France No longer Under a State of Emergency
Over the last few years, the modern world has seen an upsurge in the number cases of violent extremism. Beliefs among other factors are increasingly becoming a basis of ideologically motivated violence in pursuit of radical religious or political views. The infamous attack that led to the deaths of 130 people in France in 2015 is an apt example of increasing instances of violent extremisms.
France responded by declaring a state of emergency in November 2015. The state of emergency, which lasted until November 31, 2017, has enabled France to identify and stop any activities suspected to give rise to violent extremism. According to France’s Interior Minister Gerard Collomb, the country (during the state of emergency) closed 11 places of worship, and over 41 individuals are under house arrest for suspected links to organizations spreading hate and extremism.
The end of the state of emergency marked the beginning of the enactment of new laws meant to safeguard France’s security regarding violent extremist. The laws, which were supported by a vast majority in parliament, allow the country’s authorities to maintain a state of emergency like situation but under the direction of the judicial system. In fact, the first draft of the laws attracted a lot of criticism from analysts who argued that the statutes curtailed the freedom of individuals. Collomb stresses that the lawmakers amended the regulations to strike a perfect balance between security and human rights.
The recently implemented laws, among other abilities, allow law enforcement officers to extend identity verification at the border crossing (international airports and train stations). Police will not only enforce the laws within international airports or train stations but also up to a ten-kilometer radius of the said areas.
The laws formally came to force on October 31, when France’s president, Emmanuel Macron, signed the legislation. Flanked by Collomb and France’s prime minister, Edouard Philippe, President Macron addressed members of the press after the signing the counterterrorism laws. He stressed that the rules are meant to protect the French and not infringe on their rights to liberty, security, or freedom of assembly, especially religious assembly.
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