European & International News

UN human rights experts condemn France’s crackdown on Roma migrants

[Brussels, 29 August 2012] UN human rights experts in Geneva slammed France for dismantling Roma camps this week and evicting hundreds of migrant Roma regardless of international human rights conventions.

At the beginning of last week, France started evicting hundreds of Romani migrants from ‘illegal’ camps and sent several of them back to Romania via a charter plane, providing them with 300 euros compensation for their ‘voluntary return’. While the EU remains silent over French policies, three other camps were dismantled this week near Paris and Lyon, resulting in the new evictions of several hundreds of Roma migrants.

In reply to these abusive measures, the UN’s Special Rapporteurs on minority issues, migrants, housing and racism issued a strong statement in which they urged the French government to comply with international non-discriminative standards banning group expulsions, making it clear that France had failed to meet its commitments towards human rights.

The statement underlined that "few if any visible efforts [were] being developed to find alternative solutions for these communities, such as improving housing conditions." The UN Special rapporteur on racism Mutama Ruteere said that evictions were fuelling the climate of hostility against Roma people in France and insisted on the need to put forward policies promoting Roma housing and employment. Raquel Rolnik, the Special Rapporteur on adequate housing, criticised France’s failure to provide legal safeguards to ensure that individuals, particularly children, women and those with illnesses or disability, are not left homeless or vulnerable.

While the European Women’s Lobby welcomes announcement of the French government at the beginning of August that France will widen job opportunities form Roma, by easing restrictions on immigrants from Romania and Bulgaria, and cancel a tax levied on employers who hire them, the EWL supports the statement of UN rapporteurs and joins human rights experts in their demands for more comprehensive measures to enhance the social inclusion of Roma migrants within the EU and ensure that Romani women are not deprived of their rights. (see EWL Statement of Concern on Expulsion of Roma from France - October 2010).

UN news release here:

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