UN denounces racism of Chelsea fans toward black French man

20th February 2015, Comments 0 comments

The UN human rights office on Friday strongly condemned the racism of a group of Chelsea footbal fans toward a black French man on the Paris metro.

The commuter, identified as 33-year-old Souleymane S., was seen in amateur video footage being repeatedly pushed back off the train as he tried to board it on Tuesday with the fans chanting: "We're racist, we're racist, and that's the way we like it!"

UN human rights office spokesman Rupert Colville not only condemned the behaviour but said he hoped people would build on the outrage over it to fight racism in all its forms.

"We strongly condemn the racist behaviour of a group of Chelsea football fans during the build-up to a Champions League game in Paris on Tuesday," Colville told reporters in Geneva.

"The fans were filmed singing a song that flaunted their racism and repeatedly preventing a French citizen of African descent from boarding the Paris metro by shoving him back onto the platform," he said.

Colville recalled how his office has been involved in talks with football governing bodies FIFA and UEFA about how to "enhance the effort to drum racism out of football" after many racist incidents involving fans, especially inside stadiums.

Tuesday's incident in the Richelieu-Drouot Metro station in Paris showed "that much work remains to be done before racism is truly eradicated from the sport, let alone from society at large," Colville said.

"The fact that this particular incident was filmed and widely shown in the media has given rise to widespread and welcome condemnation by politicians, media and other commentators," he added.

He welcomed the fact that the French had launched an investigation and that the British police had offered to help them identify the people involved in the incident.

This was not an isolated incident, he added.

"Similar acts of cruel and casual racism take place every single day all across Europe without arousing much indignation because they're not caught on camera," he said.

"It is important to build on the outrage created by this snapshot of the ugly face of racism to re-energise the effort to combat it in all its forms wherever it occurs," Colville said.

Chelsea suspended three people from attending the club's Stamford Bridge stadium on Thursday as part of the Premier League team's investigation into the racist incident.

© 2015 AFP

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