Solidarity is no longer a crime

Cédric Herrou with an Eritrean asylum seeker he helped

People giving humanitarian help to illegal migrants will no longer be prosecuted after a law permitting this was found to be contrary to the concept of fraternité, one of France’s common ideals like egality and liberty.

Constitutional authority the Conseil Constitutionnel has asked MPs to change, before December, part of immigration law allowing what opponents call ‘the offence of solidarity’.

It comes after a legal challenge by Cédric Herrou, a farmer who was given a suspended sentence last year for helping migrants passing through the Roya Valley near the Italian border.

The change is not expected to affect those helping people come into France but will mean it should no longer be an offence to give food and shelter or, for example, transport to apply for asylum at prefectures.

France’s law had also previously been criticised by the Council of Europe and an EU directive  issued asking states to only prosecute those profiting financially.

The Conseil Constitutionnel, however based itself on the fact that the ...

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