France's response to terror is 'killing off freedom': Amnesty

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France's response to terror is 'killing off freedom': Amnesty
Protesters demonstrating in Paris last year against the government's controversial bill giving spies sweeping new surveillance power. Photo: AFP

Amnesty International has taken aim at France in an annual report published on Wednesday, blasting its security-heavy response to terror.


The 2015/2016 report from the human rights group doesn't make pretty reading for France.
The NGO was particularly unimpressed with France's response to the January and November terror attacks in Paris, which it referred to as "liberticide" (killing off freedom).
It wrote that the attacks "gave fresh impetus (...) to a raft of measures that threatened human rights".
These measures included extensive executive powers to monitor people's communication and internet use, including by intercepting internet traffic and communications in and out of the country.
Amnesty singled out the "sweeping new surveillance powers", "extended powers of arrest with reduced procedural guarantees", and "counter-radicalization measures that would potentially repress freedom of expression and discriminate against certain groups".
Geneviève Garrigos, president of Amnesty International France, said some of the security measures were "too vague and suspicion-based".
The report singled out how, since the attacks, authorities have carried out over 2,000 home searches without judicial authorization. 
All these new measures have already left others wondering if France was losing its grip on its sacred founding principles of liberté, égalité and fraternité.
Renowned French historian Patrick Weil told The Local earlier this month that the motto was "certainly under threat".
"Essentially people are afraid after the terror attacks, and the government response, particularly after November, has not been unifying," he said.
Wednesday's report from Amnesty International also noted that the Calais camp in northern France has repeatedly been blasted for its unacceptable conditions and the inhuman treatment of its inhabitants.
It also noted that France has a poor discrimination record, particularly with the Roma community, 4,000 of whom were forcibly evicted during the first half of the year alone.



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