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PACE Social Committee Chairperson on rioting in France: ‘No social peace without social justice, and no social justice without social peace’

Justice for Nahel, street clashes in France, July 2023

Selin Sayek Böke (Türkiye, SOC), the Chairperson of the PACE Committee on Social Affairs, Health and Sustainable Development, has issued the following statement today:

“The death of a 17-year-old boy in France, shot by a policeman at a routine traffic stop, is both profoundly shocking and heart-breaking. The thoughts of all of us are with the mother, family and community of this young man in their loss and sorrow.

But the rioting which has shaken the country over the last days is not the right response: protest must be peaceful. Vandalism, looting, and direct attacks on representatives of the State – such as public institutions, local authorities, law-enforcement officers, firefighters, and even medical staff – are unacceptable, and have already led to too many injuries, and now to another death, that of a firefighter. Our thoughts are with all the injured and the grieving family.

There can be no social peace without social justice, and no social justice without social peace. Our committee believes that the problem cannot be solved without tackling its roots, which lie in the lack of social cohesion in our societies, widening social inequalities. It is my belief that our Assembly should urgently join its efforts to others in debating how to restore the social contract for everyone living within our member States.”