Despite the fact that freedom of assembly and expression are constitutionally guaranteed in France, emergency powers, which have been incorporated into ordinary law, entitle the authorities to excessive discretion in the context of counterterrorism, without adequate judicial safeguards. Consequently, since the adoption of the November 2017 security law, the freedoms of movement, association and expression have been restricted..
Human rights defenders working on the rights of migrants and asylum seekers face an increasingly hostile environment, with attacks from groups of far-right activists. In 2018, the French Constitutional Court declared that the principle of fraternity covers the freedom to help others at risk, notwithstanding their legal status. However, national courts continue to convict HRDs who have provided humanitarian assistance to migrants of facilitating illicit entry into the country, thus criminalising their legitimate work on the protection of human rights.