Criticism Against Macron Government for Condemning a Long-Standing Human Rights NGO in France

The political atmosphere in France remains tense as the pension reform crisis continues.

During a Senate question-and-answer session on Wednesday, Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne criticised France’s oldest human rights NGO, the Human Rights League (Ligue des droits de l’Homme, or LDH), for its “ambiguous” stance on radical Islamism.

She also highlighted the group’s recent support for a “march against Islamophobia” in late 2019 as an example of this.

Borne expressed disappointment that the LDH chose not to send a representative to the trial of those accused in the January 2015 jihadist attacks.

Her concerns over the group’s actions follow those of Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin, who called for LDH’s state subsidies to be reviewed.

The LDH was founded in 1898 during the Dreyfus Affair and has played a prominent role in French civil society ever since.

Borne acknowledged the importance of the right to protest and praised the role of the police in maintaining order during recent demonstrations over pension reform.

However, she criticized LDH’s critique of attempts to prevent violence during protests against a reservoir project in Sainte-Soline, where violent clashes between police and protesters took place in March.

Borne stated that “cutting subsidies to particular associations” was not being considered, but that NGOs receiving government funding should be open to discussion about their activities.

LDH’s president Patrick Baudouin condemned Borne’s remarks, and left-wing politicians joined him in criticizing the prime minister’s stance. However, right-wing politicians echoed Borne’s concerns over the group’s actions.

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