French Elections 2022

EDITORIAL

Dear Readers,

Welcome to the Black & Asian News, European Edition!

More than 11 million people are believed to have fled their homes in Ukraine since the conflict began, according to the BBC. You will also find below several articles on the differential treatment of refugees from other countries in Europe. As The New Arab puts it, Ukraine exposes US and Europe’s blatant preference for white refugees.

In case you didn’t have much time to read about the French election, I have also included a small collection of articles to explore in more detail. As many commentators have observed, Sunday’s result reflected a mainstreaming of racist and Islamophobic ideas in France. As reported by the Guardian, the Far-right candidate finished far ahead of Emmanuel Macron in Guadeloupe, Martinique and Réunion, even though the far-left candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon had finished a comfortable first in most of the overseas territories in the first round.

 

Happy Reading!

 

Thushari Perera

 

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GENERAL EUROPEAN NEWS

EU welcome for Ukraine refugees — a new gold standard?, EU Observer, 20 April 2022

“The EU member states that so quickly set up reception centres to welcome Ukrainians are the same countries that refused to welcome Afghanis, Iraqis, and others who are left stranded at EU member states’ borders with Belarus in 2021. Far from being welcomed with food, clothes and medicines, many were pushed back violently and left to wander without any help in snowy forests in winter temperatures… Those who help migrants from Africa and Asia are called criminals, are prosecuted in court, and are sometimes fined or sent to prison for it. This is what a Polish family hosting people from the Middle East, Asia or Africa could face today, while other Polish citizens who are hosting Ukrainians are hailed as heroes.”

How east Europe’s social services cope with Ukraine refugees, EU Observer, 4 April 2022

“The number of separated child refugees without any family support also continues to rise in an increasingly serious child protection crisis. In the absence of any family support, there are significant concerns for children’s safety, as they are at a heightened risk of threats including violence and human trafficking. Over 1.5 million children are among those who have fled across other countries. As the Ukrainian government banned the departure of men aged 18-60, most children are travelling with their mothers.”

Africans face Europe’s unfair two-track refugee policy, Myjoyonline, 4 April 2022

“I’d heard that Ghana’s ranking member of parliament for the foreign affairs committee, Sam Okudzeto-Ablakwa, had gone to Romania to meet with more than 200 displaced Ghanaian students. I called him to see if he could offer greater insight. He told me that whereas Ukrainians were provided complimentary shuttles and taken as close to the border as possible, African students and residents had to pay to board the buses and were dropped off far away from the border.”

Non-white refugees fleeing Ukraine detained in EU immigration facilities, The Independent, 23 March 2022

“African students fleeing Vladimir Putin’s invasion disappearing into detention centres…In a letter to a member of the EU Parliament, Poland’s border police admitted that 52 third country nationals who had fled from Ukraine had been taken to closed detention centres in the first three weeks of the war… Jeff Crisp, a former head of policy, development and evaluation at UNHCR, said it was “clearly unsatisfactory and discriminatory” for third country nationals who have fled from Ukraine to be held in detention centres in EU states…”

Orbán, Le Pen… voters are sending a chilling message to Europe’s beleaguered centre, The Guardian, 10 April 202

“Today’s Brexit Conservatives will hate the comparison, but there are inconvenient parallels between their domestic agenda and Hungary’s newly elected, self-confessed apostle of democratic illiberalism, Viktor Orbán, French uber-nationalist and anti-immigrant Marine Le Pen and Poland’s murky Law and Justice party.”

EU BODIES

EU, India agree to deepen trade and tech ties amid Ukraine conflict, Deutsche Welle, 25 April 2022

“The EU is India’s third-largest trading partner, but past attempts to secure a free trade deal have stalled. Von der Leyen’s visit also follows a visit by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who also met with Modi. The two announced plans to increase defense and business cooperation — a key goal of the UK following its exit from the EU.”

BELGIUM

Undocumented migrants occupy social housing building in Brussels, The Brussels Times, 18 April 2022

“Around 70 undocumented migrants started to occupy a social housing complex in Brussels on Sunday, according to Belga News Agency.”

DENMARK

Denmark in talks with Rwanda on transfer of asylum-seekers, Reuters, 20 April 2022

“A deal with Rwanda would make Denmark the first European Union member to effectively bypass the bloc’s fragmented migration and asylum system.”

