last night.  We grieve with those who lost loved ones, and stand united with those opposing terror with freedom, fairness and the respect for human rights.” 

    February 03, 2016

    Posted at 0001hrs GMT  4 February 2016

    Heavy-handed emergency measures, including late night house raids and assigned residence orders, have trampled on the rights of hundreds of men, women and children, leaving them traumatized and stigmatized, according to a new briefing released by Amnesty International today ahead of Friday’s French parliamentary debate on entrenching emergency measures in the constitution. 

    Upturned lives: The disproportionate impact of France's state of emergency details how, since the state of emergency was declared shortly after the 13 November 2015 Paris attacks, more than 3,242 house searches have been conducted and more than 400 assigned residence orders imposed. Most of the 60 people Amnesty International interviewed said that harsh measures were applied with little or no explanation and sometimes excessive force. One woman said that armed police burst into her house late at night as she minded her three-year old child. Other people told Amnesty International that the stigma of being searched had caused them to lose their jobs.

    December 22, 2015

    Released 00:01 GMT on Tuesday 22 December 2015

    A proposed change to France’s Constitution would put many people at even greater risk of human rights violations by giving security services carte blanche to close down organizations, conduct unwarranted house raids, shut down mosques and restrict people’s freedom of movement, said Amnesty International.

    The amendment, which if approved as an official government proposal by the French Council of Ministers during discussions set for tomorrow, would allow authorities to continue using state of emergency measures for a further six months after the end of a state of emergency.

    Under the current state of emergency, authorities have carried out 2,700 house searches without warrant and imposed assigned residency on hundreds of people, restricting their freedom of movement, since the November 13 Paris attacks.

    November 19, 2015

    The emergency measures being rushed through the French Parliament in the wake of the horrific Paris attacks to counter must not become a permanent fixture in France’s anti-terror arsenal, Amnesty International warned today.

    “Right now the protection of the population from further imminent attack is rightly the number one priority. But the emergency powers currently being rushed through parliament provide for a sweeping extension of executive powers at the expense of essential human rights safeguards.  They must be used only when strictly necessary and should not become a permanent addition to France’s anti-terror arsenal,” said John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Director of Europe and Central Asia.

    The 12-day state of emergency declared in the aftermath of the 13 November attacks provided for a range of additional police powers.  The bill proposed yesterday extends the state of emergency for a further three months and includes a number of additional measures.

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