How does France's new anti-terror law effect Human Rights? | Hudson McKenzie

How does France’s new anti-terror bill affect Human Rights?

October 9, 2017 | Latest Thinking, News

On Tuesday 3rd October 2017, France approved a new anti-terror legislation, following from the recent terrorist attacks. Since the Paris attacks in 2015, France has been in a ‘state of emergency’ – However, how far does this new anti-terror legislation affect Human Rights and the application of democracy?

During the debating of the new anti-terror legislation, U.N. experts warned France to comply with international Human Rights obligations. This is because by passing the law, the Muslim population of France could be ‘disproportionally targeted’ by counter-terrorism powers, in which would violate their Human Rights and general rights as citizens.

This warning from the U.N. can relate closely to previous arguments demonstrated by political philosophers such as Carl Schmitt and Giorgio Agamden. For instance, during WW1, Carl Schmitt developed the idea of a ‘state of exception’ in which the sovereign of a state can transcend the rule of law, in the name of the public good. This is later developed by Giorgio Agamden, who argued that during a ‘state of emergency’ (as France is currently in), the ‘state of exception’ can lead to the placing of people outside of the law, depriving them of any rights, particularly their Human Rights. This is because within a ‘state of exception’, the laws of a state hold no power, as they can be dictated at will in an authoritarian style, in the name of the public good (such as anti-terrorism).

Thus, just like the devastating Nazi state during Hitler’s reign of the Third Reich, an increase in the power of government during a ‘state of emergency’, can lead to a government being able to operate outside of a nation’s laws, in which could allow the state to eliminate all individuals who are determined as being unable to integrate into society, echoing the U. N’s concern regarding the targeting of the Muslim population, following from the new anti-terror law in France.

Therefore, following from Agamden’s concern that the ‘state of exception’ can become a prolonged state of being, it may be argued that following from the recent passing of the new anti-terror law in France, Human Rights must be ensured and paramount on a global scale. This is particularly so that the negative consequences of the passing of the anti-terror law does not occur, as the diminishing of the power of a state’s law and its citizens rights in this way could lead to unprecedented anarchy and chaos.

If you would like to learn more about your Human Rights or your citizenship rights in general, or even to discuss France’s new law further, why not contact one of our highly qualified solicitors on: or call on: 020 3318 5794.

Author: Portia Vincent-Kirby