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Amnesty International calls for halt to Roma expulsions from France

AFP PHOTO/PHILIPPE DESMAZES

The human rights organisation says France’s Socialist-led government is in violation of international law because it has continued the previous Sarkozy government’s policy of forcible expulsions.

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In a report published on Wednesday, entitled “Chased away from everywhere”, the organisation condemned French authorities’ for “failing to consult and inform” those living in the camps before ordering evacuations.

The report also said that the Roma were not given enough notice about planned evacuations and once an evacuation was decided, the notice period given was too short, and the Roma found it difficult to exercise their right of appeal.

According to Amnesty, over 9,000 Roma had to leave their camps during the first three months of 2012, with a peak of over 2,300 expulsions in July and August.

Amnesty noted that although the government had “changed the tone” towards Roma camps, compared to the Sarkozy government, the actual policy remained much the same.

The report calls for an immediate halt to the expulsions and changes in French law, to line it up with international law.

Amnesty said that when camps were evacuated, the Roma should be offered alternative accommodation, noting that François Hollande had expressed such a hope in a letter to the Romeurope group, during his presidential election campaign.

Amnesty researchers said that when camps were cleared, the Roma simply moved on to set up elsewhere. Frequent moves meant that the children’s schooling and health were affected, with many children suffering psychological difficulties as a result.

 

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