Denmark to build ‘Ukraine towns’ to house refugees, says immigration minister, Euronews, 8 April 2022

“Denmark has traditionally had a restrictive migration policy and Tesfaye has previously stated his desire of having net zero asylum seekers coming into the country. Earlier this week Denmark’s government said that it was interested in a “fast-track” scheme that would speed up the pathway for Ukrainian refugees to join the local labour market. Nearly 19,000 Ukrainians have applied for a Danish residence permit since the conflict in Ukraine began, with more than 2,600 having been granted.”

FINLAND

EU antisemitism envoy calls on Finland to combat antisemitism, Israel National News, 25 April 2022

“Von Schnurbein, on a recent trip to Finland, spoke to the Jewish community about their worries that reforms to animal welfare laws could make kosher slaughter illegal… “It would be interesting to see what equality means in terms of this aspect… Growing antisemitism threatens other freedoms — other groups face discrimination and hate increases.””

FRANCE

French election: why did Le Pen do so well in overseas territories?, The Guardian, 25 April 2022

“Analysis: Far-right candidate finished far ahead of Emmanuel Macron in Guadeloupe, Martinique and Réunion”

 

French election 2022: The high stakes for Macron’s second term, Le Monde, 24 April 2022

“His re-election is a triumph of firsts, but Macron has a lot of work ahead of him in uniting a country riven by political divisions.”

The left in France must vote against Le Pen – but Macron isn’t making it easy, The Guardian, 23 April 2022

“Wednesday’s TV debate was a chance for the president to attack his far-right opponent’s policies. Instead, he normalised them.”

How the Far Right Already Won in France, Time, 23 April 2022

“Le Pen’s party has made gradual and consistent political gains over the last two decades at almost every level of the French political system—it now holds local and regional seats across France, since 2014 it has seats in the Senate and a majority of the French seats in the European parliament. The military and the police now show strong support for the far-right, at around 40% and 70% respectively.”

Le Pen is bad, but many French Muslims like me don’t want to vote for Macron either, The Guardian, 22 April 2022

“There are between 5 and 6 million Muslims in France, and they overwhelmingly voted for the far-left Jean-Luc Mélenchon (69%) in the first round…”

Tensions over race, religion in France’s presidential race, The Independent, 21 April 2022

“France’s presidential campaign has been difficult for voters of immigrant heritage and religious minorities…Yet race or colonial studies research departments don’t exist in French universities, because they are seen as contrary to French universalism. Critics say this doctrine allows authorities to turn a blind eye to deep-seated discrimination, both on the French mainland and in overseas French territories where most voters aren’t white.”

 

EU fraud agency accuses Marine Le Pen of misusing public funds, France 24, 19 April 2022

“Paris prosecutors are studying a report by the European Union’s fraud agency accusing French far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen and other members of her nationalist party of misusing public funds while serving in the European Parliament.”

‘We’ve talked about leaving’ – foreigners in France fear for their futures if Le Pen is elected, Local.fr, 13 April 2022

“In general their worries covered three areas; practical issues such as being unable to renew residency permits or access healthcare, a culture of increased discrimination or hatred towards non-French people under a Le Pen presidency and worries about Le Pen’s actions on the international stage such as taking France out of the EU and NATO.”

 

Le Pen vs Macron: World Views at Odds, France 24, April 2022

“Beyond their domestic differences, Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron’s visions of the world and France’s place in it diverge sharply, too – be it on Europe, NATO or the war in Ukraine. FRANCE 24 takes a closer look at the 2022 French presidential finalists’ foreign policy stances before the deciding vote on April 24.”

 

Anti-racist protests sweep France – but debate on voting rages, Socialist Worker, 17 April 2022

“The protests’ organisers said nearly 40,000 took part in Paris and 150,000 people throughout the country. According to the government’s ministry of the interior, 13,600 people marched across the whole of France with 9,200 in Paris. At the end of the Paris march, police fired tear gas, tore down banners and arrested numerous demonstrators. Those protesting against the far right were targeted by the special police units set up by Macron—who claims to be a barrier to the far right.”

France’s election seen from the US: Geopolitics, inflation loom large, France24, 11 April 2022

“Could France be facing its Trump moment? For US commentators, France’s presidential runoff between Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen has raised the prospect of a fresh shakeup in transatlantic alliances, which could test Western unity against Putin’s Russia as war rages in Ukraine.”

The French election is all about imperialism. Here’s why, Open Democracy, 8 April 2022

“With oligarchs using their media outlets to promote far-Right presidential candidates, France is being haunted by its own ghosts.”

