The Human Truth Foundation

Human Rights and Freedom in France

By Vexen Crabtree 2018

#china #egypt #equality #eu #France #freedom #human_rights #hungary #poland #politics #russia #tolerance #venezuela

France
French Republic

[Country Profile Page]
StatusIndependent State
Social and Moral Index20th best
CapitalParis
Land Area 547 660km21
LocationEurope, The Mediterranean
Population65.0m2
Life Expectancy82.36yrs (2017)3
GNI$38 085 (2017)4
ISO3166-1 CodesFR, FRA, 2505
Internet Domain.fr6
CurrencyEuro (EUR)7
Telephone+338

France performs very well in ensuring human rights and freedom compared to most other countries. France performs the best in commentary in Human Rights Watch reports9. It comes in the best 20 when it comes to LGBT equality10, its nominal commitment to Human Rights11 and in opposing gender inequality12. It does better than average for speed of uptake of HR treaties13, supporting personal, civil & economic freedoms14 and in supporting press freedom15. In 2017, Human Rights Watch singled out Emmanuel Macron (France's President) in particular as embracing and supporting human rights visibly and explicitly, and his success in the polls indicates that his stance is widely accepted16. They also say that France's support of women's rights at home and internationally has been notable17. France does not succeed in everything, however. It does worse than average in terms of its success in fighting anti-semitic prejudice18. In some cases, anti-terrorism laws are being used to bypass judicial process, and, France's dealing with the Calais area migration camps have resulted in "dire living conditions" and the French ombudsman states that police behaviour has been abusive.19.


1. France's Human Rights, Equality & Tolerance

#equality #human_rights #morals #politics #prejudice #tolerance

Human Rights, Equality & Tolerance (2020)20,21
Pos.Lower is better
Avg Rank20,21
1Denmark9.7
2Sweden10.0
3Norway16.1
...
14Spain24.1
15UK24.2
16Uruguay26.2
17France28.1
18Belgium28.6
19Italy32.1
20Taiwan35.0
21Czechia35.5
22Poland35.8
World Avg89.8
q=199.

The best countries in the world at ensuring human rights, fostering equality and promoting tolerance, are Denmark, Sweden and Norway20. These countries are displaying the best traits that humanity has to offer. The worst countries are Tuvalu, The Solomon Islands and Palestine20.

The data sets used to calculate points for each country are statistics on commentary in Human Rights Watch reports, its nominal commitment to Human Rights, speed of uptake of HR treaties, supporting personal, civil & economic freedoms, supporting press freedom, eliminating modern slavery, opposing gender inequality, the year from which women could participate in democracy, its success in fighting anti-semitic prejudice and LGBT equality. The regions with the best average results per country are Scandinavia, Baltic States and Europe20, whereas the worst are Micronesia, Melanesia and Australasia20.

2. Human Rights & Tolerance Data Sets

Emmanuel Macron [...] openly embraced democratic principles, firmly rejecting the National Front´s efforts to foment hatred against Muslims and immigrants. His resulting victory and his party´s success in parliamentary elections showed that French voters overwhelmingly reject the National Front´s divisive policies. ... In foreign policy, he has shown leadership standing up to autocratic rule in Russia, Turkey, and Venezuela, and a willingness to support stronger collective European Union action against Poland's and Hungary's assault on rights.

"World Report 2018" by Human Rights Watch (2018)16

Although his record hasn't been perfect:

His move to make permanent many troubling aspects of France's emergency law was a disturbing early step [and] he has been reluctant to confront widespread abuses in China, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia.

"World Report 2018" by Human Rights Watch (2018)17

The EU has acted on behalf of its member states on many occasions to support, foster, fund and encourage human rights protections in every region of the world, with agreement of its member states through the European Parliament. The protections of workers' rights and their harmonisations (which stops companies moving staff to countries with the weakest laws) has had great effect in stopping workforce abuse22. According to Human Rights Watch's comprehensive review for the year 2017, in addition to vocal and public pronouncements on poor human rights records of many countries, the EU has also acted through economic sanctions, political pressure and used other means to incentivize the adoption of human rights protections, even if these measures harm EU trading23. It is to France's credit that it supports the EU in these actions.

