This year’s annual report on racism, xenophobia and anti-Semitism released by the National Consultative Commission on Human Rights (CNCDH) on the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination reveals a notably rise in racist violence in France. After a two year low, 2012 showed a 23% increase in racial violence in the country. 1530 acts of racist, xenophobic and anti-Semitic violence were recorded last year alone, five times more than 20 years ago.
The rise in racist attacks and threats in France can be traced and specified to the rise of anti-Semitic (55%) and Islamophobic attacks (30%). Most of these attacks and threats have taken place in France’s urban and industrial regions such as the Île-de-France, Nord-Pas-de-Calais and Alsace. The CNCDH reasons the geographic distribution of such attacks in the rise of unemployment in traditional industrial regions as well as the social restructuring in the areas. 40% of the victims are of North African origin.
The CNCDH’s head, Christine Lazerges, explains that both, the rise in anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, have very different reasons: whereas the rise of anti-Semitism is connected to the Merah affair, the case of Islamophobia is severely different. According to Lazerges, a larger structural problem can be indicated by the numbers which have been consecutively rising since the last three years. In numbers they might be low but they only show the tip of the iceberg, says Lazerges.