ENAR Demands Justice and Reform Following Tragic Murder of Nahel by French Police
Brussels, Belgium – 29 June 2023
The European Network Against Racism (ENAR) strongly condemns the racist police brutality that led to the tragic and senseless murder of 17-year-old Nahel at the hands of French police. French President Macron rightly described this incident as “inexplicable and unforgivable.” Once again, we witness violent policing resulting in the death of a young teenager of North African descent, raising urgent questions about the excessive use of force by law enforcement agencies, particularly towards racialised groups in Europe and, in this case, in France.
The circulation of the video depicting this incident on social media, authenticated by the French news agency AFP, demonstrates the impunity involved. Tragically, a majority of lethal police shootings during traffic stops often involve black or Arab individuals. This incident underscores the failure of so-called comprehensive reforms within law enforcement agencies to address systemic issues. Instead, it necessitates a redefinition of policing that prioritises the well-being of our communities.
“ENAR stands in solidarity with Nahel’s family and loved ones, extending our deepest condolences for their devastating loss. We also express our solidarity with all individuals and communities affected by police violence. It is crucial for us to come together as a society to address these systemic issues and strive for a future where every person, especially racialised, feels safe and protected by the authorities meant to serve them,” shared Emmanuel Achiri, ENAR Policy and Advocacy Advisor on Policing.
In a context where police brutality incidents have dramatically risen in France, a thorough and impartial investigation into this incident is essential to ensure that those responsible are held accountable for their actions. A just and equitable society requires trust between the community and the police. To guarantee transparency and accountability, an independent body must be established to investigate the racist killing of Nahel by the French police, with the inclusion of representatives from racialised groups at all levels.
“We applaud the decision from French officials to take legal action against the police syndicate group, France Police, which released a tweet justifying the racist murder of Nahel and celebrating the actions of the police officer,” stated Ojeaku Nwabuzo, ENAR Director of Policy, Advocacy, and Network Development. “We will closely monitor developments and expect rigorous actions not only to penalise the members of this group but also to ensure that individuals harboring such beliefs are removed from law enforcement altogether.”
ENAR calls on the French government to take immediate action to address the concerns raised by civil society organisations and human rights groups regarding impunity and racialised policing in France. While every loss of life is a tragedy, the untimely end of a young person’s future due to racist police violence demands immediate justice and reform.
For more information or to arrange an interview, contact:
Nabil Sanaullah, ENAR Communications and Press Manager
Notes to editors:
- The European Network Against Racism (ENAR aisbl) stands against racism and discrimination and advocates equality and solidarity for all in Europe. We connect local and national anti-racist NGOs throughout Europe and voice the concerns of ethnic and religious minorities in European and national policy debates.
- ENAR published a 2021 report on police brutality which documents cases of police impunity across europe, “Sharp edge of violence: police brutality and community resistance of racialized groups”, available here.