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Amnesty slams French anti-terrorism measures

media Migrants protest behind a border fence at the Greek-Macedonian border, after additional passage restrictions imposed by Macedonian authorities left hundreds of them stranded. REUTERS/Marko Djurica

Amnesty International has slammed France for the “rights-sapping” state of emergency implemented after jihadist gunmen attacked Paris in November, killing 130 people.

The measure allows the interior minister to place under house arrest any person whose behaviour is considered "a threat to security and public order"It also allows police search homes at any hour without involving the court.

"This is curbing free expression, it is curbing free movement of people," Amnesty Secretary General Salil Shetty told news agencies this morning.

"Everybody understands that the French government has to respond to this reality. But a government that has historically championed human rights can't take shortcuts."

He also condemned European countries' "shameful" response to the migrant crisis and their efforts to counter the threat of attacks risk undermining their historic commitment to human rights.

The London-based campaign group, traditionally more used to lambasting dictatorships for rights abuses, used its annual report to take some of the world's oldest democracies to task.

Several countries in the European Union's passport-free Schengen area have reimposed border controls in response to a huge wave of migrants and refugees fleeing war and persecution in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia.

"That Europe, which is the richest bloc in the world, is not able to take care of the basic rights of some of the most persecuted people in the world, is shameful," said Amnesty Secretary General Salil Shetty.

"The majority of countries, with the honourable exception perhaps of Germany, have simply decided that the protection of their borders is more important than the protection of the rights of refugees," added Amnesty's Europe director John Dalhuisen.


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