‘Mon­key’ slur on MP slammed

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - WORLD -

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

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