The Council of Europe's human rights commissioner has expressed concern over the rising tide of racism and intolerance in France.

Speaking in Paris, Nils Muiznieks unveiled a 17 February, 2015, report that showed a steep increase in hate speech and racism directed towards groups including Roma and Muslims.

The report was written before the terror attacks on satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and a kosher supermarket in Paris in January 2015, which left 17 dead, and so does not assess their impact on the issue.

Muiznieks says that according to the report, in recent years there has been a surge in "homophobic, xenophobic, and anti-Muslim" incidents, and France is struggling with an overall "loss of tolerance."

It notes that the internet has become the medium for much hate speech, and "invites the authorities to react vigorously and in a systematic manner, preferably through a national action plan on human rights."

The report also calls on France to take in more refugees from the Syrian civil war, and identifies "acute shortcomings" in the reception of the 500 it has taken in.

The situation in the country has deteriorated significantly since 2006, says the report, when the organisation noted that human rights were subject to a "great deal of protection" in France.

The report follows widely criticised policies introduced by the government of former president Nicolas Sarkozy, which banned women from wearing burqas in public, and deported hundreds of Roma to Romania.

In the report, Muiznieks says that he was shocked to discover on visiting southern France in September 2014 that the majority of Roma children were not enrolled in school, and called on authorities to provide Roma with better access to social services, including healthcare and sanitation, and to combat anti-Roma prejudice.

In recent years, the far-right Front National, riding a tide of anti-immigrant sentiment, has risen to become the third most powerful party in French politics.

A report from French Jewish organisations found that anti-Semitic attacks in France more than doubled between 2013 and 2014, while in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attacks, Islamophobic attacks in France surged, with 116 recorded in the two weeks following.

The report was compiled following interviews with the heads of French human rights organisations, social organisations, and state officials.

Reacting to president Francois Hollande's recent pledge to make the battle against racism a "national cause" in 2015, Pierre Tartakowsky, the president of France's Human Rights League, called for better coordination between the government and community groups to help battle the problem.

"We don't need a rigid message — what we need is better coordination between community workers and public officials," he told Vice News.