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Home / Press Release / Issue Brief Analyzes Challenges Facing Next French President 
May 05, 2017

Issue Brief Analyzes Challenges Facing Next French President 

Washington, D.C.—Ahead of this Sunday’s French presidential election, Human Rights First today released a new brief addressing some of the most contentious issues that will face the new president as he or she works to unite a divided France. The brief, Issues Facing the Next President of France: Will Disruption Further Divide?, analyzes pressing topics such as antisemitism and anti-Muslim bigotry, as well as the damaging effects of the continuing state of emergency on French society.

“Winning France’s election is the easy part. Mending a divided country will be a much more difficult endeavor,” writes Human Rights First’s Susan Corke, the brief’s lead author. “Both Emmanuel Macron and Marine LePen are disrupters; each reflects the country’s desire to move beyond the status quo. After a bruising election, each will need to broaden his or her appeal and deliver innovative policy solutions, not just crowd-mobilizing slogans that boil down to whether France is open or closed.”

The issue brief comes at the end of an election season that has served as an outlet for exclusionary messages about French identity, fearmongering narratives linking terrorism and Islam, and nationalist calls to regain sovereignty from the European Union. In this climate forms of intolerance have become the new normal, threatening human rights standards and the rule of law.  

Today's analysis builds on the organization’s history of exposing and combating hate crimes in Europe. Last year Human Rights First released a report, Breaking the Cycle of Violence, that included recommendations for the U.S. and French governments to counter growing intolerance and extremism.

“How the next president of France leads after the election will have ripple effects across the continent, and the challenges confronting the next president will be great. Once elected, the incoming president should respond to the real national security challenges facing France by promoting human rights and the rule of law, and work with lawmakers to end the country’s extended state of emergency, which has made expansive and invasive police authority the new normal, with little benefit to France’s fight against extremism,” added Corke. 

For more information or to speak with Corke, contact Christopher Plummer at PlummerC@humanrightsfirst.org or 202-370-3310.