The executive director of the American NGO estimated that France seemed to “equate Islam in general with the terrorist threat” and criticized article 24 of the Global Security law, which he said hinders the reduction of “police abuses “.
On January 12, the executive director of Human Rights Watch, Kenneth Roth, estimated that France “seems to equate Islam in general with the terrorist threat”. He also criticized article 24 of the so-called Global Security bill, the provisions of which he said hinder the reduction of “police abuses”.
In this interview with AFP in Geneva the day before the publication of the annual report of this NGO largely funded by the American billionaire of Hungarian origin George Soros, Kenneth Roth also declares that Human Rights Watch was “deeply concerned by the way in which the French government has responded to the terrorist threat ”. “Yes, there are acts of violence, but the government seems to equate Islam in general with the terrorist threat, and this is a huge mistake,” said the head of the international human rights NGO.
“France, despite its tradition of secularism, must find a way to respect the right of people to believe and to manifest their belief, as long as there is no violence. If the government demonizes any believer and equates belief with violence, it will drive people out of the state and push religion underground, which is ultimately very dangerous, ”he said, reacting to two draft legislation in France including the much contested Global Security bill, but also a text on separatism.
The Comprehensive Security Act gives the police “the possibility to do what they want”, criticizes HRW
Article 24 of the Global Security bill had aroused the anger, in particular of the press, but also of many human rights organizations who saw it as an attack on the freedom to inform. In its initial version, article 24 prohibited and penalized the malicious dissemination of images of the police. Faced with the outcry provoked by this article, the government finally left it to Parliament to find a new wording when the text is due to go before the Senate in January and the latter has embarked on a complete rewrite of the article. .
“It is important to recognize that it is legitimate journalism, legitimate citizen activism, to photograph police in a confrontational situation as a means of reducing police abuse. If you take away that visual evidence, you give the police a chance to do whatever they want. Mere testimony has never been enough to hold police to account and visual evidence is essential, ”said Kenneth Roth.