Issued on: 18/06/2020 – 08:00Modified: 18/06/2020 – 08:01
French police conduct discriminatory identity checks on black and Arab men, Human Rights Watch charged on Thursday, as angry protests over alleged racism in the security forces sweep across the country.
France has seen numerous demonstrations in recent weeks protesting the actions of police, many coalescing around the 2016 death of young black man Adama Traore in police custody, which activists say echoes George Floyd's killing in the US.
Human Rights Watch said in a report that the French police have “overly broad” powers “to conduct discriminatory and abusive checks on black and Arab boys and men”, leaving too much room for arbitrary and biased decisions.
“There is ample evidence that identity checks in France drive a deep and sharp wedge between communities and the police, while doing virtually nothing to deter or detect crime,” HRWs France director Bénédicte Jeannerod said.
The report comes as France is reeling from allegations of institutionalised racism in the ranks of its police, an accusation vehemently rejected by police forces who say the problems are down to individual security force members.
French President Emmanuel Macron acknowledged in a national address Sunday that France had to fight against the fact that “the name, the address, the colour of the skin” can affect a person's chances in their lives.
But Macron defended Frances under-fire police force, saying they “deserve public support and the recognition of the nation for their work.”
On Tuesday his government backtracked on a ban on the use of chokeholds by the police after a backlash by police unions, who demonstrated across France and threw down their handcuffs in protest.
Invasive and humiliating
HRWs report – based on interviews with 90 men and boys belonging to minority groups in Paris, Grenoble,Read More – Source