SLS in Paris

Comparative Civil Rights in Europe

Perspectives: Comparative Civil Rights in Europe

After completing Comparative Civil Rights with Professor Ford, we all hopped on the plane eager to spend spring break talking with academics and practicing lawyers about equality and anti-discrimination law. Against a backdrop of inspiring icons like the Arc de Triomphe and Big Ben, we set out to better understand civil rights issues in a European context.

Our first meeting was with Le Défenseur des Droits (Defender of Rights or DDD). This independent arm of the French government is tasked with investigating and occasionally litigating claims of discrimination, mainly in the public sector. We were curious to hear how the entity is able to perform when it is illegal in France to collect racial statistics. We learned that in France there are about 21 different grounds of discrimination, ranging from ethnic origin to health status, and that the DDD receives more than 5,000 claims a year. …

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