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French Press Review 7 July 2018

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The French press this morning is delighted but not pompous when it comes to celebrating the national football teams victory in the World Cup. Many of the dailies have dedicated space to a ruling on the law that grants humanitarian immunity to those helping migrants inside France.


Allez les bleus !

Unsurprisingly France’s victory last night over Uruguay has landed Les Bleus a number of front pages.

Le Parisien views it as a dream come true.

Le Figaro looks forward to the semi-final against Belgium, commenting that the French team has gained maturity and the players are now worthy successors of Zidane, Kope and Platini.

Libération, like many of the papers, agrees that last night’s victory occurred without much opposition but the French press in general remains cautious when it comes to speculating about Les Bleus' next match, against Belgium.

Fraternity and humanitarian immunity

France’s highest jurisdiction, the Constitutional Council, yesterday ruled that people who help migrants on humanitarian grounds enjoy immunity from prosecution, regardless of the legal status of the person they are helping.

The council based its judgement one of France’s three "republican values" “fraternity”.

Left-leaning Libération notes that until now the concept has been the poor relative of the French state's motto “Liberté , Egalité, Fraternité”.

The paper explains that now, if you help a migrant by, for example, driving them to hospital, you are not breaking the law. According to a specialist interviewed by Libé, what has really progressed is the fact that the humanitarian immunity of those involved is consolidated.

Ultimately the legislation itself hasn't changed that much, as conservative Le Figaro notes. Helping someone enter France illegally could cost you five years in prison and a 30,000-euro fine.

“At a time when the European Union is tearing itself apart over migration questions and as far-right parties are gaining ground on the continent, this decision undeniably constitutes an important victory for charities and those who had appealed to the council on this pressing constitutional issue," ” writes Le Monde.

Behind this call for change is a farmer, Cédric Herrou, who became the poster boy for those defending the migrants in the Rova valley which is one of the main points of passage to France for migrants who arrive in Europe via Italy.

He was sentenced to a four-month suspended sentence last August for transporting some 200 migrants, mainly Eritrean and Sudanese, to a camp he had set up for them. The other plaintiff, university lecturer Pierre-Alain Mannoni, had accompanied three Eritreans to a train station and was given a two-month suspended sentence.

French photographer in Bangladesh

Libération dedicates most of its pages to photography, featuting amongst others the work of Antoine d’Agata, who spent time in Bangladesh in a Rohingya refugee camp.

He was moved by the “fatalism” of the persecuted people and will be exhibiting his work in Dacca next September.

None of the photos feature refugees but simple their “homes” in the camp.

“It’s a photographic renunciation in reaction to how impossible it is to account for the destinies, sufferings and tragedies," he tells the paper.

"There the past is unacceptable but so are the present and the future."