News / Europe

New Report Accuses French Police of Discrimination

People hold a banner in front of the city hall of Montreuil, east of Paris.  France announced a crackdown on the minorities two weeks ago, Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux said, (File  August 14, 2010).
People hold a banner in front of the city hall of Montreuil, east of Paris. France announced a crackdown on the minorities two weeks ago, Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux said, (File August 14, 2010).

Human Rights Watch says police in France are singling out ethnic Arab and African youths for unwarranted and sometimes humiliating identity checks. The rights group says this apparent ethnic profiling is further exacerbating an already tense relationship between authorities and minority youths.

A young man who recounted being stopped and questioned by French police thinks it's because he's Arab. One identity check is OK, he says. But after a second, third and fourth, he says it's like being in a giant prison.

His account is among dozens gathered by Human Rights Watch in interviews with minority youths in the cities of Paris, Lyon and Lille. In a new report, the rights group says ethnic Africans and Arabs - some as young as 13 years old - are often targeted in police checks, even though they do not appear to be doing anything wrong. Another study, in 2009, found that French police were far more likely to stop blacks and Arabs than white people.

"When they are stopped by the police, they are far more likely to be searched, frisked in a very invasive and often humiliating way for no justifiable suspicion," noted Judith Sunderland,  senior Western European researcher at Human Rights Watch. "They are more likely to be subject to lengthy interrogations about what they're doing, where they've been going, where they've been and sometimes these identity checks are accompanied by insults and even physical abuse."

Many of these youngsters live in France's gritty "banlieus," or suburbs -- known for their high immigrant populations and soaring unemployment and crime. In 2005, the suburbs exploded into riots after the deaths of two youths who had been chased by police.

"These are kids and young adults who are French, who feel very French. They identify as French, but nonetheless feel targeted by the police because of how they look," she explained. "Because of who they are, because of where they live."

Just weeks before French presidential elections, crime and immigration are top voter concerns. French President Nicolas Sarkozy came to power partly on his law-and-order image. Cracking down on crime and immigration is also the message of far-right candidate Marine Le Pen, who is scoring well in the polls.

Human Rights Watch is calling for tougher and clearer rules for police checks. Sunderland says the rights group has met with French authorities. They are aware there is a problem, she says, and they are willing to consider solutions.


You May Like

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike in Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid