Several IAFT member organisations have expressed concern about the infringement of public and democratic freedoms by the French government during the COVID 19 crisis.

A number of international human rights bodies have also expressed concern, such as the UN Human Rights Council, chaired in 2021 by Mrs Nazhat Shameen Khan (a diplomat from Fiji and a human rights lawyer) and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, whose incumbent is Mrs Michelle Bachelet, former President of Chile.

Emmanuel Macron’s government therefore knows exactly where it stands on France’s human rights reputation.

The advisory delegates of the IAFT at the Human Rights Council (UN) and at the International Labour Conference (ILO), who had already had the opportunity to intervene on these subjects when the sessions were held with the physical presence of the delegates, recently addressed a statement to the authorities placed at the head of these bodies, to argue the grievances on three subjects:

At UN, we said:

– the problems posed by the so-called “global security” law, in terms of press freedom as well as police powers and judicial control of their actions.

– the multiple dangers of the bill under discussion on “separatism“, renamed: “law reinforcing the respect of the principles of the Republic“: Danger for the freedom of conscience and the exercise of worship, as it is notably defined in France by the law of December 9, 1905, danger again for the freedom of the press, danger for the freedom of associations and their very faculty to exist outside the control of the public authorities.

– the effective measures already taken by three decrees of 4 December 2020, which provide in particular for the police to collect the personal data of trade unionists on the basis of “political opinions, philosophical or religious beliefs or trade union membership“.

In France, a broad democratic mobilisation continues to be exercised for the withdrawal or repeal of these texts.

At the ILO, IAFT delegates have joined the committees of the 109th International Labour Conference (ILC) to defend this view in the context of employer-employee relations and collective labour standards.

Geneva 04/05/2021

Categories: Miscellany