More Roma Expelled from France

10 May 2003

According to the French national newspaper Le Monde of December 6, 2002, following the evaluation of squatters and a shantytown in the towns of Choisy-le-Roi and Rungis, near Paris, forty-four Romanian Roma were brought in by French police for questioning on December 5, 2002. The Romani camp in Choisy-le-Roi was the last of three Romani camps in the town. According to the daily, the Roma were released in the early hours of December 6, 2002, after an eight-hour hearing before the Civil Tribunal of Créteil. The two judges of the Tribunal refused the request of the Prefect of Val-de-Marne to prolong their detention. The Roma were brought to the Tribunal for interrogation in accordance with expulsion orders issued by the court several months earlier. According to the daily, the judges determined that the files given to the court by the police and the Prefect were full of procedural errors. Ms Jean-François Blay, a lawyer from Val-de Marne, was quoted as having stated that after the roundup of Bulgarians at Bordeaux, this was the second roundup with errors in police procedure. Earlier, on October 8, 2002, the ERRC received information from the Paris-based non-governmental organisation Centre AVER against Racism that the other two Romani camps in Choisy-le-Roi had been dispersed at the beginning of October 2002. According to the Centre, a 36-year-old Romani woman was arrested during the raid and expelled to Romania following identity checks by police. The woman reportedly asked police to take her 7 and 2-year-old daughters with her, but was not allowed. The destructions of the camps followed complaints by town inhabitants and the mayor about the presence of the camps, the Centre reported.

Also, on November 7, 2002, French police raided a settlement of Bulgarians, most of whom were reportedly Romani, located in an airport hangar in Bordeaux in southwestern France, according to the French national daily newspaper Le Monde of November 9, 2002. Le Monde reported that thirty-eight people were found to be legally in France, while thirty-nine were illegally residing in France. The thirty-nine people found to be illegally residing in France were reportedly being held in police custody, where they had received written notice that they would be expelled to Bulgaria within ten days. However, according to the Bulgarian national daily newspaper Standard of November 8, 2002, around one hundred and fifty Bulgarians had been living in the hangar, the majority of whom were of Romani and Turkish origin. According to the daily, the settlement in which the Roma were living did not have water, electricity or heating. There were reportedly no toilets in the settlement and inhabitants were reported to have been sleeping on the ground, as well as outside. On November 14, 2002, Standard reported that one hundred and fifteen Roma were deported to Bulgaria from France and the Netherlands.

In other news related to Roma living in camps in France, on November 7, 2002, the Paris-based daily newspaper Le Parisien reported that on the morning of November 6, 2002, the Seine-et-Marne Prefect cut the water supply in a settlement inhabited by Romanian Roma in the town of Lieusaint. The Roma had reportedly been living on government property for several years without permission. Mr Phillippe Chauveau, General Director of New Urban Area Association (SAN), was quoted in the paper as having stated that the objective of the operation was to force the Roma to leave. On the same afternoon, the electrical supply to the settlement was also reportedly cut. The daily stated that following the cuts, around forty men, women and children went to the Prefect, who sent them to the SAN headquarters to ask that water and electricity be restored to the settlement. Following pressure from the community leaders, Mr Chauveau appealed to the Prefect of Seine-et-Marne to restore the utilities to the settlement. Shortly thereafter, water and electricity were re-established in the settlement. Supplementary information on the treatment of Roma in France is available on the ERRC's Internet website at:

(Centre AVER against Racism, Le Monde, Le Parisien, Standard)


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