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Are there mechanisms in place to collect data on racial discrimination in line with data protection legislation as an effective means of, monitoring and reviewing policies and practices to combat racial discrimination and promote racial equality?

Key Area:
Anti-discrimination Legislation & Implementation
Discrimination, Equality
20/12/2011 - 17:33
Short Answer


Qualitative Info

Not recognizing the existence within its territory of minorities with a legal status as such, France refuses to define general criteria for membership of a minority or even to compile registers of people from minorities, thus making it impossible to collect data on racial discrimination at the national level. The census does not include any ethnic data, in spite of the reiterated recommendations of the United Nations’ Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (Cerd) which, in its report issued in August 2010, asked France to proceed to its national census on the basis of an ethnic self-definition, “purely voluntary and anonymous”. The Council of Europe’s European Commission against Racism and Intolerance, whose last report on France was issued in June 2010, also recommended that the French authorities “envisage collecting data broken down according to categories such as ethnic or national origin, religion, language or nationality, so as to identify manifestations of discriminations ".  However, a step forward was taken in March 2009 when Yazid Sabeg, French Commissioner for Diversity and Equal Opportunities, launched a 30-member Committee for Measuring and Evaluating Diversity and Discriminations (Comedd) to “give France the means to understand the current state of discrimination”. The committee, chaired by the demographer François Héran, published its findings in a report issued in February 2010. The current French legal framework does not prevent surveys including questions based on name, geographic origin or nationality prior to French nationality, elements that may help to better know ethnic discriminations. Thus, in April 2010, the first general results of a survey entitled “Trajectories and Origins” conducted by INSEE and INED on 22,000 people born between 1948 and 1990 were published. Respondents were voluntary and the data collected anonymously. The published results show that 10% of individuals belonging to the mainstream population reported to have experienced discrimination over the last five years (whatever its grounds – origin, religion, health, gender, sexual orientation – and its area – employment, housing, education, public space), compared with 24% of second generations and 26% of immigrants. The most visible groups seem to be most frequently targeted, since almost half of immigrants and second generations from Sub-Saharan Africa report to have been discriminated over the last five years, ahead of North African minorities (39% of Algerian immigrants’ children, for instance) and, at a comparable level, persons from the French overseas départements and their children born in metropolitan France. They are followed by immigrants from Turkey and Southeast Asia (Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia), and their offspring. Data from this survey will be analyzed further by researchers, providing a better knowledge on ethnic discriminations in France.


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