POSTS BY Ibtissem Guenfoud

Religious Installations in French City Halls: A Christmas Crib Story

Christmas, in certain circumstances, has its place in the Republic. Judges have agreed in a plenary session reviewing two different Court of Appeal cases (courtyard of Melun’s town hall and hall of the departmental council of Vendée) that a Christmas crib in a public building doesn’t a priori represent a threat to secularism. In fact, the installation is legal, says the Conseil d’Etat, provided that particular circumstances give it « a cultural, artistic or festive character ». The decision is questionable for two main reasons: its foundation is doubtful, and its outcome unsatisfactory.

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Passing Laws without a Vote: the French Labour Reform and Art. 49-3 of the Constitution

The French government has brought a hugely controversial piece of legislation through parliament without debate and without a vote. That move is seen as democratically dubious by many. But it is certainly constitutional under the stability-oriented French Constitution of 1958.

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Dieudonné before the Strasbourg Court: Negationism isn’t freedom of expression

Satire is protected by the right to freedom of expression. Holocaust denial is not. This is the bottom line of yesterday’s decision by the European Court of Human Rights in the case of the French comedian Dieudonné M’Bala M’Bala, notorious for his frequent run-ins with French courts for antisemitic speech, defamation, or advocation of terrorism, and also known for his political involvement with right-wing extremists.

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Boycott calls and double standards: another French limitation on freedom of expression

France, once the motherland of human rights, is increasingly clamping down on freedom of expression. According to a recent decision by the French Supreme Court, calling for boycott on Israeli goods is illegal under french law. Fourteen members of the activist group Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions (BDS), campaigning for the economic, academic, sports and cultural boycott of Israel, learned it the hard way in two decisions of October 20th which confirmed on the highest level of criminal jurisdiction their conviction to 12,000 € in damages and 1,000 € in fine. Joining Israel, France makes for the only european country to penalize boycott calls on products of Israeli origin.

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Boycott calls and double standards: another French limitation on freedom of expression

France, once the motherland of human rights, is increasingly clamping down on freedom of expression. According to a recent decision by the French Supreme Court, calling for boycott on Israeli goods is illegal under french law. Fourteen members of the activist group Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions (BDS), campaigning for the economic, academic, sports and cultural boycott of Israel, learned it the hard way in two decisions of October 20th which confirmed on the highest level of criminal jurisdiction their conviction to 12,000 € in damages and 1,000 € in fine. Joining Israel, France makes for the only european country to penalize boycott calls on products of Israeli origin.

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The Universal Declaration of the Rights of Humankind: Big Words, Small Effect

The text of a Universal Declaration of the Rights of Humankind was presented on Monday before the french Economic, Social and Environmental Council. France will introduce the declaration in December at the 21st United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris. Is the declaration more than just an empty gesture?

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The Universal Declaration of the Rights of Humankind: Big Words, Small Effect

The text of a Universal Declaration of the Rights of Humankind was presented on Monday before the french Economic, Social and Environmental Council. France will introduce the declaration in December at the 21st United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris. Is the declaration more than just an empty gesture?

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