Several member states of the United Nations have voiced concern over the behaviour of the French police to the Human Rights Council in Geneva.
France is under fire for police violence, including against protesters, for behaviour against migrants, racial profiling and religious intolerance. The concerns were raised by UN member states during the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), which all 193 UN countries must undergo every four years, reports the France 24.
France must „take measures to, in a transparent manner, address allegations regarding excessive use of force by police and gendarmerie against protestors during demonstrations,” Sweden’s representative told the Human Rights Council in Geneva.
Similar concerns were raised by other member states, including Denmark, Liechtenstein and Norway, but also Russia, Venezuela and Iran – three countries that themselves regularly face accusations of police violence and other serious and widespread human rights violations.
The criticism came as a major protest took place in France on May 1 against the new divisive pension law, raising the pension age from 62 to 64, echoing the growing outcry in France of the police for disproportionate use of force in dealing with the crowds.
During the May 1 review, several countries called on France to do more to battle racial and religious discrimination.
The US representative urged Paris to „expand efforts to counter crimes and threats of violence motivated by religious hatred such as antisemitism and anti-Muslim hate, including cases of harassment, vandalism, and assault,” while the Chinese representative decried „a rise of racism and xenophobia” in France, urging it to „stop … measures that violate rights of migrants,” and Brazil and Japan condemned „racial profiling by security forces.”
A judicial advisor with the French interior ministry told the council the use of force was „strictly supervised, controlled, and in the case of erroneous use, sanctioned,” stressing that „France condemns any form of racial profiling.”