Big Fail: City's 'Nazi-Style' Homeless Cards

Human rights groups compare Marseille cards to patches from Holocaust
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 5, 2014 8:30 AM CST
Big Fail: City's 'Nazi-Style' Homeless Cards
Socialist candidate in the election for the mayor of Marseille, Patrick Mennucci, poses in front of the City Hall, Wednesday, March, 19, 2014.   (AP Photo/Claude Paris)

A plan to help health workers identify and assist homeless people has quickly fizzled out in the French city of Marseille for one main reason: The cards that were handed out recalled the Star of David the Nazis forced Jews to wear. The city's initiative saw homeless people outfitted with a card that featured a bright yellow triangle along with the person's photo, name, date of birth, and allergies or illnesses. Town officials called it "the card that saves lives." Human rights and activist groups called it "stigmatizing," the Telegraph reports, with one charity head saying, "Being identified by either a star or a triangle is horrific."

The government's social affairs minister said she was "shocked" by the card, which was to be worn visibly. "Forcing homeless people to carry a yellow triangle indicating the illnesses they might have is outrageous," she said. "Medical confidentiality, in particular, is a fundamental right." Following a protest Wednesday, officials initially said the look of the card would change, but now the whole plan is "finished. There won't be any more cards," the head of social and medical emergency services SAMU tells the Local. "We just wanted good to come out of this, but I made a mistake." About 100 cards were handed out before the decision to scrap the project. (Meanwhile, police have cleared the US' largest homeless encampment.)

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