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Have public servants been reported as being perpetrators of racist violence/hate crime?

Key Area:
Anti-racist Crime Legislation & Implementation
27/12/2011 - 17:13
Short Answer

Serious concerns against the development of discriminating speech within the highest political level of the French State have sparked off important reactions of politicians, intellectuals, anti-racist NGOs and international organizations.

Qualitative Info

The economic crisis and the development of security driven discourses held even within the highest political level favoured a context in which it was often easier to find scapegoats such as the direct link established by the French President between migrants and thieves/criminals and the massive removal operations against Roma people. This situation favours a certain trivialization of xenophobic violence and hate speech. The controversy and the reactions of the public opinion created a large debate.

Notable incidents of racist violence and crime reported by official or unofficial sources:

On 30 July 2011, the Paris Court of Appeal upheld the first conviction for public insult of a racist nature (and €1200 suspended fine) of Paul Girot de Langlade, local coordinator for the meeting of the General Assembly of the Overseas Territories, (Créteil High Court, 2 July 2010). During  a visit to Orly airport, he said in front of employees "it is like being in Africa, there are only blacks here".

The Paris Court of Appeal delivered a ruling on 15 September 2011 on remarks made by former Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux. At a Party meeting while in office, Brice Hortefeux had said of North Africans that, "when there is one, it's OK, it's when there are several that there are problems", and was convicted by the criminal court for insults towards a group of people because of their origin, ordered to pay a fine of €750 and €2,000 in damages to MRAP. He appealed against the first ruling. The Court of Appeal acknowledged that the racial slur was well characterized, but did not uphold the public character of the incident. The MRAP announced its intention to lodge an appeal.

The current Minister for the Interior, Claude Guéant, is the subject of several complaints lodged by anti-racist associations:

- On 4 April 2011, he said about Islam, "It is true that the increase in the number of followers of this religion and a number of certain types of behaviour are a problem". SOS-Racism decided to complain to the petitions committee of the Court of Justice of the Republic (CJR), the only body empowered to try ministers in office. The CJR has decided not to proceed with the complaint.

- On 11 September 2011, Claude Guéant said on-air on radio RTL: "I ​​can tell you that there is significant immigration from the Comoros to Marseille which is the cause of a lot of violence". The MRAP lodged a complaint to the CJR against these remarks for incitement to hatred, violence and discrimination. The ruling is pending.



Groups affected/interested
Type (R/D)
Key socio-economic / Institutional Areas Anti-racism
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