Members’ section
Personal identifiers

FRANCE: Defender of Rights

General Contact Information

Full name in English:

Defender of Rights

Full name in the national language(s):

Défenseur des droits

Postal address:
3, place Fontenoy 75007 Paris France
Website:

www.defenseurdesdroits.fr

General email address:
communication@defenseurdesdroits.fr
Helpline:

09 69 39 00 00

Telephone number:

01 53 29 22 35

Twitter:

defenseurdroits

Other social media channels:

Facebook : Défenseur des droits

Languages in which your institution can be contacted:

French English

Person of contact for media enquiries:

Laetitia Got Thiepaud

Name of the Head of the equality body:

Jacques Toubon

Contact Person

Name:

Nepheli Yatropoulos, Advisor on European and International Affairs

Email:
nepheli.yatropoulos@defenseurdesdroits.fr

Main Informations

Overview

The Défenseur des droits is a Constitutional independent authority competent in 4 different areas: the Rights of the users of public services, (as the national Ombud) the Defense of Children’s Rights, the non-discrimination and promotion of Equality (as the National NEB) , and the issue of ethics in security services (police and other private security services complaints’ Commission). Moreover, the Défenseur des droits has a protection responsibility (instruction of individual cases in all his fields of competence) and a promotional activity in order to address the improvement of access to rights and promote Equality.
The French institution has powers of inquiry and powers of intervention, such as : to resolve a conflict by mutual agreement by making recommendations or through a mediation/conciliation, to intervene in support of a civil or criminal transaction, to request disciplinary action against an security officer, to request observations before a court in order, and to recommend sanctions by the administration against a physical person or legal entity at the origin of discrimination.
Its actions are supported by the work of regional delegates, 400 persons working on a voluntary basis which represent the institution all over the French territory.

Brief history

The Défenseur des droits was enshrined in the Constitution on 23rd July 2008 and established by the Organic and Ordinary Laws of 29th March 2011. Laws of 29th March 2011. The institution has succeed to 4 distinct authorities: the Médiateur de la République (French Mediator/Ombud), the Défenseur des enfants (Children’s Ombudsman), the Haute Autorité de lutte contre les discriminations et pour l’égalité (HALDE, equality and anti-discrimination authority), and the Commission nationale de déontologie de la sécurité (CNDS, national commission on security ethics).

Mandate type
  • Predominantly promotion-type and legal support body
Litigation powers
  • Intervening before the court
  • Formally deciding on complaints (e.g. decision or recommendation addressed to the parties) Not legally binding
Activities
201020112012201320142015
Activities aimed at supporting vulnerable groups (e.g. through trainings)noyesyesyesyesyes
Activities aimed at supporting duty bearers such as employers and service providers (e.g. through trainings, guidance material, practical support, etc.)noyesyesyesyesyes
Communication activities (e.g. awareness raising campaigns)noyesyesyesyesyes
Recommendations on discrimination issuesnoyesyesyesyesyes
Publications and reportsnoyesyesyesyesyes
Research projects (including surveys)noyesyesyesyesyes
Our institution has a mandate to deal with:
  • UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)
  • Hate crime and hate speech : jurisdiction to do preventive and promotion actions only , such as preventive compaigns. Violence against women : except for the cases about sexual harassment, the Défenseur des droits redirects victims to the CNIDFF (Centre national d’information sur le droit des femmes et des familles = National information Center of women and families rights), and the AVFT (Association européenne contre les violences faites aux femmes au travail = European organization against violences against women at work).
Other statistics
201020112012201320142015
Number of inquiries handled per year (all contact even if not resulting in a formal complaint)910658583882416669657162479592
Number of cases handled per year (case files opened and processed according to your procedures)no datano datano datano datano datano data
Number of media appearances per year (major newspapers/magazines/websites/blogs, TV + radio channels) - does not include social mediano datano datano datano datano datano data
Management
  • Single headed equality body (led by director or ombudsman/commissioner)
  • The Defender of Rights is a single authority in charge of defending the rights. The Defender of Rights chairs over 3 Boards which assist him in the performance of his duties in the defense of the rights of children, the fight against discrimination and promotion of equality, as well as ethics in the field of security. Each Board has a vice-chair in the person of the appropriate deputy. The Defender of rights is appointed by the president of the Republic, but has to be confirmed in his or her functions by the Parliament (Senate and National Assembly). This mandate is non-renewable. His or her functions may only be terminated at his or her request or in the event of an obstacle according to the conditions defined by decree of the Council of State. The Defender of rights, which is an independent constitutional authority, does not receive any instructions in the exercising of his remit. The Defender of rights and his deputies may not be prosecuted, sought after, arrested, detained or tried on the basis of the opinions they issue or the acts that they carry out in fulfilling their functions. The functions of the Defender of rights and of his deputies are not compatible with the functions of a member of the Government, of the Constitutional Council, the Supreme Judicial Council and of the Economic, Social and Environmental Council, as well as any other elected office. Furthermore, the functions of the Defender of rights and those of his deputies are incompatible with any other public function or employment and all other professional activities, as well as any other position as chairman and member of the board of directors, or chairman and member of the executive board, chairman and member of the supervisory board, or the managing director of any company, enterprise or institution.
Management details

