France’s New Anti-Terror Bill

About the Bill

On Tuesday, the French parliament voted in favour of a new anti-terrorism bill which will boost the power of the French police to make it easier to clear mosques suspected of preaching hate, search the homes of alleged terror sympathisers, and confine suspects to their neighbourhoods; all without first seeking the permission of a judge.

The bill was adopted by a margin of 415 to 127 in the lower house, while it was approved by the Senate in July.

Statistics have shown that, since 2015, the number of victims of attacks claimed (or inspired) by ISIL is close to 240.

German broadcaster, DW, reveals that the struggle by French authorities to deal with homegrown militants is growing.

On Sunday, a Tunisian man fatally stabbed two women in Marseille, sparking more fear among French citizens.

Then-President, Francois Hollande, declared a state of emergency in France after the 2015 Paris attack, by Islamic gunmen and suicide bombers, which left 130 people dead.

Since then, DW states, that state of emergency has been extended six times, and the French government alleges that similar attacks have been prevented as a direct result of these emergency powers.


Approximately 57% of the French population support the new law, however several UN experts have disapproved of them, arguing that it affects civil liberties.

Human rights rapporteurs, Michel Frost and Fionnuala Ni Aolain, stated that “it could affect people’s right to liberty and security, the right to access to court, freedom of movement, freedom of peaceful assembly and association, freedom of expression and freedom of religion or belief”.

Frost and Ni Aolain continue their statement by asserting that the wording of the bill is too vague; debating whether it defines the threats to national security, or even terrorism, well enough.

President Macron assured French nationals that “providing security for our citizens means that the fight against Islamist terrorism is our first priority,” before further arguing that the law is necessary in the war against terrorism, and in combatting similar attacks once 2015’s state of emergency expires.

Phoebe Egoroff

Founder and of Jurist International, a website focusing on the latest developments in international human rights and criminal law.

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