The rise and rise of France’s far-right Marine Le Pen, The Guardian, 4 April 2022

National Rally leader is closing gap on Emmanuel Macron in polls for this month’s presidential election…Le Pen’s hardline manifesto policies have not changed, and overlap with Zemmour’s. She has promised a referendum on immigration and a rewrite of the constitution to ensure “France for the French” — where native French people would be prioritised over non-French people for welfare benefits, housing, jobs and healthcare. The Muslim headscarf, which she calls “a uniform of totalitarian ideology”, would be banned from the streets and all public places…a retired school psychologist from the French Riviera said: “My sister is a doctor, my brother-in-law an architect, we’re not the type of family that used to vote Le Pen, but these days it’s easier to be open about it.”

The Observer view on the French election and rightwing populism, The Guardian, 3 April 2022

“Emmanuel Macron is expected to win but voter support for Marine Le Pen shows the threat of the far right must be tackled… Marine Le Pen has dropped plans to restore the death penalty and leave the euro, making her candidacy more acceptable to centre-right voters.”

Anti-Islam rhetoric in French election risks ‘spiral of hatred’, says Paris mosque rector, The Guardian, 27 March 2022

Hafiz published a book this month, With All Due Respect, We’re Children of the Republic, to counter what he called heightened anti-Muslim rhetoric sweeping across the French right during the election campaign.”

Islamophobia on the rise as French presidential election nears, Al Jazeera, 3 April 2022

“According to Julien Talpin, a researcher in political science at the National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), President Emmanuel Macron’s first term has been “gloomy” for French Muslims – with the adoption of the separatism law in the summer of 2021 particularly significant. While the government claims its legislation is intended to strengthen France’s secular system, critics say it unfairly singles out the Muslim community and restricts religious freedom.”

Private paradise: The French Polynesian island locking locals out of beaches, The Guardian, 22 April 2022

“A huge tourist boom on Mo’orea Island has seen privatisation of coastline, with just three public beaches left.”

GERMANY

Anti-Muslim racism in German media organisations, explained, TRT World, 22 April 2022

“The German state broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW) is facing allegations of harbouring racism and anti-Muslim sentiment over what is described as unjust behaviour towards its Muslim staff, especially those with strong views on Israeli human rights violations against Palestinians.”

Germany: Over 1 in 4 people have ‘migrant background’, Deutsche Welle, 12 April 2022

“Most of the people with migrant background trace their origin to Europe and Asia. Around 7.5 million have links to other EU nations, 3.5 million to the Middle East and 1.1 million to Africa. When looking to individual countries, Turkey remains the largest point of origin with 12% of the group, followed by Poland with 10% and Russia with 6%.”

GREECE

Using migrants to do Greece’s dirty work, EU Observer, 6 April 2022

“I recently interviewed 26 Afghans, both victims and witnesses, who described how Greek police variously assaulted, robbed, and stripped them and others of their clothes; then took them to the banks of the Evros River in late 2021 and early 2022 where they handed them over to men wearing black or commando-like uniforms and balaclavas…Our findings are in line with reports of other organisations that work in coordination with the Border Violence Monitoring Network. One such report in September 2021 characterised the use of third country nationals in violent expulsions as a “trend…observed sporadically in reports since 2020.” That trend appears to be growing. It needs to stop, along with the underlying illegal practices of Greek security forces on the Turkish border.”

IRELAND

Irish companies talk about ‘diversity, inclusion. But there’s only one black person on staff’, Irish Times, 6 April 2022

“Munatsi continued searching for other jobs and in the spring of 2021 she was offered the role of policy lead with the Irish Network Against Racism (Inar). A year on, Munatsi continues to work on racial issues and discrimination in Ireland and is contributing to the State’s national action plan on racism. She believes two types of racism exist in Ireland – the overt racism that a Traveller woman may face when entering a shop “because people think she’s going to steal something” and the institutional racism which blocks people of colour from progressing professionally.”

ITALY

Combatting antisemitic and racist hate speech in Italy, Council of Europe, 6 April 2022

“Italy is dedicated to fighting antisemitic and other kinds of hate speech. Current Italian research shows the increasing and complex nature of hate speech online. This was highlighted at an international seminar on combating hate speech on 28 March, organised by Italy’s antidiscrimination body UNAR and Italian antisemitism representative, Milena Santerini at the Catholic University of Milan.”