2.1. Human Rights Watch Comments

#human_rights

Human Rights Watch Comments (2017)9
Pos.Higher is better
Score9
1UK9
2France9
3Germany9
4Canada8
5Netherlands8
6Sweden7
7Ireland7
8Finland6
9Luxembourg6
10Belgium6
11Greece5
12Cyprus5
World Avg-1.9
q=123.

Human Rights Watch comments concentrate mostly on negative issues, however, they also make positive comments for those countries that engage in human rights defence around the world, or who make improvements at home. By adding up positive and negative comments (including double-points for negatives that involve large scales and crimes against humanity), the Social and Moral Index turns HRW commentary into quantified values. Some countries may be unfairly penalized because HRW have not examined them, and, some countries "get away" with abuses if they manage to hide it, or if it goes unnoticed - a negative point has been given for those countries in which HRW specifically state that access to investigators has been barred. The points were limited to a minimum of -10 because there are some points at which things are so bad, with abuses affecting so many, it is difficult to be more specific about the depths of the issues.

2.2. Nominal Commitment to HR

#human_rights

Nominal Commitment to HR (2009)11
Pos.Higher is better
Treaties11
1Argentina24
2Chile23
3Costa Rica23
...
24Bosnia & Herzegovina21
25Bolivia21
26Australia21
27France21
28Senegal21
29Hungary20
30Czechia20
31Georgia20
World Avg15.1
q=194.

There are many international agreements on human rights, and, many mechanisms by which countries can be brought to account for their actions. Together, these have been the biggest historical movement in the fight against oppression and inhumanity. Or, putting it another way: these are rejected mostly by those who wish to oppress inhumanely. None of them are perfect and many people object to various components and wordings, but, no-one has come up with, and enforced, better methods of controlling the occasional desires that states and peoples have of causing angst for other states and peoples in a violent, unjust or inhumane way. Points are awarded for the number of human rights agreements ratified by the country, plus the acceptance of the petition mechanisms for disputes. The maximum possible score in 2009 was 24.

2.3. HR Treaties Lag

#human_rights #international_law #micronesia #politics #small_islands

HR Treaties Lag (2019)13
Pos.Lower is better
Avg Yrs/Treaty13
1Ecuador2.15
2Uruguay2.25
3Tunisia3.65
...
21S. Sudan5.41
22Morocco5.44
23Romania5.52
24France5.61
25Libya5.61
26Germany5.62
27Austria5.68
28Belarus5.71
World Avg10.02
q=195.

Human Rights (HR) Treaties Lag is a count of how long it took each country to sign each of 11 key HR treaties. From the date of the first signatory of each treaty, all other countries have one point added to their score for each day they delayed in signing. Results are presented as average time in years to sign each one. The lower a country's score, the more enthusiastically it has taken on international Human Rights Treaties - which are, of course, minimal standards of good governance. The slowest are the countries of Micronesia, Melanesia, Australasia and Polynesia all lagged by over 12 years per treaty. The best regions are The Americas, Scandinavia and the Mediterranean.

2.4. Personal, Civil & Economic Freedom

#freedom #politics

Personal, Civil & Economic Freedom (2014)14
Pos.Lower is better
Rank14
1Hong Kong1
2Switzerland2
3New Zealand3
...
28Italy28
29Chile29
30Romania30
31France31
32Japan32
33Cyprus33
34Mauritius34
35S. Korea35
World Avg79.7
q=159.

The Human Freedom Index published by the Fraser Institute is...

... a broad measure of human freedom, understood as the absence of coercive constraint. It uses 79 distinct indicators of personal and economic freedom in the following areas: Rule of Law, Security and Safety, Movement, Religion, Association, Assembly, and Civil Society, Expression, Relationships, Size of Government, Legal System and Property Rights, Access to Sound Money, Freedom to Trade Internationally, Regulation of Credit, Labor, and Business. [...]

The highest levels of freedom are in Western Europe, Northern Europe, and North America (Canada and the United States. The lowest levels are in the Middle East and North Africa, South Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa. [...]

Countries in the top quartile of freedom enjoy a significant higher per capita income ($37,147) [compared with] the least-free quartile [at] $8,700). The HFI finds a strong correlation between human freedom and democracy.

"The Human Freedom Index" by The Fraser Institute (2016)24

2.5. Press Freedom

#democracy #freedom #mass_media #politics #UK

Press Freedom (2013)15
Pos.Lower is better15
1Finland638
2Netherlands648
3Norway652
...
33Lithuania1824
34Slovenia2049
35Spain2050
36France2160
37El Salvador2286
38Latvia2289
39Botswana2291
40Papua New Guinea2297
World Avg3249
q=178.

