Better Human Rights Protections Needed in National Security Removal Cases:The lack of safeguards in France’s policy of expelling foreign residents with alleged links to violent extremism undermines human rights and alienates communities whose cooperation is critical to the fight against terrorism, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today.
In France and other European Union countries, the forced removal of foreigners suspected of extremism is increasingly seen as a tool to counter violent radicalization and terrorist recruitment. Since September 2001, the French government has removed more than 70 individuals it describes as “Islamic fundamentalists,” including at least 15 who were Muslim clerics (or imams). However, the French policy lacks adequate safeguards against human rights violations, including torture. Appeals based on risk of torture or other human rights grounds do not automatically suspend removal.
On May 11, the United Nations Committee Against Torture condemned France for expelling a terrorism suspect, Adel Tebourski, to Tunisia despite credible evidence that he faced a risk of torture upon return. This is the second such finding against France by the UN body in the past four years.
“France is entitled to remove foreign nationals who threaten national security, provided it respects human rights in the process,” said Holly Cartner, Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “But as the recent UN anti-torture committee decision makes clear, France’s safeguards in these cases aren’t up to scratch.” (HRW)