Blogs 2018

The Solidarity Offense in France: Egalité, Fraternité, Solidarité!

On July 6 2018, the French Constitutional Council ruled that the commonly called “delit de solidarité” or “solidarity offense” which criminalises any person who facilitates the irregular entry or stay of a foreigner in France is partially unconstitutional. Even if the legislator has to reconcile the constitutional principle of fraternity with the safeguarding of the public order, the former implies the “freedom to help others, for a humanitarian purpose, without considering the legality of their residence on the national territory”. The exemptions, preventing judicial proceedings in certain circumstances, will now protect people helping the circulation of foreigners, whatever their status and the legality of their residence, even if facilitating entry on the territory is still forbidden. And while helping had only been legal if done in order to protect the dignity and physical integrity of a foreigner, the Council now considers that fraternity “could not be interpreted differently as encompassing any act of help done with a humanitarian goal”. ...

[Link to Verfassungsblog]


Benjamin Boudou, July 2018