Ho­mo­pho­bic crimes on the rise in France

Kuwait Times - - Local -

PARIS: Ho­mo­pho­bic at­tacks and in­sults in France rose by 36 per­cent last year, ac­cord­ing to fig­ures re­leased by the In­te­rior Min­istry on Satur­day, prompt­ing the gov­ern­ment to talk of an “an­chor­ing” of ho­mo­pho­bia in the coun­try. The leap comes af­ter 2018 was de­scribed as a “black” year by as­so­ci­a­tions with an un­equalled level of phys­i­cal vi­o­lence against LGBT peo­ple.

The new fig­ures, which show a steady in­crease in of­fences, come on the eve of the In­ter­na­tional Day Against Ho­mo­pho­bia, Trans­pho­bia and Bi­pho­bia, and 30 years af­ter the with­drawal of ho­mo­sex­u­al­ity from the list of men­tal ill­nesses by the World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion (WHO). Last year, the po­lice “iden­ti­fied 1,870 vic­tims of ho­mo­pho­bic or trans­pho­bic of­fences com­pared to 1,380 in 2018”, rep­re­sent­ing a “36 per­cent in­crease in the num­ber of vic­tims of anti-LGBT acts”, the min­istry said in a state­ment.

“Th­ese fig­ures tes­tify to the deep an­chor­ing of ho­mo­pho­bia and trans­pho­bia in so­ci­ety,” said the min­istry, adding that they form part of a broader in­crease in “hate acts and iden­tity ex­trem­ism”. In­sults con­sti­tute 33 per­cent of the of­fences, while vi­o­lence (phys­i­cal and sex­ual) make up 28 per­cent of the com­plaints. The vic­tims are mainly men - 75 per­cent - with 62 per­cent per­pe­trated against those un­der 35 years of age. LGBT as­so­ci­a­tions claim that the fig­ures do not tell the whole story as many vic­tims do not re­port crimes to the po­lice. The SOS Ho­mo­pho­bia as­so­ci­a­tion is due to pub­lish its own fig­ures on Mon­day.

The re­port shows that the in­ci­dents of ho­mo­pho­nia are spread across the coun­try with 36 per­cent of the com­plaints com­ing in the big ci­ties. “This shows us that there is ho­mo­pho­bia through­out the ter­ri­tory, in­clud­ing in ru­ral ar­eas,” Fred­eric Potier, the in­ter­min­is­te­rial del­e­gate for the fight against racism, anti-Semitism and an­tiLGBT ha­tred (Dil­crah) told AFP. The world of sport comes un­der the mi­cro­scope af­ter sev­eral top foot­ball matches were in­ter­rupted be­cause of ho­mo­pho­bic chants from the stands or the dis­play of abu­sive ban­ners.

The In­te­rior Min­istry, which called on Satur­day for “in­creased vig­i­lance by the pub­lic au­thor­i­ties” and more ef­fort from so­ci­ety as a whole, recorded around 30 com­plaints con­cern­ing in­sults or threats made on the in­ter­net. French law­mak­ers on Wed­nes­day ap­proved a con­tro­ver­sial bill to ban hate speech on so­cial media, a mea­sure dis­missed as cen­sor­ship by de­trac­tors. The law obliges plat­forms and search en­gines to re­move of­fen­sive con­tent - in­cite­ment to hate or vi­o­lence and racist or reli­gious big­otry - within 24 hours or risk a fine of up to 1.25 mil­lion eu­ros ($1.35 mil­lion).—AFP

MU­NICH: Po­lice of­fi­cers with horses stand near an unau­tho­rized protest near the of­fi­cial demon­stra­tion against the re­stric­tions im­ple­mented to limit the spread of the novel coron­avirus Covid-19 in Mu­nich. —AFP

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