UN rights chief urges France to withdraw security law

UN rights chief urges France to review, withdraw controversial sections of security law
2 min read
10 December, 2020
Michelle Bachelet has said Article 24 of the 'Global Security Bill' should be 'reviewed' or 'withdrawn'.
Michelle Bachelet made the remarks to reporters in Geneva [Getty]

The United Nations' human rights chief has urged France to withdraw a section of its "Global Security Bill" aimed at preventing people from sharing images that identify police. 

Article 24 of the law would make it a crime punishable with a year in prison and a €45,000 ($54,516) fine to "publish, by any means and in any medium, the face or any other identifying feature" of a police officer or genderamie "with the aim of causing them physical or psychological harm".

"The law has to be discussed by the French people," the UN's High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, told a Geneva news conference on Wednesday.

"But it's the Article 24, the one we are really concerned about. And that's why we are mentioning that should be reviewed and should be, I guess, withdrawn," she added.

Earlier this month, France's government agreed to a complete rewrite of the controversial article.

However, the new bill has also raised concerns for aiming a clampdown on protests. Human rights groups say that such legislation could curb demonstrations against Islamophobia in France.

Left-wing politicians have accused Macron of paying favour to the far-right in an effort to shore up support for the 2022 presidential election.

On Wednesday, France revealed details of another controversial bill aimed at curbing "Islamic extremism", which which would tighten rules against religious-based education, online hate speech and polygamy.

French Prime Minister Jean Castex dismissed criticism of the bill from human rights groups, calling the proposed legislation a "law of freedom".


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