The elected LREM is worried about a trivialization of “racist” speeches, in particular on the part of Eric Zemmour.

He therefore tabled before the National Assembly on Thursday a motion for a resolution calling for the possibility of sanctions for comments denying or understating the reality of slavery.

The text is carried by the deputy of Guadeloupe Olivier Serva, and is co-signed by elected officials on all benches, majority as oppositions.

His inclusion on the agenda of the Palais Bourbon is however very uncertain, less than three weeks before the suspension of the work of the legislature, but the elected official says he does not “despair” of seeing him come to the meeting.

Press conference today February 10, 2022: Motion for a Resolution on the criminalization of Holocaust denier comments on the slave trade and colonial slavery.

– Olivier SERVA (@olivier_serva) February 10, 2022

A non-binding resolution

Even formally adopted, the resolution “relating to the criminalization of Holocaust denial comments made on the slave trade and colonial slavery” would remain non-binding.

In front of the press, Olivier Serva however assured that the Keeper of the Seals Eric Dupond-Moretti was willing to “take a very close interest” in this approach.

Although slavery was recognized as a "crime against humanity" by a 2001 law, the Constitutional Council ruled in 2017 that it was not possible to sanction its denial.

This institution highlighted the difficulties posed by a sanction with regard to freedom of expression, and argued that the slave trade had never been condemned by a French or international court, unlike the Holocaust.

Raising awareness

Olivier Serva's motion for a resolution therefore invites the government "to consider modifying the legislative provisions" - in particular the 1881 law on freedom of the press - to correct the current legal framework which leads "to discrimination between victims of crimes against humanity”.

It also calls for “strengthening the means of raising awareness among all audiences and promoting access for the population to historical information relating to the crimes of the slave trade and colonial slavery”.

Several parliamentarians from various backgrounds supported his proposal, against a background of references to the electoral context.

Trivialization of racist remarks

"More than ever, our time sees historical facts instrumentalized by dirty hands", declared the president of the LFI group Mathilde Panot, denouncing "comments (on slavery) which take the form of renewed racism".

Annie Chapelier (Agir group, majority) deplored “things that we cannot let go”, and Karine Lebon (Communist group) claimed that denying or minimizing slavery “can be fully condemned by our law”.

Present at the press conference on the proposal to criminalize negationist remarks on slavery and the slave trade.

It is up to the law to differentiate the sayable from the insane.

Thanks to @olivier_serva for this initiative!

— Mathilde Panot (@MathildePanot) February 10, 2022

Olivier Serva mentioned the polemicist and far-right presidential candidate, Eric Zemmour, who in 2021 claimed on television that "what is banal is slavery, all civilizations have been slavers", or that “it was colonization that stopped slavery in Africa”.

The deputy deplored in society the proliferation of “borderline remarks”, “almost trivialized”, and “the expression of a negationist, racist thought” on this subject.


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  • Society

  • Racism

  • Holocaust denial

  • Slavery

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