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Thousands of Roma Forced onto Streets of France in 2016

7 February 2017

Budapest, Paris, 7 February 2017: More than 10,000 Roma were subjected to forced evictions by French authorities last year, with over 6 in 10 Romani families experiencing forced eviction.

The annual report released today by the European Roma Rights Centre and the Ligue des droits de L’Homme shows that more than half of the recorded evictions took place without a court decision and in most cases, no adequate alternative accommodation was offered to those made homeless.

Most of the 10,119 Roma evicted in 2016 were evicted during the winter months in the fourth quarter of the year, which saw a 17% increase in numbers of people made homeless compared to the previous quarter. The report shows that many Roma were evicted multiple times in 2016. This unsustainable practice only worsens deep poverty and neglects the underlying housing problems.


 

France’s policy of ethnically targeted evictions creates cycles of repeat evictions and forced removals. It is also a significant squandering of financial and administrative resources. It is not only a morally bankrupt strategy, but one that is not in the best interests of tax-payers whose contributions would could far better be deployed to invest in social assessments and sustainable solutions for housing.

In addition to forced evictions, 2016 saw many incidents of hate speech and cases of discrimination against Romani people. This further confirms the need for a significant policy response to address the plight of a stigmatised and deeply impoverished population.

Number of Roma forcibly evicted in France over the last 5 years

Last year, with support from the ERRC, more Romani litigants took France to the European Court of Human Rights in two new cases concerning forced evictions, adding to a growing list of similar complaints appearing before the court.

Once again the ERRC urges France to abide by the OPRE joint statement calling for sustainable housing and accommodation solutions for Roma. The last year was another year of tragedies, upheavals and lives torn apart by forced evictions which have now become almost routine. Our call for authorities to take stock of the human cost of forced evictions has been echoed by numerous international bodies, and has become more urgent in the face of increased suffering and hardship for Roma at the receiving end of policies that are inhumane and deeply discriminatory.

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

The full report on the census of forced evictions of Roma in France for 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
jonathan.lee@errc.org

Radost Zaharieva
Country Facilitator for France
European Roma Rights Centre
0033 7 61 06 06 78
radost.zaharieva@errc.org

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