The freedom to investigate, publish information, and have access to others' opinion is a fundamental part of today's information-driven world. Scores on the Press Freedom Index are calculated according to indicators including pluralism - the degree to which opinions are represented in the media, media independence of authorities, self-censorship, legislation, transparency and the infrastructure that supports news and information, and, the level of violence against journalists which includes lengths of imprisonments. The index "does not take direct account of the kind of political system but it is clear that democracies provide better protection for the freedom to produce and circulate accurate news and information than countries where human rights are flouted".

It must be noted that press freedom is not an indicator of press quality and the press itself can be abusive; the UK suffers in particular from a popular brand of nasty reporting that infuses several of its newspapers who are particularly prone to running destructive and often untrue campaigns against victims. The Press Freedom Index notes that "the index should in no way be taken as an indicator of the quality of the media in the countries concerned".

2.6. Slavery

#burundi #eritrea #france #human_rights #indonesia #slavery

Slavery (2018)25
Pos.Lower is better
% Victims25
1Japan0.03
2Canada0.05
3Taiwan0.05
...
31S. Korea0.19
32Germany0.20
33Belgium0.20
34France0.20
35Bolivia0.21
36Iceland0.21
37Oman0.21
38Panama0.21
World Avg0.65
q=167.

The taking of slaves has been an unwholesome feature of Human cultures since prehistory26. Private households and national endeavours have frequently been augmented with the use of slaves. The Egyptian and Roman empires both thrived on them for both purposes. Aside from labourers they are often abused sexually by their owners and their owners' friends27. The era of colonialism and the beginnings of globalisation changed nothing: the imprisonment and forced movements of labour continued to destroy many lives except that new justifications were invented based on Christian doctrine and the effort to convert non-Christians. By 1786 over 12 million slaves had been extracted from Africa and sent to colonial labour camps, with a truly atrocious condition of life28. But they were not the only ones to blame; in Africa internal nations such as the Asantes sold and bought tens of thousands of slaves29.

The abolition of the slave trade was a long and slow process. Until a relatively modern time, even philosophers, religious leaders and those concerned with ethics justified, or ignored, the problem of slavery30. The first abolitionists were always the slaves themselves. Their protests and rebellions caused the industry to become too expensive to continue. After that, it was the economic costs of maintain slave colonies that led the British to reject and then oppose the slave trade globally. Finally, the enlightenment-era thinkers of France encouraged moral and ethical thinking including the declaration of the inherent value of human life and human dignity31. A long-overdue wave of compassionate and conscientious movements swept across the West, eliminating public support for slavery, until the industries and churches that supported it had no choice but to back down.

'Modern slavery' includes forced labour (often of the under-age), debt bondage (especially generational), sexual slavery, chattel slavery and other forms of abuse, some of which can be surprisingly difficult to detect, but often target those fleeing from warzones and the vulnerable.32. Some industries (diamond, clothing, coal) from some countries (Burundi25, Eritrea25, Indonesia33) are a particular concern. The Walk Free Foundation, say that in 2016, 40.3 million people were living in modern slavery34.

3. Gender Equality Data Sets

France is on the way towards ending gender inequality.

See:

France's support of women's rights at home and internationally has been notable17

3.1. Gender Inequality

#gender #gender_equality #human_rights #misogyny #women

Gender Inequality (2015)12
Pos.Lower is better12
1Switzerland0.04
2Denmark0.04
3Netherlands0.04
...
16Italy0.08
17Portugal0.09
18Canada0.10
19France0.10
20Israel0.10
21Japan0.12
22Cyprus0.12
23Greece0.12
World Avg0.36
q=159.

The UN Human Development Reports include statistics on gender equality which take into account things like maternal mortality, access to political power (seats in parliament) and differences between male and female education rates. Gender inequality is not a necessary part of early human development. Although a separation of roles is almost universal due to different strengths between the genders, this does not have to mean that women are subdued, and, such patriarchialism is not universal in ancient history. Those cultures and peoples who shed, or never developed, the idea that mankind ought to dominate womankind, are better cultures and peoples than those who, even today, cling violently to those mores.

