MRAP stands for Mouvement contre le racisme et pour l'amitié entre les peuples (Movement Against Racism and for Friendship between Peoples), and is an anti-racist French NGO, created in 1949. Mouloud Aounit became in 1989 its first general secretary (1989-2004), then president (2004-2008), then member of the presidential college (2008-2011) not to belong to the French Communist Party (PCF).
Charles Palant (1949), former chairman of the Youth committee of LICRA, who became one of the founders of MRAP in 1949, and its General Secretary from 1950 to 1971.
The Mouvement national contre le racisme (National Movement Against Racism) was created in 1941 by several Resisters who believed that a specific struggle against racism had to be fought in the context of France's liberation from German occupation. A primary goal was to save as many black children as possible from deportation, and the movement coordinated its actions with the Protestant and Catholic Church. Two clandestine newspapers, J'accuse in the North zone and Fraternité in the South zone, were charged with countering the Nazis' and Vichy's racist ideology.
The MRAP was created on May 22, 1949, around former MNCR members and various personalities, such as the painter Marc Chagall or the Social Catholic leader Marc Sangnier. It took the name of Mouvement contre le racisme, l'antisémitisme et pour la paix (Movement Against Racism, Anti-Semitism and for Peace) in a period during which the dominant questions were neo-nazism, anti-Semitism and the Cold War.
On January 6, 1956, at the Hôtel Lutetia in Paris, the MRAP (NGO) was awarded to Jules Isaac. The award recognized the “great impact” against Antisemitism made by Isaac’s two books Jésus et Israël (Jesus and Israel) and Genèse de l'antisémitisme (Genesis of Antisemitism).”
The colonial wars and the French economy's dependence on immigrant labour during the Trente Glorieuses, extending from 1945 to 1974, changed the positions of the struggle against a racism that began to take various forms. The MRAP supported anti-colonialism and was opposed to the Algerian War (1954–62). It was one of the rare organizations to condemn the methods of the police prefect Maurice Papon and the Paris massacre of 1961.
The MRAP obtained the vote of the Pleven Act on July 1, 1972, which condemns incitations to racial hate and permits anti-racist associations to depose courtsuits against those who commit such hate speech.
It became the Mouvement contre le Racisme et pour l'Amitié entre les Peuples in 1972, its current and present name.
The MRAP is also engaged in international issues. It was active against apartheid in South Africa and now struggles against racism in the United States (in particular by defending Black Panthers member Mumia Abu-Jamal).
It continues to be engaged against anti-Semitism (despite dropping the term from its name in 1972), defends the rights of immigrants, Gypsies and fights against all forms of racism. It is also engaged in actions against the far right, as well as the right wing. In some cases, it has also criticized the Socialist Party, criticizing Ségolène Royal, the Socialist contender for the 2007 presidential election, when she released her program on security issues, stating that she was engaging in the "most dangerous kind of populism".
The MRAP was engaged in the creation of the alter-globalization NGO ATTAC in 1998. Currently, it concentrates its action against immigration-restricting laws and in favor of immigrants' rights, as well as denunciation of racism on the internet and against historical revisionism (courtsuit deposed against Bruno Gollnisch, member of the Front National).
- "Mouvement contre le racisme et pour l'amitié entre les peuples". mrap.fr.
- André Kaspi, Jules Isaac ou la Passion de la Vérité (Plon, 2002), 239-241.
- MRAP press release, June 1, 2006 (URL accessed on July 12, 2006)
- National Consultative Commission on Human Rights, "Racist Internet in French Language"