05 February 2021
A group of human rights organisations have initiated legal proceedings against the French state for its failure to halt police racism, in particular as manifested through the long-standing practice of ethnic profiling by police officers.
Using a 2016 law that allows class action suits on discrimination, the organisations - Maison Communautaire pour un Dévelopement Solidaire (MCDS), Pazapas, Réseau Egalité, Antidiscrimination, Justice Interdisciplinaire (Reaji), Amnesty International France, Human Rights Watch, and Open Society Justice Initiative - have sent a letter of formal notice to the French authorities.
There is now a four-month period in which the two sides can negotiate. If the parties bringing the case are not satisfied with the solutions proposed by the French state, they can initiate legal proceedings.
The practice of ethnic profiling by the French police is long-standing and well-documented, and studies have confirmed its drastic negative effects on those subjected to it.
Public anger and opposition to police racism has grown in recent years, particularly following a series of high-profile deaths in custody of young black men. Activists and press reports say that the measures introduced to prevent the spread of coronavirus have further intensified discriminatory policing practices.
In a press release announcing the case against the French state, Human Rights Watch said:
"Deep structural reforms are needed to address this systemic discrimination, the organizations said. Piecemeal measures such as the use of body cameras by the police are insufficient. Based on years working on police discrimination in France and elsewhere, the organizations said that the government needs to carry out comprehensive reforms, including:
Spotted an error? If you've spotted a problem with this page, just click once to let us know.
Statewatch does not have a corporate view, nor does it seek to create one, the views expressed are those of the author. Statewatch is not responsible for the content of external websites and inclusion of a link does not constitute an endorsement. Registered UK charity number: 1154784. Registered UK company number: 08480724. Registered company name: The Libertarian Research & Education Trust. Registered office: 10 Queen Street Place, London EC4R 1BE. © Statewatch ISSN 1756-851X. Personal usage as private individuals "fair dealing" is allowed. We also welcome links to material on our site. Usage by those working for organisations is allowed only if the organisation holds an appropriate licence from the relevant reprographic rights organisation (eg: Copyright Licensing Agency in the UK) with such usage being subject to the terms and conditions of that licence and to local copyright law.