The Defender of Rights Annual Report for 2018 was presented by Jacques Toubon on 11 March. It meticulously analyses the work of the French equality body in its promotion of equality and its support to victims of discrimination. An increase in victim’s complaints can be observed, it reflects the deepening inequalities and regressing fundamental rights that alarmingly affects French society.
In its work to defend the rights of the users of public services, the Defender of Rights witnessed a surge of cases (10,3%) which reflects the regress in public services and its effects on inequalities.
Its non-discrimination competencies were also marked by an increase in victims’ complaints. Cases concerning persons with disability remain the most prominent (22,8%) and echoe the difficulty in French society to efficiently tackle this ground of discrimination.
Discrimination based on ethnic origin is regularly invoked (14,9%), while sex, family situation and pregnancy represent a fair share of cases handled by the French equality body.
In its press release, the Defender of Rights affirms that discrimination firmly persists in France as a result of a weak policy that fails to efficiently tackle it.
On the year of the 30th anniversary of the signature of the UN Convention on the Right of the Child, it is troubling to see that child protection and right to education remain a worrying issue in France and still constitute the main basis for complaints to the Defender of Rights. A clear increase in cases concerning children with disability and foreign minors is also revealed in the report.
The Defender of Rights warns against the weakening of fundamental rights both in law and practice, which is motivated by new, stricter law enforcement policies.