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Forced Evictions in France: Absurdly Stubborn, Stubbornly Absurd

7 April 2014

Budapest, Paris, 7 April 2014: French authorities continued forcibly evicting migrant Roma during the first three months of 2014. Despite harsh winter conditions, since 1 January 2014, 3428 people have been forcibly evicted from 36 different places; 2904 by authorities during 27 evictions and 524 became homeless after fires raged in nine different settlements. These figures, gathered by the Human Rights League (LDH) and the European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC) remain very high for the winter season, as in past years and even show an increase in inhumane evictions. The organisations counted 3,007 and 2,153 people forcibly evicted in the first three months of 2013 and 2012 respectively.

There were 22 forced evictions following a Court order requested by the owners of the land, three decisions taken by the Mayor or Prefect for security or sanitary reasons, and in one case, people left the settlement by themselves, under threat of a forced eviction. One settlement was evicted by force without any legal decision. On 12 February 2014, a Romani child died in a fire in the settlement in Bobigny.

 

The European Roma Rights Centre and LDH did not see any noticeable change in the implementation of the inter-ministerial circular of 26 August 2012, which ordered local authorities to carry out a social assessment of Roma during all evictions. Evictions have continued almost everywhere without the social assessment, without offering adequate alternative housing solutions and without any social support.

During the recent municipal election campaign in France, the anti-Roma mood was pathological, and extreme and hateful speeches were legion.

The announcement in late January by the Ministry for Housing of a plan to “eradicate slums” with the public-private company Adoma at the helm has yet to prove effective. The ERRC and the LDH are concerned whether such a policy is feasible when the Minister of the Interior’s approach is to evict Romani settlements systematically.

The appointment of the previous Minister of Interior as Prime Minister indicates that the systematisation of the evictions as a solution to “eradicate the slums” would be accelerated, which may be feared as the worst scenario.

This survey is the result of joint work between the ERRC and the LDH. The figures are not comprehensive, but the census aims be as accurate as possible in the absence of official data. The figures were gathered through media monitoring and reports from NGOs.

The detailed report is available in English and French.

For more information, contact:
Manon Fillonneau
European Roma Rights Centre
+337 61 06 06 78
m.fillonneau.errc@gmail.com

Feriel Saadni
Ligue des Droits de l'Homme
01 56 55 51 08
feriel.saadni@ldh-france.org.

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