UN rights chief urges France to scrap part of draft security law

Michelle Bachelet says controversial ‘Article 24’, which would make sharing images of police illegal, should be withdrawn.

People with banners and posters attend a demonstration against the 'Global Security Bill' that rights groups say would make it a crime to circulate an image of a police officer's face and would infringe journalists' freedom in France, in Paris, November 28, 2020 [Christian Hartmann/Reuters]

The United Nations’ human rights chief has urged France to withdraw a controversial part of its “Global Security Bill” that would curb the freedom to share images identifying police.

Michelle Bachelet called on Wednesday for the withdrawal of “Article 24” of the draft security law.

The article has also drawn criticism from human rights groups and activists who say that filming instances of police brutality is crucial in holding officers to account.

The proposed law set off wave of street protests in France after the government introduced a security bill in Parliament that set out to increase its surveillance tools and restrict rights on circulating images of police officers in the media and online.

In a recent U-turn, French President Emmanuel Macron’s ruling party said it would rewrite “24”.

“The law has to be discussed by the French people,” Bachelet told a Geneva news conference.

“But it’s the Article 24, the one we are really concerned about. And that’s why we are mentioning that should be reviewed and should be, I guess, withdrawn.”

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies

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