FRANCE: Civil society coalition asks Constitutional Council to censor several articles of the “separatism bill” (UPDATED)

UPDATE 14 August 2021: On 13th August 2021 the Constitutional Council gave the green light to the Separatism bill. The court only invalidated two measures of the bill. One measure relates to the suspension of the activities of an association which is subject to dissolution procedure, which can last up to six months. The Constitutional Council considers that this measure “violated freedom of association which is not necessary, appropriate and proportionate.”


– Unofficial translation of article by la Coalition pour les libertés associatives, published on 26 July, available here.

(Paris, July 26, 2021) After 71 opposition MPs referred to the Constitutional Council on the draft “law consolidating respect for the principles of the Republic”, an external contribution was sent to the Constitutional Council , pointing to the unconstitutionality of several articles of the bill which directly concern associations.

This external contribution is co-signed by THE Coalition for Associative Freedoms, The Associative Movement, as well as by the following associations: Action Droits des Muslims *, Anticor *, the association for the protection of the Peypinese hills, ATTAC France *, CCFD- Terre solidaire, Collectif des Associations Citoyennes *, CRID *, the Federations of actors and actresses of traditional music and dances, Federation of street arts *, France Nature Environnement *, Les Amis de la Terre, the MRJC (Rural Youth Movement Christian), Remix the commons, Citizen Sciences, Stop Précarité, Tous Migrants * and VoxPublic * (*: member associations of The Coalition for Associative Freedoms)

This bill, drawn up in haste and without consultation with the associative world, threatens a large number of public rights and freedoms, protected by the Constitution: freedom of association, freedom of conscience and religion, freedom of assembly, of expression, opinion… Despite the warnings of civil society, the parliamentary debate did not allow the most liberating provisions to be corrected and violate associative freedoms: conditioning of subsidies and approvals to a “Republican engagement contract” (Articles 6 and 7) restricting their freedom of action and expression, increased possibility of dissolution (Article 8), strengthening of administrative constraints and criminal responsibilities towards presidents and volunteers, strengthening of power discretionary of the prefects,more important tax audits… As the National Consultative Commission on Human Rights has underlined: “ this law risks weakening the republican principles instead of reinforcing them  ”.

The signatories hope that the Constitutional Council will censure this bill and defend the associative freedoms which are part of the republican base of our country.