3.2. Year Women Can Vote

#christianity #gender_equality #human_rights #politics #women

Year Women Can Vote
Pos.Lower is better
Year
1New Zealand1893
2Australia1902
3Finland1906
...
45Uzbekistan1938
46Dominican Rep.1942
47Bulgaria1944
48France1944
49Bermuda1944
50Jamaica1944
51Slovenia1945
52Croatia1945
World Avg1930
q=189.

Women now have equal rights in the vast majority of countries across the world. Although academic literature oftens talks of when a country "grants women the right to vote", this enforces a backwards way of thinking. Women always had the right to vote, however, they were frequently denied that right. The opposition to women's ability to vote in equality with man was most consistently and powerfully opposed by the Catholic Church, other Christian organisations, Islamic authorities and some other religious and secular traditionalists.

4. Prejudice Data Sets

4.1. Anti-Semite Opinions

#antisemitism #christianity #germany #indonesia #israel #jordan #judaism #laos #morocco #netherlands #pakistan #philippines #religion #religious_violence #saudi_arabia #spain #sweden #turkey #UK #vietnam

Anti-Semite Opinions (2014)18
Pos.Lower is better
%18
1Laos0
2Philippines3
3Sweden4
...
61Kenya35
62Lithuania36
63Guatemala36
64France37
65Chile37
66Azerbaijan37
67Ukraine38
68S. Africa38
World Avg36.8
q=101.

Anti-Semitism is the world given to irrational racism against Jews. It is not the same as anti-Judaism (involving arguments against the religion) nor the same as anti-Zionism (arguments against Israel). In history, influential Christian theologians concocted the arguments against Jews that led, very early on, to widespread Christian action against Jews35,36,37,38. As Christianity rose to power in the West and presided over the Dark Ages, there were widespread violent outbursts against Jews of the most persistent and horrible kind. The Crusades were frequently aimed at them and the feared Spanish Inquisition paid Jews particular attention. The horror of the holocaust instigated by German Nazis in the 1940s was followed (finally) by the era of European human rights and a movement against racism in general.

The places that are the least anti-Semitical are a few countries of south-east Asia (Laos, the Philippines and Vietnam) and some of the secular liberal democracies of Europe (Sweden, the Netherlands and the UK). The worst countries for antisemitism are Islamic states of the Middle East39, which are undergoing their own Dark Age. Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Morocco, Indonesia, Pakistan and Turkey see the most oppressive and violent actions towards Jews40,41. Jews in Muslim countries face a host of restrictions and "ceaseless humiliation and regular pogroms"42. In 2004 the European Union Monitoring Center on Racism and Xenophobia reported on violent anti-Jew crimes in the EU and found that that largest group of perpetrators were young Muslim males43.

4.2. LGBT Equality

#equality #homosexuality #human_rights #intolerance #sexuality #tolerance

France has often been at the forefront in eliminating prejudices restrictions on LGBT rights. In 2013, it was the 14th country in the world to allow gays and lesbians to marry44. The same period saw France remove the restrictions against homosexuals adopting children, a move which has "drawn especially strong criticism from French Catholic leaders"44 who attempted to enforce their religious beliefs on the rest of the country, which mostly supported the change44.

LGBT Equality (2017)10
Pos.Higher is better
Score10
1Netherlands103
2Belgium90
3Sweden86
4Brazil81
5Spain79
6France78
7S. Africa78
8Uruguay77
9Norway72
10Denmark72
11Iceland72
12UK72
World Avg12.6
q=196.

Discrimination against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) folk is rife across the world. Legal restrictions co-exist alongside social stigmatisation and physical violence45. LGBT tolerance and equal rights have been fought for country-by-country across the world, often against tightly entrenched cultural and religious opposition. Adult consensual sexual activity is a Human Right, protected by privacy laws46. Despite this, homosexual activity is outlawed in around 80 countries45. The Social & Moral LGBT Equality Index was created to compare countries and regions, granting points to each country for a variety of factors including how long gay sex has been criminalized and the extent of LGBT legal rights. Graded negative points are given for criminality of homosexuality, unequal ages of consent, legal punishments and for not signing international accords on LGBT tolerance. The signs in many developed countries are positive, and things are gradually improving. Europe is by far the least prejudiced region (Scandinavia in particular being exemplary). The Middle East and then Africa are the least morally developed, where cultural bias goes hand-in-hand with state intolerance, all too often including physical violence.