As an organisation dedicated to promoting peace, justice, and women’s rights, the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) supports the statement Mort de Nahel : Colère et effroi (Death of Nahel: Anger and Dread), see translation below, and strongly condemns police brutality in all its forms.
The recent tragic incidents, such as the death of Nahel and Mohamed B, underscore the urgent need to confront the inherent racism within the police force and to dismantle these structures of state violence. These are not isolated events but are part of a larger pattern of violence and discrimination disproportionately affecting Arab and Black communities in France. The list of victims mentioned in the statement highlights the alarming frequency of such cases.
The issue at hand goes beyond individual cases; racialised police violence is a deeply rooted and systemic problem that requires comprehensive action. WILPF recognises the importance of addressing the structural nature of racism within the police and supports the demands outlined in this statement. This includes:
- Abrogation of Article 435-1;
- Dismantlement of the General Inspectorate of the National Police (IGPN);
- An end to the systematic use of pretrial detention and immediate appearances;
- Full respect for the right to protest.
WILPF urges the French government to listen to the calls for justice, accountability, and the protection of fundamental rights. The transformative demands within this statement will help advance feminist peace by dismantling structures of state violence that lead to systemic oppression and inequality. In solidarity with the collective and all those striving for justice, WILPF is steadfast in its commitment to creating a society where peace, equality, and human rights are upheld for all.
Read below the translated rendition of the statement Mort de Nahel : Colère et effroi for wider understanding and dissemination:
“The images of Nahel’s death, a 17-year-old Franco-Algerian, shot in the heart by a police officer on June 27th, have circulated around the world. On July 6th, Mohamed B was killed by a rubber bullet fired from a defense launcher in Marseille. These two names add to an already too long list of victims of police violence in France in recent years: Alhoussein, Rayana, Adama, Good, Mozomba, Zineb, Aziz, Adam, Jean-Paul, Fadjigi, Amine, Nathalie, Zyed, and many others. The evidence is clear: in France, Arabs and Blacks are dying at the hands of the police.
The novelty is that now you can be rewarded for it. The online fundraising campaign created by Jean Messiha, a figure of the far right, in support of the police officer who shot Nahel, sets a terrible precedent: it is nothing short of promoting a racist murder. The very existence of this campaign, and the staggering sum of 1.6 million euros it has quickly reached, is a symbolic victory for the far right, materialising their ideology through an unprecedented financial mobilisation. This should alert and mobilise all citizens committed to the rule of law. In this toxic atmosphere, millions of us are mourning, angry, and worried about the government’s lack of political response to this terrifying anti-democratic signal. Let us mobilise massively by calling on decision-makers to prohibit the transfer of funds from this campaign.
More broadly, we want to draw attention to the government’s handling of this crisis.
Banning protests, threatening to shut down social media, imposing prison sentences for stealing a can of soda. Blaming video games, the internet, parents, while ignoring the political and structural nature of Nahel’s death and the anger it has sparked. All of this is unworthy of the challenges we face. We demand that the government stop criminalising popular anger and suppressing the legitimate demands of civil society. The current situation calls for government responsibility and immediate responses. Because the problem of racism in our country is much broader, and this crisis is just a symptom of it.
France must come out of denial and heed the warnings of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the Council of Europe.
Therefore, echoing these observations:
- We demand that the government acknowledge the structural nature of racism within the police.
- We demand the repeal of Article 435-1, which grants a license to kill to the police.
- We demand the creation of an independent body to replace the General Inspectorate of the National Police (IGPN) (as already stated by Amal Bentounsi and in the appeal of collectives, associations, trade unions, and political organisations titled “Notre pays est en deuil et en colère”).
- We demand an immediate end to the systematic use of pretrial detention and immediate appearances, which we have seen in recent days almost always result in custodial sentences. Every arrested and apprehended person must have the right to a fair trial and the support of civil society. The judicial repression they are subjected to is unworthy of a state based on the rule of law and only further breaks the trust between institutions and citizens.
- Finally, we demand authorisation for the planned demonstration on July 15th. Protesting is one of our fundamental rights, and popular anger cannot be systematically stifled.
As citizens, activists, and actors of civil society, it is urgent to send a strong message of unity and determination to defend democratic values and respect for fundamental rights for all. Justice for all victims of police violence!
See you on Saturday, July 15th, in the streets!
Co-authored by the team mobilised against the “Cagnotte de la honte” (Fund of Shame)*.
GET INVOLVED: https://cagnottedelahonte.carrd.co
Note: This article was written and signed before the events that took place in Place de la République in Paris on Saturday, July 8th. The writing team shares the deep consternation and concern of the Adama Committee and offers its full support to Youssouf Traoré, who was subjected to a violent – and filmed – arrest by BRAV-M police officers.”
*It is important to highlight that one of WILPF’s dedicated staff members actively contributes to the collective that drafted this statement. This personal connection further strengthens WILPF’s resolve to support the fight against racial injustice and police brutality.