France to raise pensions of non-French veterans

27th September 2006, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Sept 27, 2006 (AFP) - France said Wednesday it is to raise the pensions of war veterans from its former colonies who fought in its armed forces to the same level as their French counterparts, lifting a four-decade freeze widely seen as unjust.

PARIS, Sept 27, 2006 (AFP) - France said Wednesday it is to raise the pensions of war veterans from its former colonies who fought in its armed forces to the same level as their French counterparts, lifting a four-decade freeze widely seen as unjust.

The decision, announced by Veterans Affairs Minister Hamlaoui Mekachera, came the same day a new film highlighting the discrimination suffered by the troops from French-ruled Africa during World War II hit screens across the country.

The movie, "Days of Glory", exposes the bias directed at the 300,000 soldiers from Algeria, Morocco and other African countries even as they fought alongside French troops to liberate France from the Germans.

Mekachera said the measure, which would come into effect from next year but which would not be backdated, affected 80,000 non-French veterans, most of them from north and west Africa.

"They will receive exactly the same payment in euros as French nationals receive," he told journalists after a cabinet meeting.

Currently, non-French veterans receive at best one-third of the pensions given to French ex-soldiers.

President Jacques Chirac, who ordered the pension rise after seeing "Days of Glory" in a private screening early this month, said it was an "an act of justice."

"We owe it to these men who paid a price in blood, and to their children and their grandchildren, many of whom are French," he told his cabinet.

A Moroccan veterans' association, ANAC, welcomed the decision but said it came late and urged France to implement it quickly.

"It's a good move, but they have to move quickly, they have to activate it because each day there are veterans who die," the association's president, Mohamed Azzouzi, told AFP.

"They did this a bit too late. The majority of those concerned are already deceased," he said.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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