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Human Rights Group Denounces Racism in French Police Force

June 3, 1992

PARIS (AP) _ A human rights group charged Tuesday that a ″racist culture″ has bred inside France’s police force, and recommended the abolition of such practices as identity checks and detention without charge.

France lags behind other nations in following the European Convention on human rights, said the report by the International Federation of Human Rights. The French political establishment has permitted endemic racism to develop among police, it said.

Discretionary ID checks and 24-hour detention without charges, permitted by law in France, should be abolished, said the report by Canadian criminologist Jean-Claude Berhneim and Giovanna Borgese, an Italian human rights activist.

The government had no immediately comment on the report.

Jean-Marc Dubarry-Barde, the leader of a police union, said directives that had increased identification checks to detect illegal aliens were responsible for the racist image of police in France.

″Ask yourself the question, how do you recognize a foreigner in the street?″ he said at a news conference.

The rights group’s report was based on a study conducted in July and October 1991 that included interviews with immigrants, lawyers and police of all ranks, the report said.

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