Saturday, 22 February 2020

France to Allow Class Actions against Racism

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  • TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Victims of racism and anti-Semitism in France will be able to join forces in class action lawsuits under new plans by the government to fight discrimination.

    "Racism, anti-Semitism, hatred against Muslims and foreigners, homophobia, are unbearably on the rise in our country," Prime Minister Manuel Valls said when announcing the plan, which also includes campaigns to raise awareness and an increased surveillance of the Internet.

    Class actions, under which a lawsuit is filed on behalf of a large group of people, are a novelty in France. They have been open to consumers since last year but were so far not an option for victims of discrimination.

    France has the largest Jewish and Muslim populations in Europe and both communities have pointed at an increase in attacks.

    The government did not say when the class actions would enter into force or provide any further details of how the lawsuits would work.

    Valls announced the 100 million euro ($107 million) anti-discrimination plan just three months after Islamist gunmen killed 17 people including cartoonists and customers of a Jewish foodstore in three days of attacks in Paris.

    Hundreds of thousands of people marched through the streets of France, amid calls for more action to reject anti-Semitism and racism.

    France's main Jewish organisation says anti-Semitic acts have doubled from 2013 to 2014, while the main Muslim organisation noted a strong increase in anti-Muslim acts in the days that followed January's attacks.

    The far-right National Front, whose founder Jean-Marie Le Pen has been condemned several times for inciting racial hatred, has become one of France's most popular parties.

    REUTERS