French President Macron has asked Algerians who fought for France during Algeria’s war of independence for forgiveness.
He was heckled as he admitted France had failed in its duty to the group – known as the Harkis.
Many lived in poor conditions behind barbed fenced wires after the government refused to recognise their rights to stay in France, and those remaining in Algeria faced savage reprisals as collaborators.
Speaking to an audience of Harkis and their descendants in Paris, Macron promised legislation on reparations as well as a monument.
Monday’s speech marks the latest in a series of attempts by the French president to address historical grievances with Algerians in the hope of improving relations between the two countries, which have been fraught since Algeria’s independence in 1962.
In March, his government admitted its army tortured and killed a prominent Algerian activist more than 60 years ago.
Around 300 former Harkis – who derive their name from the Arabic word for movement – were invited to hear Macron speak, according reports.
During the speech Macron also outlined plans for a commission to hear about the squalid French camps former fighters and their children were forced to live in.
It is estimated that up to 200,000 Harkis fought for France during the eight-year war, but only 42,000 were allowed to relocate to France after Algeria gained independence, AFP reports.
Tens of thousands of those left in Algeria were labelled as traitors and killed.