French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner has announced the formation of a National Anti-Hate Office.
The announcement of the new office, which will be part of the paramilitary gendarmes, comes after 107 graves were desecrated at the Jewish cemetery in Westhoffen this week, with swastikas were painted on many of the gravestones, Le Figaro reports.
Castaner said the new office would investigate the incident at the Jewish cemetery but would also look into acts against Muslims and Christians that fell within the jurisdiction of the gendarmes.
“It will also be responsible for supporting all actors in all territories, to make the link with the police, justice, so that the perpetrators of these despicable acts are condemned,” he added.
Macron's France: Average of Three Church Attacks Per Day https://t.co/flFZuZVQyN
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) March 30, 2019
France already has an office that specialises in hate crimes, the Central Office to Fight Against Crimes Against Humanity, Genocide, and War Crimes (OCLCH), and, according to Le Figaro, many are wondering what will be different about the new gendarme office.
Hate crimes have been just a small part of the scope of the OCLCH, which is generally tasked with investigating serious international crimes.
Francis Kalifat, president of the Representative Council of Jewish Institutions in France (CRIF) welcomed the new office, saying, “it’s been months, maybe years, that I keep saying hate — whether it’s antisemitism, racism, homophobia, or even sexism — gangrene French society and we must take radical measures.”
“The announcement of the creation of a national office specifically dedicated to the fight against hatred can only be welcomed positively,” he added.
France: Anti-Semitic Incidents Up 73 Percent in 2018 https://t.co/Nvwz1CcBIt
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) February 14, 2019
France has seen a surge in antisemitic attacks in recent years, with a report claiming that antisemitic incidents had increased by 73 per cent in 2018 alone.
Many Jews in some areas of France have been forced to move elsewhere due to harassment and attacks as well.
Anti-Christian attacks, especially church attacks, have also become increasingly frequent, with some estimating there to be at least three attacks per day.