• France's news in English

States of emergency may have no time limits

The Local/AFP · 3 Dec 2015, 11:24

Published: 03 Dec 2015 11:24 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

A proposed change to France's constitution would not place a time limit on states of emergency of the kind introduced after the Paris attacks, according to a draft text seen by AFP on Thursday.

However, the draft change to the constitution says exceptional measures taken during a state of emergency -- such as powers of house arrest -- could be prolonged "for a maximum period of six months" after the original state of emergency was declared.

The exact duration of any specific state of emergency would remain fixed by law at the time of its introduction, as is the case now, according to the draft text.

Sources said the legal framework to extend special powers beyond the current three-month limit, set out by President Francois Hollande after last month's attacks on Paris, will be put to ministers on December 23rd.

Senior parliamentary figures were expected to examine the proposed changes later Thursday, government sources said.

The special powers have allowed authorities to ban public demos and enabled police to carry out thousands of raids on addresses across the country.

The government has insisted the emergency measures are needed to ensure security but criticism over the lengthening of the state of emergency is growing.

Lawyers and supporters of activists who have been placed under house arrest to prevent them from protesting during the UN climate talks taking place outside Paris have accused the government of abusing the powers.

This week a leading human rights lawyer Patrick Baudouin told The Local that "there is no justification for the state of emergency to last so long."

“This state of emergency grants the forces of order like the police and the army exceptional powers that puts people’s liberties at risks – whether it’s night-time raids on their homes, house arrests, or the ban on demonstrations," he said.

Critics like the lawyer Baudouin, who is the Honorary President of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) say the ban on demonstrations restricts social movements and a vital element of the democratic process.

“The ban on demos goes beyond the need to avert the risk of any terrorist attack. It has been implemented to avoid any trouble rather than an attack,” he said.

“If Air France workers want to strike tomorrow, are they going to ban them too?”

Story continues below…

"All these measures have been taken without any of the natural checks of government from the judiciary. We are there to protect liberties, but we have had no involvement,” Baudouin said.

SEE ALSO: What does the state of emergency mean for France?


The Local/AFP (news.france@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Millionaire Riviera hotel boss kidnapped in broad daylight
The city of Nice where the millionaire was bundled into a car infront of shocked onlookers. Photo: AFP

The millionaire head of a luxury hotel in the French Riviera resort of Cannes was kidnapped in front of shocked onlookers in the middle of the day on Monday.

Where exactly in France are Calais migrants being sent?
Photo: AFP

Here's where the 8,000 migrants in Calais are heading.

The annoying questions only a half French, half British person can answer
Photo: Beery/Flickr/AFP

Being half French, half British is means you get asked a lot of questions (and some of them can be a little annoying.)

Migrants bussed out of Calais Jungle to all corners of France
All photos: AFP

Hundreds of migrants are being bussed across France on Monday ahead of the demolition of the Jungle camp.

The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
A Prophet. Photo: YouTube Screengrab

Looking for something to watch?

The must-see French films of the millennium - Part Two
Rust and Bone. Photo: YouTube Screengrab

The newest French films you need to see before you die (or alternatively when you get some spare time).

Election Watch
Presidential hopeful reckons a pain au chocolat is 10 cents

So France happily takes the pastry out of him.

French ministry of defence officials die in plane crash
Screengrab: eddydeg/Twitter

The French Ministry of Defence officials were killed on Monday when a light aircraft went down on the island of Malta.

Revealed: The ten most stolen cars in France
A Smart car in Paris. Photo: JR_Paris/Flickr

Thieves in France are getting a taste for luxury cars, it seems.

Analysis - France migrant crisis
Migrant crisis won't end with Calais 'Jungle' closure
All Photos: AFP

The Jungle camp may be being cleared but this won't be the end of the migrant crisis in France.

The annoying questions only a half French, half Brit can answer
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Forget Brangelina's chateau - here are nine others you've got to see
The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
jobs available