French hospital dismisses Egyptian trainee doctor from program for beard
- The administrative court of appeals ruled in favor of the hospital after the surgery trainee sued as the result of termination by hospital managers at a Saint-Denis hospital for failing to trim his beard.
- The trainee’s lawyer argued that the termination was discriminatory as a similarly long beard worn by someone who wasn’t Egyptian and named “Mohamed” would likely not have been asked to prove it was not of religious orientation.
- French law dictates that religious expression is forbidden in state institutions like public hospitals, including personal symbolic displays that could be construed as religiously motivated.
“Un médecin renvoyé pour une barbe trop longue, la justice donne raison à l’hôpital” (Agence France-Presse, via Libération | December 2017 – in French)
“‘C’est une décision complètement discriminatoire’ : un médecin stagiaire renvoyé à cause d’une barbe trop longue” (franceinfo | December 2017 – in French)
“French hospital rejects trainee doctor due to ‘religious’ beard” (The Telegraph | January 2018)
Discussions of systemic racism in France provoke backlash
- Recent rows in French government and civil society have pitted anti-racism activists against government officials over discussions of the state and other political institutions’ role in propagating racial inequality.
- Journalist Rokhaya Diallo was removed from France’s national digital council only a week after her appointment following a campaign by right-wing activists and officials that targeted her for, among other things, her discussions of “institutional racism.”
- The same use of the term by the teachers union SUD-Education 93 led Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer to indicate he will pursue complaints against the organization as well as for having hosted workshops reserved for people of color.
“French race row erupts as feminist forced off advisory body” (The Guardian | December 2017)
“Blanquer porte plainte contre un syndicat qui a utilisé l’expression «racisme d’Etat»” (Le Monde | November 2017, in French)
“Les ateliers « en non-mixité raciale » du syndicat SUD-Education 93 créent une polémique” (Le Monde | November 2017, in French)
“When will France admit that police racism is systemic?” (The Guardian | March 2017)
Paris mayor backtracks after threatening to ban Afro-feminist festival
- Mayor Anne Hidalgo originally threatened to prohibit the Nyansapo Festival, alert police, and sue for discrimination, repeating far-right accusations that the event was “prohibited to white people” despite no such language appearing in the organizers’ materials.
- Festival organizers, part of the Mwasi Collective, planned to reserve certain events for black women, others for black people of all genders, others for women of color in general, and others still for the general populace in an attempt to provide open discussion spaces free of judgment for minority participants.
- The mayor eventually backtracked, although she and right-wing activists claimed victory for having “established a solution” as a rest of Hidalgo’s “firm intervention.”
“Paris mayor vows to halt black feminist festival, then backtracks” (France 24 | May 2017)
“Aux origines de la polémique sur le festival afroféministe Nyansapo” (Libération, in French | May 2017)
“Comme au Nyansapo Fest, pourquoi certaines associations prônent la non-mixité” (Huffington Post, in French | May 2017)
(Image Credit: via Libération)
Calais mayor bans gatherings at site of closed refugee camp
- The ban will prohibit charity organizations from distributing food, clothing, and other survival resources to migrants and refugees attempting to travel to the United Kingdom from France.
- Police have reportedly begun using teargas to break up attempts at food distribution at the site of the former camp, which was dismantled in October 2016.
- Mayor Natacha Bouchart accused such gatherings of ratcheting ethnic tensions among migrants and endangering public safety.
“Calais mayor bans distribution of food to migrants” (The Guardian | March 2017)
“Charities slam Calais ban that could halt food aid for migrants” (Reuters | March 2017)
“Outcry after Calais mayor bans food handouts to migrants” (AFP via France24 | March 2017)
(Image Credit: Matt Dunham/AP, via The Guardian)
Protests erupt in Paris suburb following violent arrest and sodomization of black man
- A police officer was charged with using his baton to sodomize Théo L., a 22-year-old black man, while arresting him in the northern suburb of Aulnay-sous-Bois.
- Police accused the man, who had no previous criminal record, of resisting during a check of his identity papers, but the brutal force used led to the suspension of all four officers involved.
- Protests took place across the ethnically diverse northern suburbs, including marches, clashes with police, and arrests as protesters called for justice.
“French police brutality in spotlight again after officer charged with rape” (The Guardian | February 2017)
“A French Police Officer Allegedly Raped A Man With A Baton During A Check Of His Papers” (BuzzFeed News | February 2017)
“Protesters target police in Paris suburb unrest” (Reuters | February 2017)
“A Bobigny, un rassemblement contre les violences policières tourne mal” (Le Monde | February 2017)
“A Aulnay-sous-Bois, la tension est redescendue d’un cran” (Radio France Internationale | February 2017)
(Image Credit: AFP/Getty Images, via BuzzFeed News)
Shelterless migrants arrive on streets of Paris, leading to denunciation by French president
- More than 6,000 migrants and refugees seeking to enter the U.K. from France have been funneled into shelters and streets around France following the forced evacuation of the “Jungle” camp in Calais.
- Paris security officials estimate an increase in the number of unsheltered asylum-seekers from around 1,500 to 2,000-2,500 in just a few days.
- Hundreds of tents and cardboard flooring mark attempts by migrants to shelter themselves from the cold as Paris’s shelter supply—fewer than 1,000 beds—has been far outstripped by demand in the French capital.
“More migrants pitch tents on Paris streets as Calais camp shuts” (Reuters)
“Migrants: à Paris, le campement de Stalingrad s’agrandit” (Radio France Internationale, in French)
“French President Vows to Clear Paris Streets of Migrant Camp” (The New York Times)
France and U.K. resettle asylum-seekers in preparation for dismantlement of Calais camp
- The government—with the help of more than 10,000 refugee aid agencies—has begun moving an estimated 5,000 to 10,000 asylum-seekers out of the Calais camp (known as the “Jungle”) and into “reception centers” throughout the country.
- The UK has committed to accepting unaccompanied children across the border, although local agencies have expressed concern about a lack of planning to facilitate the transfer process.
- The asylum-seekers are expected to spend an average of two months in the centers under the supervision of social workers before being again relocated while their asylum applications are processed, though some report having languished in limbo for longer.
“Migrants begin new life outside France’s ‘Jungle’ camp” (Reuters)
“Calais migrant camp will be razed soon: French minister” (AFP via The Local)
“Children in Calais Jungle to arrive in UK ‘in days’” (BBC)
(Image Credit: Regis Duvignau/Reuters)