France and Human Rights Essays

France and Human Rights Essays

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The French judicial system was established by Roman codified law and founded by Napoleon I in 1804 (Aguilera, p. 4). The French Constitution was formally declared on October 4, 1958, under the Fifth Republic. Similar to the United States Constitution, the French Constitution can be amended by the chambers of Parliament or a referendum. The last amendment to the French Constitution took place on July 18, 2008. The revision impacted judicial powers as well as civil rights; it provided the judicial branch a meaningful structure to examine past legislation to verify constitutionality. Within the judicial system there is a Constitutional Council, which operates in a different capacity than other democratic Supreme Courts.
The Constitutional Council interprets the highest French and multinational regulations, and assures the Constitution is upheld. With the examination of Article 55 of the French Constitution, the Council has held that European Treaties are the highest regulations, however, if the Constitution challenges a treaty it will be examined before the treaty is ratified (Aguilera, p. 3). An analysis of the history of human rights and how the French government has interpreted them shows the difficulties that the government faces maintaining a secular nation while still allowing for religious toleration.
On August 26, 1789, the French National Assembly approved the Declaration of the Rights of Man, which states, “The representatives of the French people, organized as a National Assembly, believing that the ignorance, neglect, or contempt of the rights of man are the sole cause of public calamities and of the corruption of governments, have determined to set forth in a solemn declaration the natural, unalienable, and sacred ri...

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Lohrenz, C. (2013, November 23). French burqa ban to be questioned at european court of human rights. DW. Retrieved from

Makei, V. Ministry of Foreign Affairs, (2010). Human rights violations in certain countries in 2012. Retrieved from Ministry of Foreign Affairs website:

Merrills, J. (2014). European court of human rights (echr). In Encyclopedia Britannica . Chicago, Il: Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved from

Sciolino, E. (2004, February 11). French assembly votes to ban religious symbols in schools. New York Times. Retrieved from

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