Human Rights Watch says police in France are singling out ethnic Arab and African youths for unwarranted and sometimes humiliating identity checks. The rights group says this apparent ethnic profiling is further exacerbating an already tense relationship between authorities and minority youths.
A young man who recounted being stopped and questioned by French police thinks it's because he's Arab. One identity check is OK, he says. But after a second, third and fourth, he says it's like being in a giant prison.
His account is among dozens gathered by Human Rights Watch in interviews with minority youths in the cities of Paris, Lyon and Lille. In a new report, the rights group says ethnic Africans and Arabs - some as young as 13 years old - are often targeted in police checks, even though they do not appear to be doing anything wrong. Another study, in 2009, found that French police were far more likely to stop blacks and Arabs than white people.