150 Roma Evicted Weekly By French Authorities
Paris, 10th July 2015: During the first half of 2015, 3947 Roma were forcibly evicted from their homes in 37 different places in France. Another 110 had to leave two settlements because of fire. That comes out to 150 people evicted by the authorities every week. The Ligue des Droits de l’Homme and the European Roma Rights Centre continue our protest against these evictions.
Following 24 of the evictions, the families were simply left in the street by the authorities. Out of the 37 forced evictions carried out, in only 13 cases were those being evicted offered alternative accommodation. In only one of the two cases of fire did the authorities provide emergency shelter.
Most of the time evictions are a result of legal proceedings taken by the owners of the land or buildings before the courts, but 14 of the 37 evictions this year happened due to orders made by the municipality. In one case the residents of a slum left in order to avoid an imminent eviction.
Evictions should be accompanied by rehousing and social support for the affected people, as set out in French government guidance published on 26 August 2012. The facts show that this circular is not followed in the vast majority of cases.
“Everyone recognises that forced evictions are futile,” argues Françoise Dumont Presédent of Ligue des Droits de l’Homme . “International bodies have declared them unjust. Their indignity is a stain on the history of the current government. But nothing will make the French authorities budge from their policy of stigmatising and rejecting the Roma.”
“The only way to overcome the French authorities’ stubbornness is to take them to court and that is what Roma will continue to do. In the next year, we expect judgments from the European Court of Human Rights on France’s misguided, discriminatory evictions policy,” says ERRC Legal Director Adam Weiss.
Previously the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe criticised France because of this situation. He urged the authorities to “put an end without delay to compulsory evictions of unlawfully occupied sites which are not accompanied by long-term rehousing solutions for all the occupants of those sites”.
The ERRC, along with our partner in France, the Ligue des Droits de l’Homme, continues to ask that the French authorities stop systematic evictions and put in place solutions designed to support families to integrate before any expulsion takes place. There needs to be ongoing dialogue between the local authorities, NGOs, and everyone else involved in these cases.