An independent institution

An independent constitutional authority

“In exercising its duties, the Defender of Rights, an independent constitutional authority, receives no instruction.” - article 2, organic law of 29 March 2011.

The Defender of Rights is an independent constitutional authority. The Defender of Rights, Claire Hédon, receives no instruction: whether from the government, civil service or pressure groups. He may not be tried for any remark or act linked to the exercise of his office. His 6-year irrevocable and non-renewable appointment by the President of France is subject to a vote of approval by the National Assembly and Senate. He may not hold any other concurrent office.

One institution, five areas of responsibility

“The Defender of Rights ensures respect for rights and freedoms” - article 71-1, French Constitution

The Defender of Rights is an independent institution responsible for defending individual rights and freedoms in 5 areas defined by law:

  • defending the rights of public service users,
  • defending children’s rights,
  • observance of ethics by security personnel (police, gendarmes, private security services, etc.),
  • anti-discrimination and the promotion of equality,
  • guidance and protection for whistleblowers.

For the due performance of its work, the Defender of Rights:

  • deals with the claims it receives by proposing personalised solutions,
  • encourages equal access to rights for all members of the public through information, training, developing partnerships and proposing amendments to the law.