France must address ‘deep’ police racism: UN

The mother of killed 17-year-old Nahel, at left on truck, gestures during a march for Nahel, Thursday, June 29, 2023 in Nanterre, outside Paris
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France

France must address deep issues of racial discrimination in its police, the United Nations said Friday, after a third night of unrest sparked by the fatal police shooting of a teenager.

The death of 17-year-old Nahel during a traffic stop has revived longstanding grievances about policing and racial profiling in France’s low-income and multiethnic suburbs.

“We are concerned by the killing of a 17-year-old of North African descent by police in France on Tuesday,” UN human rights office spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani told a media briefing in Geneva.

“We note that an investigation has been launched into alleged voluntary homicide.

“This is a moment for the country to seriously address the deep issues of racism and discrimination in law enforcement.”

French President Emmanuel Macron was to lead a crisis meeting of ministers on Friday after a third night of protests saw cars torched, shops ransacked and hundreds arrested.

“We also emphasise the importance of peaceful assembly,” Shamdasani said.

“We call on the authorities to ensure use of force by police to address violent elements in demonstrations always respects the principles of legality, necessity, proportionality, non-discrimination, precaution and accountability.

“Any allegations of disproportionate use of force must be swiftly investigated.”

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