Denouncing France’s “inaction” in the fight against facial checks, five French and international associations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) took action on Thursday, April 11, before the UN to have the “systemic nature” of these discrimination.

While the Council of State recognized last fall the existence of facial checks by law enforcement, “the State has taken no measures to deal with the problem,” denounce Amnesty International France , Human Rights Watch (HRW), the Community House for Solidarity Development (MCDS), Pazapas and the Equality, Antidiscrimination, Interdisciplinary Justice Network (Reaji) in a press release published Thursday.

These associations have filed a request with the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD). They demand that these experts recognize “the systemic nature of the problem of ethnic profiling in France and explain the specific measures that the French government should take to put an end to racial profiling”.

Several previous convictions

Contacted by several organizations, including Amnesty International France and HRW, the Council of State had already recognized in October that this type of controls “existed” and was not limited “to isolated cases”, without however qualifying this practice as “systemic.”

While the NGOs expected the highest French administrative court to force the authorities to take a salvo of measures, ranging from the issuance of a receipt after each control to the modification of the Code of Criminal Procedure, it had avoided the problem . The Council of State considered itself incompetent to force the State to fundamentally reform its “public policy” in this area.

“By failing to take the necessary measures to put an end to this practice, the State is failing in its obligations, including under several international treaties, including the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination” which the France signed in 1971, NGOs estimate. The French state has been condemned several times in recent years regarding facial checks, after a first conviction for gross negligence, handed down in 2016 by the Court of Cassation.