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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Racisme: moins de violences, mais moins de tolérance

by anonymous

Racism in France: Less Violence, But Also Less Tolerance

Translated Saturday 16 April 2011, by Gene Zbikowski and reviewed by Henry Crapo

The number of xenophobic, anti-Semitic and racist acts “distinctly fell” in 2010, but “tolerance is down and xenophobic feeling is spreading” in French society, according to the annual report of the National Consultative Commission on Human Rights (CNCDH).

French authorities registered 886 xenophobic and racist acts in 2010, including 165 violent acts (including 79 cases of assault and diverse violence against individuals) and 721 threats or acts of intimidation. This represents a 13.6% fall compared with 2009, according to statistics furnished by the Ministry of the Interior. The regions where there were the most racist acts were Ile de France (the Paris metropolitan area), Rhône-Alpes (which includes Lyons, Grenoble and Saint-Etienne) and northern France.

North African community targeted.

In 2010, the North African community remained the one that was most subject to acts of violence (33.9% of all racist acts of violence) and racist threats and acts of intimidation (36.6%). In addition, “2010 was marked by an increase in attacks against the Muslim community,” the CNCGH noted. Thirteen mosques and Muslim places of worship were attacked violently, compared with six in 2009. “Late 2009 and the year 2010 were punctuated by the social debates on the construction of minarets, the wearing of the full facial veil, and the debate on national identity, which may have fed anti-Muslim feeling in a certain portion of the French population,” the Commission commented.

Anti-Semitic violence down.

2010 was also marked by a “sharp drop (down 43%) in anti-Semitic violence and threats, after a sharp rise in 2009 “linked to the Israeli offensive in the Gaza Strip.” Thus 131 anti-Semitic acts and 335 anti-Semitic threats were registered last year, compared with a total of 815 acts and threats in 2009.

In its report, the CNCDH expressed its happiness at “the downward tendency, in 2010, in manifestations of racism and anti-Semitism.” However, it warned, citing opinion polls, “tolerance is down and xenophobic feeling is spreading,” and “[the existence of] a link between immigration and insecurity is considered to be a proven matter by many, and the image of the parasitic foreigner persists.”

The French government must calm itself.

In its conclusions, the CNCDH “recommends that the government ensure that no person exercising political authority employs stigmatizing, xenophobic or racist words with regard to any particular population” and demands “that the debate on immigration be conducted in a way that is more serene and more respectful of human rights.” The CNCDH is an independent national institution to promote and protect human rights, which advises and makes recommendations to the government.

For more information: La France épinglée par l’Europe

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