France violated human rights through its colonial occupations, especially in the African continent.
France, with its colonial occupations launched in 1524, dominated more than 20 countries in the western and northern Africa. Thirty-five percent of the continent remained under French occupations for 300 years.
Senegal, Cote d'Ivoire and Benin were used as a hub for the slave trade during that time and all resources in the region were exploited by France.
Revolts in the countries struggling for independence were violently suppressed during France's five-century colonial period. More than 2 million Africans lost their lives.
- The story of France's shame in Algeria
Thousands were killed by French soldiers during demonstrations launched by Algerians who fought in French fronts with the promise of independence shortly before the end of World War II.
During the course of the struggle for independence, 1 million people were killed and hundreds of thousands were injured, went missing or were forced from their homes.
Violence on Algerians continued systematically with the Setif and Guelma massacres in 1945 to July 5, 1962, when the country declared its independence from the colonial rule.
Since 1830, Algerian society has been exposed to cultural genocide. France transformed many cultural and religious sites in Algeria.
Since its independence, Algeria has repeatedly asked France to acknowledge its colonial-era crimes.
- France's role on Rwandan genocide
France also carried out major human rights violations in countries where it has political influence.
It played a role in the 1994 Rwandan genocide where 800,000 people were killed.
Instead of preventing genocide, France was found to provide weapons and information to the Hutus regime.
"In such countries, genocide is not too important," then-French President Francois Mitterrand told the daily Le Figaro in 1988.
Criticized internationally and publicly because of its supports to Hutus regime, France prohibits accessing reports on genocide.
Several international cases against France are ongoing.
An estimated 800,000 minority Tutsis and some Hutus were killed during 100 days of bloodshed orchestrated by extremist Hutus in 1994.
The assassination of President Juvenal Habyarimana, a Hutu triggered the genocide on April 7, 1994.
Hutu extremists who allegedly harbored hatred for Tutsis accused the group of shooting Habyarimana’s plane as it approached Kigali International Airport, triggering mass slaughter.
By Tugcenur Yilmaz