Racism in France on the rise, says UN

AFP/Mehdi Fedouach

Racism in France is undergoing a "significant resurgence" and the authorities lack the political will to deal with the problem, according to a report by UN experts. The findings are part of a 90-page report on racism in France by 18 international experts.


The group of experts, named by the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination, looked into how traveller communities are treated, including the Roma.

Last month, French President Nicolas Sarkozy ordered the evacuation of Roma communities in France following instances of urban violence. Critics called this move an official way to stigmatise the Roma community.

One of the UN committee members said that the attitudes and practices of the current French government is reminiscent of France's Vichy government, which collaborated with the Nazi German occupying forces during World War II.

Queries were also made into the French debate on national identity. "I don't know what a 'French person of foreign origin is'," said Gun Kut, a Turkish inspector. "I ask if this is compatible with the constitution."

Sarkozy had also threatened to strip naturalised citizens of their nationality if they commit certain crimes.

The panel will receive the French response today before making a list of recommendations for the French state.

"France has been taken to task," said Malik Salemkour, of the League of Human Rights, who called this review "unprecedented".


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