PARIS (AA) – French security services saw a surge in the number of racist, xenophobic, and anti-religious offenses, the Interior Ministry has admitted.
The analysis of the racist offenses was prepared by the ministry’s statistical service for internal security and released ahead of March 21, International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
The ministry said racist crimes mainly carried out by hurling abuse, insults, provocations, and public defamation at victims belonging to African countries or those from minority backgrounds were “little reported” to security forces.
Racism is largely under-reported in France and according to the national human rights commission, it is often manifested through forms of subtle rejection, which the victims find it difficult to characterize and denounce.
Despite the pervasiveness of such crimes and the reluctance of the victims – who were identified to be mostly male African nationals – to report crimes, the study said nearly 12,500 racist crimes were registered by the police and the gendarmerie. Of these, 6,300 offenses were found to be in the high- or medium-level crime category.
The total number of incidents jumped 16% compared to 2020.
The rise in racist crimes was observed in the context of the extension of the pandemic and long periods of lockdown last year, the report said.