Racism on the rise in France

The Roma Pride march in Paris last October

Commission’s annual report reveals intolerance is on the increase in France

RACIST speech has become commonplace in 2013, particularly against Roma and Arab Muslims. That is the conclusion drawn by the National Consultative Commission on Human Rights (CNCDH) in its latest report.

For the second year in a row that the body that advises Matignon has published a bleak report highlighting racist, anti-Semitic and Islamophobic acts, indicating that racial intolerance is on the rise.

Of those surveyed , 9% reported being "quite racist", and 26% "a little racist".

Concerns over immigration are at their highest level since 2002 and, while job prospects and the economic crisis are of greater concern to many French people, 63% of people who responded to a BVA survey said that they believed the integration of foreign people into French society was “malfunctioning” - an increase of 7% on 2012.

A majority blame immigrants for the problem. A total 68% think that people of foreign extraction do not try to integrate into French society.

And 6 out of 10 people believe that “certain behaviour can sometimes justify racist reactions”.

According to a “tolerance index” developed by researchers at Sciences Po, and calculated from a series of questions posed to respondents, fell for the fourth consecutive year and has dropped 12 points since 2009.

Intolerance of Islamic and Roma people has risen most. A total 87% of respondents to the survey said they believed that Islamic and Roma people “are separate groups in French society”.

Meanwhile, 13% of respondents believe that native French people are the greatest victims of racist abuse.

Commentators have been quick to link the rise in racist intolerance in France with the increasing popularity of the far-right and its successes in the recent local elections. But they have also pointed out that the country’s new Prime Minister, Manuel Valls, was born in Barcelona, and the new mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, hails from San Fernando in Spain.

Photo: Alain Bachellier

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