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FRANCE – State of Health Emergency: The Permanent Exception

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– Unofficial translation of press release from Ligue des Droits de l’Homme, accessible in French here.

While the state of emergency constitutes an anomaly in a state of law, distorts public institutions and reinforces the democratic crisis, the presidential majority is preparing to extend, once again, the state of emergency until 1 June 2021 and thus further limit the powers of Parliament.

The extension of administrative measures depriving or restricting freedoms or rights, the violation of which is criminally sanctioned, confirms the purely punitive government approach and distrust of the population.

It perpetuates abuses, abuses of authority or power, police violence, and discrimination against homeless people and migrants in particular. It also accentuates social and territorial inequalities, as well as the precariousness and psychological distress of young people.

Fully in line with security laws and proposals that restrict individual or collective freedoms and subject the population to generalised social control, this extension means that France, since 2015, will have been in a cumulative period of more than three years under a state of emergency in terms of security, and then health.

The Ligue des droits de l’Homme (LDH) denounces this authoritarian drift and the prominence given to the executive with the weakening of institutional and citizen counter-powers. It intends to forcefully remind us that freedom must remain, in all circumstances, fundamental, and police restriction the exception.

Paris, 8 February 2021