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POLITICS

French parliament approves introduction of vaccine pass

The bill changing France's health pass into a vaccine pass which bars the unvaccinated from venues including cafés, gyms and long-distance trains has been approved by the French parliament and is expected to enter into effect this week.

Health pass control in France
Proof of vaccination will now be required to enter leisure and cultural venues in France. Photo: Pascal Pochard Casablanca/AFP

MPs in the Assemblée nationale voted on the bill’s final reading on Sunday evening, with 215 in favour of the vaccine pass and 58 against.

France has had a health pass in place since the summer, requiring visitors to venues including bars, restaurants, cafés, gyms, leisure centres, theatres, cinemas, tourist sites, large gatherings and long-distance trains to show either proof of vaccination, proof of recent recovery from Covid or a negative Covid test.

However, the passing of this bill means means that only proof of vaccination will be accepted for the pass.

READ ALSO What changes when France’s health pass becomes a vaccine pass?

The new rule is expected to come into force this week, with Friday, January 21st suggested as a likely start date.

The government’s original planned start date was January 15th, but the bill was delayed several times as it passed through the Assemblée nationale on the first reading, the Senate and then back to the Assemblée nationale.

Some of the opposition parties have said they intend to appeal to the Constitutional Council, which considers whether new laws or decrees in France comply with the country’s constitution.

For people who are already vaccinated and use either a paper vaccination certificate or the TousAntiCovid app to enter health pass venues, nothing will change.

But unvaccinated people will be shut out of a wide range of leisure and cultural venues, although vaccination is only mandatory for health workers in France. 

Member comments

  1. Q ? – Is the plan to keep the vaccine passport only until the Cov.19 Pandemic is over or is the plan that once the pandemic is over the Health Pass be re-tasked to exclude members of society that do not take, say, a flu vaccine ?

    Q ? – Does anyone know where it is that the establishment are developing an ‘anti-social scoring matrix ‘ that is embedded into their National identity pass necessary for access to all manor of aspects of life – in their case, simply put should you in any way offend society you get a black mark which is recorded and then effects you in a number of ways – such as the ability to get Credit, access restaurants, shopping malls and so forth. A – China.

    The most effective tools of a government (with aspiration for more control) is to plant into the conversation of society “what are you trying to hide” – “if you are a good member of society society will reward you with inclusion” –

    If you accept the loss of these freedoms easily – only when you look back and see the aggregate value of the liberty and freedom of self determination you have talked yourself out of will you regret giving up each small piece of freedom so easily now.

    So – when the pandemic is over will the Health Pass go ? And if not why not. We cannot develop a vaccine to give the population without any new Covid variant so when that scenario evolves – which it will do soon, why would we see a continued insistence on the Health Pass.

    I am vaccinated and happy to be so – why should it matter to me if my next door neighbour is un-vaccinated. The vaccine protects me (allegedly) so the only person at risk is my neighbour and that is his choice – surely ?

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POLITICS

‘Affaire Mila’: Six convicted for harassing French teen over anti-Islam videos

A French court convicted six people on Tuesday for harassing a teen online over her anti-Islam videos in a case that sparked debate about free speech and the right to insult religions.

'Affaire Mila': Six convicted for harassing French teen over anti-Islam videos

The girl, known as Mila, was forced to change schools and accept police protection due to threats to her life after videos in which she insulted Islam went viral in January 2020 and November the same year.

The court handed sentences ranging from a three-month suspended prison term to four months with an electronic bracelet to the two men and four women, aged 19 to 39.

The six were ordered to pay damages of €3,000 ($3,200) each to Mila.

“Their conviction was necessary,” said Mila’s lawyer Richard Malka, but added that he felt no satisfaction at seeing them sentenced.

READ MORE: What is the ‘Affaire Mila’ and what does it say about France and Islam?

“My only satisfaction would be if Mila were able to lead a normal life… and that is not the case,” Malka said.

In the first viral video posted on Instagram in January 2020, Mila responded to personal abuse from a boy who she says insulted her about her sexuality “in the name of Allah”.

She launched into an expletive-laden rant against Islam along with other explicit comments about Allah deemed highly offensive to practising Muslims.

She published a second video with similar content in November of the same year, after a jihadist killing of French high-school teacher Samuel Paty, who had shown students controversial cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed.

Mila’s lawyer says she received over 100,000 extremely virulent messages in response to the videos, with one person writing that Mila deserved “to have her throat cut”, while others threatened sexual assault.

In July 2021, a French court convicted 11 people for harassment and handed suspended sentences, with some ordered to pay damages of 1,500 euros.

The case has received widespread public attention because it touches on hotly contested issues in France, from cyber harassment to the right to blaspheme, and attitudes to religious minorities.

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