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

    Former US Envoys Urge Obama to Delay Troop Cuts in Afghanistan

    Keeping troop levels up during conflict with both Taliban and Islamic State is necessary to support Kabul government, they say

    First Lady to Visit Africa to Promote Girls' Education

    Michele Obama will be joined by daughters and actresses Meryl Streep and Freida Pinto

    Video NYSE Analyst: Brexit Will Continue to Place Pressure on Markets

    Despite orderly pricing and execution strategy at the New York Stock Exchange, analyst explains added pressure on world financial markets is likely

    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.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora