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French Left and Right unite on mass evictions of Roma: Hollande’s socialists force thousands more Roma onto the streets

12 December 2016

Budapest, Paris, 12 December 2016:  A report released today by the European Roma Rights Centre and the Ligue des Droits de l’Homme, shows France stepping up the number of forced evictions of Roma after the relative reprieve of the second quarter.

After the reduction in eviction numbers in the last quarter, France have seemingly made up for lost time and increased the number of forced evictions in this period. This third quarter of 2016 has seen over 2,500 Romani people forcibly evicted from their homes and settlements. Most of these evictions were instigated without a legal decision, and without provision of any sustainable alternative accommodation.

In the wake of the tragic scenes which took place at the ‘Jungle’ Refugee Camp in Calais, waves of indignation and calls for solidarity have been heard loud and clear across Europe. When faced with informal settlements of poor, desperate people, the response of the French State has become clear: Violent forced evictions.

Yet this should not be surprising, these are tactics which have been honed over the last few years in the continuous, unrelenting evictions of Romani people across France. In contrast to the reactions to the tragic scenes unfolding at Calais however, evictions of Roma have evoked a much more muted response from the press and public.

Many of these evictions were planned in earlier in the year and put off until the third period had begun, showing a worrisome lack of concern for the welfare of the families who are being forced onto the streets and into ever more vulnerable situations right before the winter. France’s uncompromising regime of ethnic forced evictions shows little sign of let up in this latest report and continues the pattern of discrimination which has beleaguered French Roma over recent years

When President Hollande was elected in 2012, he did so on the back of promises made to implement measures which would show the government’s serious commitment to Roma inclusion in France. In the run up to the 2012 elections, Hollande made clear that any dismantling of camps would comply with international standards and offer adequate alternative accommodation to those evicted. Instead, the rise to power of Hollande’s so called ‘Socialist’ Party has seen thousands upon thousands of Roma forcefully evicted, continuing the appalling example set by the previous Sarkozy administration.

The statement made by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the European Agency for Fundamental Rights, the Council of Europe and other international bodies, denouncing the human cost of evictions was widely ignored by the authorities during this third quarter.

The ERRC urges France to abide by the OPRE joint statement calling for sustainable housing and accommodation solutions for Roma, in order to avoid further evictions; stating that forced evictions are justifiable only in the most exceptional circumstances; and where they occur, evictions must meet international legal standards. The situation at the end of this third quarter of 2016 is dire. Our call, echoed by numerous international bodies, for authorities to take stock of the human cost of forced evictions remains as pertinent as ever.

The ERRC and our partner in France, the Ligue des Droits de l’Homme, continue to demand French authorities cease their illegal policy of systematic ethnically motivated evictions and put in place workable, long-term solutions which support integration and the root causes of inequality, before unlawful evictions take place.

The full report on the census of forced evictions of Roma in France for the third quarter of 2016 is available in English and French.

This press release is also available in French.

For more information contact:

Jonathan Lee
Communications Officer
European Roma Rights Centre
0036 1 413 22 44

Radost Zaharieva
Country Facilitator for France
European Roma Rights Centre
0033 7 61 06 06 78

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