26 Jan 2012

Abusive Identity Checks of Minority Youth by French Police

French police are using overly broad powers to conduct unwarranted and abusive identity checks on black and Arab young men and boys, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today.
The 55-page report, “The Root of Humiliation: Abusive Identity Checks in France,” says that minority youth, including children as young as 13, are subjected to frequent stops involving lengthy questioning, invasive body pat-downs, and the search of personal belongings. These arbitrary stops can take place even in the absence of any indication of wrongdoing, Human Rights Watch found.


Insulting language, including racial slurs, are not uncommon, and some stops involve excessive use of force by the police.
“It’s shocking that young black and Arab kids can be, and are, arbitrarily forced up against walls and manhandled by the police with no real evidence of wrongdoing,” said Judith Sunderland, senior Western Europe researcher at Human Rights Watch. “But if you are a young person in some neighborhoods in France, it’s a part of life.”

Human Rights Watch