UN panel urges France to halt racist incidents

11th March 2005, Comments 0 comments

GENEVA, March 10 (AFP) - A United Nations human rights panel called on France on Thursday to stop racist incidents involving French security forces and to do more to fight discrimination against asylum seekers or Roma gypsies.

GENEVA, March 10 (AFP) - A United Nations human rights panel called on France on Thursday to stop racist incidents involving French security forces and to do more to fight discrimination against asylum seekers or Roma gypsies.

The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, which oversees international rules against racism, said in a report that it was also concerned by a wider increase in racist, anti-Semitic and xenophobic acts.

After a regular hearing examining France's application of the anti-racism convention, the panel expressed similar concern about "persistent discriminatory behaviour" by security force personnel or public officials.

It recommmended that the French government "should take the necessary preventive measures to halt racist incidents involving members of the security forces" and called for investigations into complaints.

The committee said it feared immigrants had limited access to housing, employment and education in France, while foreign women in particular were sometimes victims of "double discrimination".

Roma gypsies also suffered from "persistent difficulties" and should be provided with more facilities, it added.

Referring to a controversial recent French law on religious symbols in schools, the committee recommended that French authorities should closely monitor its impact to ensure that it did not lead to discrimination.

It said the measures should prevent the law "from denying any pupil the right to education and to ensure that everyone can always exercise that right".

The law has led to the expulsion from schools of some children who continued to wear outward signs of their religion, notably Muslim girls wearing headscarves.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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