Paris, 26 April 2011

Organised by: the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) of the Council of Europe, jointly with the Human Rights Consultative National Commission (Commission nationale consultative des droits de l’homme, CNCDH) and the High Authority against Discrimination and for Equality (Haute autorité de lutte contre les discriminations et pour l'égalité de chances HALDE).

Participants discussed the follow-up given to the recommendations contained in ECRI’s 2010 report on France concerning a number of themes divided into four sessions:

  • racism and xenophobia in public discourse
  • the fight against racist expression propagated via the Internet
  • the fight against racism and discrimination against Muslims
  • monitoring racism and racial discrimination
  • the fight against racism and discrimination against Roma and Travellers
  • the legislative and institutional framework of the fight against racial discrimination in France.

The event was opened by Eric Molinié, President of HALDE, and by Emmanuel Decaux, Vice-President of the CNCDH. Opening speeches were given also by representatives of the Senate and of the government of France. Nils Muiznieks, Chair of ECRI, presented ECRI’s last report on France. There was be a number of speakers, including Pierre-Richard Prosper, Vice-President of the UN Committee for the elimination of racial discrimination (CERD)  and Régis de Gouttes, Member of CERD.

The round table brought together representatives of the authorities, the parliament, the justice system and academia, as well as NGOs and trade unions.

In its fourth report on France of June 2010 ECRI expressed its concern about persisting problems in some areas such as the perception of the police by minority, prejudices against Muslims and the tone of the public debate on immigration.

ECRI made also a certain number of recommendations to the French authorities,  among which the following three will be revisited in 2012 :

  • In view of the importance and priority to be given to the fight against racism and racial discrimination, full support to the tasks of HALDE, which as of May 2011 will be performed by the Défenseur de droits;
  • Strengthening the fight against forms of racist expression propagated via the Internet;
  • Implementation of solutions, in consultation with the Traveller community, allowing for the effective and ongoing schooling of itinerant or semi-itinerant Traveller children, adapted to their lifestyle.