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The derogation, dated 24 November, was contained in a note verbale (a type of diplomatic communication) from the Permanent Representation of France to the Council of Europe, and was registered at the Secretariat General of that organisation.

In order to take such action, a State must rely on the provisions of Article 15 ECHR on derogations in times of emergency. Article 15(1)-(2) states that:

  1.  In time of war or other public emergency threatening the life of the nation any High Contracting Party may take measures derogating from its obligations under this Convention to the extent strictly required by the exigencies of the situation, provided that such measures are not inconsistent with its other obligations under international law.
  2.  No derogation from Article 2, except in respect of deaths resulting from lawful acts of war, or from Articles 3, 4 (paragraph 1) and 7 shall be made under this provision.

In its derogation, the French State cited the 13 November Paris attacks and said that:

The terrorist threat in France is of a lasting nature... The French Government has decided [to declare a] state of emergency... Such measures appeared necessary to prevent the commission of further terrorist attacks.

The message confirmed the extension of the state of emergency for three months, with effect from 26 November. It said that some of the measures will involve a derogation from ECHR obligations, thereby complying with Article 15(3) which obligates States to inform the Council of Europe of any derogations. 

The text of the derogation does not specify which ECHR right(s) will be the subject of the derogation.

The last time France derogated in this way was in 1985, when it declared a state of emergency in the French overseas territory of New Caledonia following an uprising in the same year. That derogation lasted for eight months.