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UNHCR Spokesperson calls on France to address ‘deep issues’ of racism in policing

The Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Ravina Shamdasani has expressed concern over the death of 17-year-old Nahel M on Tuesday.

This is after the young man was shot dead driving away from a traffic stop in the Parisian suburb of Nanterre.

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Through a statement, Shamdasani called on the authorities to ensure the use of force by police to address violent elements in demonstrations always respects the principles of legality, necessity, proportionality, non-discrimination, precaution, and accountability.

In addition, she noted 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,” she added.

In conclusion, the Spokesperson emphasized on the importance of peaceful assembly.

According to news reports, at least 875 people were arrested in major cities around the country on Thursday night, after around 40,000 police officers were deployed to quell protests and rioting over the killing.

President Emmanuel Macron has urged parents to keep their children off the streets, while in Paris, shots have been ransacked and cars set alight, despite the heavy police presence.

The officer who shot the youth has reportedly apologized to the family and has been officially charged with voluntary homicide.

According to the latest figures released by France’s police regulator, there were 37 deaths during police operations recorded in 2021, of whom ten were shot dead.


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