Davos/France: Newly announced anti-terror measures put human rights at risk

As President Francois Hollande prepares to speak at Davos in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attacks, Amnesty International warns that new proposed counter-terrorism laws risk violating the freedom of expression and other human rights.

Earlier this week Prime Minister Manuel Valls proposed new counter-terrorism measures such as criminalising ‘defamation’ and ‘insult’ and blocking internet websites that defend or incite terrorist acts without judicial authorisation.

In the aftermath of the appalling attacks in Paris it is vital that France now takes a measured response and does not chip away at hard-fought human rights. We have to find a balance of defending freedom and security without violating those very rights at the same time,” said Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International. 

“Defamation and insult should not be moved from the Press Law to the Criminal Code, where important safeguards designed to protect the freedom of expression would no longer apply.  Nor should governments be able to block internet content on the basis of broadly phrased prohibitions without judicial scrutiny.  The Paris attacks highlighted the importance of the freedom of expression to millions in France and around the world.  Now is not the time to be chipping away at this cherished right.”

Spokespeople available

To arrange an interview and for a copy of the public statement please contact: 

For Salil Shetty in Davos contact Dawn Rennie: Tel: +44 (0)203 036 5941, +44 (0)7904 398285 or email [email protected]

For John Dalhusien in London contact Louise Orton: Tel: + 44 (0) 20 7413 5599, Mobile: +44 (0)7771 796350 or email: [email protected]mnesty.org 

For more information

France: Newly announced “anti-terror measures” put human rights at risk (Public Statement, 23 January 2015)

France faces ‘litmus test’ for freedom of expression as dozens arrested in wake of attacks (News, 16 January 2015)