ERRC Urges French President to Halt Mass Eviction and Expulsion Plans for Roma and Travellers

Budapest, Paris, 29 July 2010: In reaction to French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s plan to systematically evict French Travellers and migrant Roma from their homes and collectively expel Roma EU citizens from France, the European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC) today called for an end to plans which would lead to gross human rights violations of these marginalised groups.

In a letter to the President, the ERRC stated that the French Government’s plan would worsen the housing conditions of Travellers and Roma and may breach legal protections on freedom of movement and against collective expulsion. The ERRC also noted that the President’s plan reinforces discriminatory perceptions about Roma and Travellers and inflames public opinion against them.

In reaction to the President’s plan, ERRC Executive Director Robert Kushen stated, “Last year the European Committe of Social Rights found that France violated the European Social Charter by failing to provide adequate accommodations to Travellers and migrant Roma. If the Government wants to address the problem of illegal settlements, it should start by fully implementing French law that requires the creation of an adequate number of halting sites for Travellers with appropriate services. The scapegoating of Travellers and Roma is not going to solve the problem.” 

The ERRC also called on the President to respect and protect the right of free movement for all EU citizens, including those of Roma origin, and to avoid the collective expulsion of Roma from French territory.

For further information, contact:
Sinan Gokcen, ERRC Media and Communications Officer, sinan.gokcen@errc.org, +36.30.500.1324

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