Problem

Racial discrimination by security forces

Other Names:
Racism among military personnel
Active racial prejudice within police forces
Racist activities in the army
Incidence:
French police culture is reported to see immigrants as the criminal class, known to assault and humiliate them and to tear up their residence permits with the complicity of superiors in the administration; foreigners were suspected of 90% of crime. Thousands of illegal immigrants, or those considered a criminal risk after serving prison sentences, are deported every year to countries with dubious human rights records, and no one ever asks what becomes of them. One public example of French police racism was the Paris police handling, in 1961, of a march of 150,000 Algerians in support of the peace process that ended the Algerian war in the following year. Dozens of bodies were reportedly thrown into the Seine. The death toll was probably at least 200, compared to the official figure of two. Arrested Algerians claim they saw at least 50 of their friends murdered outside the Paris police station. No pictures of violence were ever shown on French television.

Often claimed to be western Europe's model army, the German military has been accused of numerous acts of neo-Nazi violence in the early 1990's. According to a 1992 report, 3 German soldiers said to be rightwing extremists were suspected of being involved in separate cases of manslaughter. 21 other German soldiers had taken part in racist brawls that year. On March 19, 1992, a homeless man mistaken for a Gypsy was thrown into a harbour and drowned after refusing to give the Hitler salute to a German soldier in Flensburg, Germany.

Claim:
Military life tends to appeal to people with strong prejudices, especially concerning colour and race. Racism is widely reported amongst military units. The issue has been avoided by limiting recruitment of certain races to particular units. Within mixed race units, information on the extent of racism is limited because of the consequences to the affected individuals of reporting on it. For this reason officers have little knowledge of the extent of day-to-day discriminatory practices although there may be awareness of discrimination in promotion.
Problem Type:
D: Detailed problems
Date of last update
02.12.1999 – 00:00 CET