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Hate speech and violence motivated by racism and intolerance in France

Council of Europe Anti-Racism Commission expresses concern at the rise of hate speech and violence motivated by racism and intolerance, surprisingly or not, in France.

The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) published recently (1st of March 2016) – its fifth report on France in which it analyses recent developments and outstanding issues and makes recommendations to the authorities.

ECRI expressed its concern over the high level of under-reporting of racist crime, the cuts in budgets earmarked for integration policies and the remaining gaps in the criminal-law provisions relating to hate speech. In this connection, the authorities are called on to take measures to ensure that racist motivation and motives related to sexual orientation and gender identity are made an aggravating circumstance of any ordinary criminal offence.

ECRI is alarmed at the rise of hate speech and the increase in racist, antisemitic and islamophobic violence.

The following two recommendations are to be implemented on a priority basis and will be the subject of interim follow-up by ECRI within two years:

  • revise school curricula and teacher training programmes to promote a better understanding of issues relating to religion and immigration;
  • ensure that no legitimate residence (“domiciliation”) application submitted by members of groups such as Roma is turned down and reduce processing times so that these persons can be given access to basic rights.

The report, including Government observations, is available here. It was prepared following ECRI’s visit to France in March 2015 [Press release] and takes account of developments up to 18 June 2015.

Such a report confirms that it is not absolutely necessary that an offence of basic human rights take place in a country which lacs democratic tradition as Georgia for consideration, where the ECRI also has published a report on its concerns on racism and religious intolerance towards religious minorities as Muslims and Jehovah’s Witnesses, but can also arise in the very state where the basic human rights were born and defined. It more or less depends on how each individual is exercising its rights and promote peace and love for his neighbour.

ECRI is a human rights body of the Council of Europe, composed of independent experts, which monitors problems of racism, xenophobia, antisemitism, intolerance and discrimination on grounds such as “race”, national/ethnic origin, colour, citizenship, religion and language (racial discrimination); it prepares reports and issues recommendations to member States.

For more information on ECRI: www.coe.int/ecri

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