MALTA

EU threatens Malta with legal action over ‘golden passports’, France 24, 6 April 2022

“Wealthy Russians and Chinese in particular have used the scheme to get EU citizenship through Malta, as well as from Cyprus or Bulgaria, which have had similar programs. Cyprus halted its “golden passport” offer last October. Malta excluded Russians and Belarusians from its scheme as Europe cracked down on Russian oligarchs and politically linked individuals over the war in Ukraine, last month.”

 

NETHERLANDS

Geert Wilders: Twitter suspends Dutch far-right leader for anti-Islam hate speech, Euronews, 25 April 2022

“The far-right party leader — who lives under surveillance — says he has frequently received threats since he called for a ban on Islam in the Netherlands and the closure of mosques… The far-right PVV is currently the third-largest party in the country after winning 17 seats at the last Dutch general election in 2021.”

NORWAY

China’s crackdown on Uyghurs reaches the Arctic, Coda, 23 March 2022

“Long a safe haven for people fleeing repression from elsewhere, Uyghurs in Norway are harassed, surveilled, and spied upon.”

 

RUSSIA

Foreign student arrested in Russia on ‘Nazism’ charges for twerking at war memorial, Euronews, 22 April 2022

“The student faces up to three years in prison and a fine of up to 3 million roubles (€34,430) if found guilty of “desecrating a symbol of Russian military glory”… “I didn’t want the video I posted to be offensive and disrespectful to the dead. I didn’t know what the memorial signifies. I apologise very much to everyone,” the student says in English. It is unclear under what kind of conditions she is being held and whether she had access to any legal representation. Zambia’s foreign ministry has since confirmed that 21-year-old Ziba has been released on bail, while her case has been passed on to prosecutors in Khanty-Mansiysk.”

SPAIN

Spain-Forms-Specialist-Hate-Crime-Police-Units-To-Counter-Increase-In-Racist-And-Homophobic-Assaults, Olive Press, 12 April 2022

SWEDEN

Dozens arrested at Sweden riots sparked by planned Quran burnings, BBC News, 19 April 2022

“The violence was sparked by a series of rallies organised by the Danish-Swedish politician Rasmus Paludan… On Monday, police said 26 police officers and 14 members of the public had been injured in the violence and that more than 20 vehicles had been damaged or destroyed. They said that around 200 people had been involved in the violence, adding they believed it was organised by networks of criminal gangs. Some of the individuals are already known to police and Sweden’s security service, Sapo. Sunday’s violence in Norrkoping came after Rasmus Paludan said he planned to hold a rally there.”

SWITZERLAND

Annual racism report flags 630 cases of discrimination, Swissinfo, 24 April 2022

“The most frequently-mentioned type of discrimination was xenophobia (218 cases), followed by racism against black people (207). Discrimination of an anti-Islamic (53) or anti-Arab (51) nature were also frequent. A new category of anti-Asian racism was also introduced into the report for the first time, with 41 incidents flagged – most often insults, disparaging remarks, or degrading characterisations. Anti-semitic incidents, at 31, were also slightly up on the previous year…”

Homelessness much higher in French-speaking Switzerland, shows study, Le News.ch, 22 April 2022

“Foreigners were disproportionately represented among Switzerland’s homeless. They made up 83% of the homeless while making up only 26% of the population. Only 17% of the homeless were Swiss nationals. Nationals from Romania (20%), Nigeria (12%), Algeria (9%), France (6%) and Italy (4%) made up 51 percentage points of the remaining 83%. At a regional level, subsaharan Africans (19%), north Africans (22%) and eastern Europeans (24%) made up nearly two thirds (65%) of Switzerland’s homeless. Asian (2%), latin American (5%), western European and other nationals (22%) made up the rest.”

UNITED KINGDOM

Black & Asian News – UK Edition

 

UKRAINE

How many Ukrainians have fled their homes and where have they gone?, BBC News, 26 April 2022

“More than 11 million people are believed to have fled their homes in Ukraine since the conflict began, according to the United Nations. As well as the 5.2 million who have left for neighbouring countries, another 6.5 million people are thought to be displaced inside the war-torn country itself.”

VATICAN

Photos of the Week: Indigenous delegation at Vatican, The Conversation, March 2022

“Members of the Assembly of First Nations perform in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican, Thursday, March 31, 2022. Pope Francis has welcomed First Nations delegations to the Vatican. They are seeking an apology for the Catholic Church’s role in running Canada’s notorious residential schools for Indigenous children.”

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