The Defender of Rights has three deputies to assist him in his assignment:
-  Deputy, Children’s Ombudsman (Défenseure des enfants), Vice-chair of the Board in charge of the defense and promotion of children’s rights
-  Deputy, Vice-chair of the Board in charge of the fight against discrimination and the promotion of equality
-  Deputy, Vice-chair of the Board in charge of security ethics

The deputies cannot occupy positions other than those for which they are appointed.
Each Deputy is Vice-Chair of their respective board and can replace the Defender of Rights as chair of the meetings of that board and represent him in her/his field of competence.

Additional details

The Defender of Rights, while preserving the specific features and visibility of previous missions, has defined a transversal organization making it possible to develop to their fullest potential the powers conferred upon him by law. The services are organized into units grouped together in departments.
-  The Admissibility/Orientation Department : examines the admissibility and orientation (or re-orientation) of all the requests
-  The Department “Protection of Rights –Judicial Affairs (composed by the following units: justice and liberties, Childrens’ rights, public and private security services complaints, health, private employment and goods and services)
-  The Department “Protection of Rights –Public Affairs (composed by the following units: public function, social protection and solidarity, public services, fundamental rights of foreigners)
-  The Department “Promotion of Equality and Access to rights” lays emphasis on Institutional reform, public action evaluation, partnership strategy, communication training, documentation, studies and research, European and International affairs. It also focuses on the production of norms (drafting legal and regulatory proposals) or on making general recommendations. It is also in charge of writing opinions in response to parliamentary or governmental requests.
-  The Regional Network Department manages: relations between the institutions and its 400 delegates distributed around the country

Procedure for nomination and appointment of management and board

Security Ethics Board
The Board in charge of security ethics is composed of:
-  Three highly qualified individuals appointed by the President of the Senate
-  Three highly qualified individuals appointed by the President of the National Assembly
-  One member or former member of the Council of State, appointed by the Vice-chair of the Council of State
-  One member or former member of the Court of Cassation appointed jointly by the first President of the Court of Cassation and the Prosecutor General to said Court

Defence and Promotion of Children’s Rights Board
The Board in charge of the defence and promotion of children’s rights is composed of:
-  Two highly qualified individuals appointed by the President of the Senate
-  Two highly qualified individuals appointed by the President of the National Assembly
-  One highly qualified individual appointed by the President of the Economic, Social and Environmental Council
-  One member or former member of the Court of Cassation appointed jointly by the first President of the Court of Cassation and the Prosecutor at said Court

The Anti-Discrimination and Promotion of Equality Board
The Board in charge of the fight against discrimination and promotion of equality is composed of:
-  Three highly qualified individuals appointed by the President of the Senate
-  Three highly qualified individuals appointed by the President of the National Assembly
-  One highly qualified individual appointed by the Vice-chair of the Council of State
-  One highly qualified individual appointed by the First President of the Court of Cassation

Number of staff dealing with equality issues
201020112012201320142015
no datano datano datano datano datano data
Grounds and fields of discrimination covered by the equality body
GroundsFieldsEmploymentEducationHousingSocial Protection & HealthcareGoods & ServicesOther
Genderyesyesyesyesyes
Gender Identityyesyesyesyesyes
Race and Ethnic Originyesyesyesyesyes
Ageyesyesyesyesyes
Disabilityyesyesyesyesyes
Sexual Orientationyesyesyesyesyes
Religion & Beliefyesyesyesyesyes

Other grounds : pregnancy, family situation, physical appearance, patronym, place of residence, sate of health, genetic characteristics, way of life, sexual identity, political opinions, union activities, loss of autonomy, particular vulnerability resulting from a known or apparent economic situation

Mandate covers:
  • Public sector
Operating budget in euros
201020112012201320142015
no data292727.627.127.4
We are accountable to:
  • National Parliament
  • Head of State
  • National audit institution (i.e. for financial reporting)

Related News

On 15 September, Jacques Toubon, the Defender of Rights (France), officially launched an online platform entitled ’Egalité contre le racisme’ (Equality against Racism), aimed at providing practical tools and advice to combat cases of racial and ethnic discrimination.

 

The Defender of Rights has launched the results of a call for evidence conducted in spring 2016 on ethnic discrimination in access to employment. These results illustrate the variety of challenges faced by people of foreign origin and the impact on their professional and personal lives.