Strict Law on Itinerants in France

07 November 2002

On August 29, 2002, Law 2002-1094 (LOPSI) entered into force, as reported in the Official Journal of France, with two recommendations specifically aimed at Travellers gens du voyage. Itinerant Roma are commonly called Travellers in France. The law on domestic security recommends, in Annex 1, the use of previously established Regional Intervention Groups (RIGs) to combat violence and delinquency, illegal trafficking and the underground economy. The RIGs are composed of police and gendarmeries, customs officials, fiscal service officials, currency service officials, prevention of fraud officials and employment and unemployment officials. Specifically, the law stated that RIGs will "combat offences committed by Travellers that exhibit characteristics that justify the intervention of several administrations, specifically fiscal." Further, the law recommended financial sanctions and the confiscation of vehicles parked illegally on both private and public property to alleviate "difficulties linked to hosting Travellers and also for the better protection of every person's property […]." The amendment weighs particularly heavily on Travellers in France given that as of January 5, 2002, only six out of 1739 districts had implemented measures under Besson's Law, enacted in 2000, which established the obligations of France's districts with respect to Travellers (further information on Besson's Law is available at: Travellers Law not Enforced in France ). According to the French national daily newspaper Le Monde of July 19, 2002, the amendments reportedly followed statements in which Mr Nicolas Sarkozy, Minister of the Interior, asked publicly, "How is it that in certain camps there are beautiful cars when very few of these people work?" The article then stated that on July 11 and 12, 2002, a parliamentary commission was proposed to deal with Travellers. On October 23, 2002, Le Monde reported that Mr Sarkozy presented a project, further to LOPSI, to the French Council of Ministers. Regarding Roma, the new project would set a fine of 3,750 euros, allow for six months imprisonment or the confiscation of vehicles and the suspension of driving licenses, where vehicles have been illegally parked. Further information on the treatment of Roma in France is available on the ERRC's Internet website at:

(ERRC, Le Monde)


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