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France 'must address deep racism in police', says UN

AFP
AFP - [email protected]
France 'must address deep racism in police', says UN
Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP

France must address deep issues of racist discrimination in its police, the United Nations said on Friday, following the fatal shooting of a teenager which has sparked three nights of unrest.

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"We are concerned by the killing of a 17-year-old of North African descent by police in France... this is a moment for the country to seriously address the deep issues of racism and racial discrimination in law enforcement," 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."

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The death of 17-year-old Nahel - a French teenager of Algerian origin - during a traffic stop has revived longstanding grievances about policing and racial profiling in France's low-income and multi-ethnic suburbs.

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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