Roma Evicted in France as New Government Fails to Find New Solutions
Lille, Lyon, Paris, 10 August 2012: French authorities are continuing to forcibly evict and return migrant Roma, despite pre-election promises from President Hollande to end the practice. The European Roma Rights Centre sent a letter to French authorities today, calling on them to stop forcibly evicting and deporting migrant Roma from Romania and to find more positive solutions instead.
The most recent eviction took place on 9 August in Lille, where more than 200 Roma were evicted from two camps. Evictions have also taken place close to Lyon and in Paris. In Vaulx-in-Velin, media reports suggest that around 100 people (including many Roma) were evicted from their settlement, and have been forced to roam the streets as police prevent them from stopping elsewhere.
According to media reports, almost 250 Romani individuals have been sent back to Romania in the last week alone. The Roma are sent back under a so-called voluntary return scheme. However the Humanitarian Aid Returns are typically offered in the context of forced evictions and under the threat of expulsion, and cannot be considered truly voluntary.
In March 2012, Francois Hollande sent a letter to RomEurope, denouncing the policies of Sarkozy on evicting and expelling Roma as creating a situation of ‘intolerable’ precariousness for Roma communities. Almost 10,000 Roma were expelled from France in 2010 under the previous administration. In 2011 the European Committee of Social Rights judged that this was in violation of the revised European Social Charter.
“It’s extremely disappointing that the new French government is continuing the practice of evicting and expelling Roma under the so-called voluntary returns scheme,” said Dezideriu Gergely, Executive Director of the ERRC. “We’d like to see the Ministry of the Interior come up with real, sustainable solutions for migrant Roma, instead of continuing a negative cycle of forced evictions and returns.”
For more information, contact:
Media and Communications Officer
European Roma Rights Centre