‘Monkey’ slur on MP slammed
GENEVA: The UN’s human rights body yesterday condemned a barrage of racist slurs against France’s black justice minister, including a magazine cover comparing her to a monkey.
“We condemn the racist attacks that have been taking place against French minister of justice Christiane Taubira over the past few weeks,” said Rupert Colville, spokesman for the UN high commissioner for human rights.
“This utterly unacceptable abuse of a prominent politician on the basis of her colour is a stark manifestation of the rising racism, xenophobia and intolerance aimed at members of ethnic and religious minori- ties, as well as migrants, in many European countries,” he told reporters.
This week’s edition of French far- right magazine Minute published a cover showing Taubira with the headline “Crafty as a monkey, Taubira gets her banana back”.
Colville rejected Minute’s assertion that it was simply using two common French expressions, the second referring to someone so happy their smile is as big as a banana.
“The underlying racist intent of this play on words could not be more clear,” he said.
Taubira is a hate figure for some on the right in French politics as she was the minister responsible for the legalisation of gay marriage earlier this year, and the slurs from her adversaries have mounted over recent weeks.
Last month, a local election candidate from the far-right Front National said in a TV documentary she would rather see Taubira “swinging from the branches rather than in government”.
Demonstrators, including children, protesting against gay marriage brandished banana skins at Taubira and shouted “Monkey, eat your banana”.
Critics say the French political mainstream was tardy in not leaping to Taubira’s defence until an outcry over the Minute cover. – Sapa-AFP