France flies out another batch of Romanian Roma
Rights groups reacted angrily to the closure of several Roma camps in France, accusing President Francois Hollande of backtracking on a pledge to discontinue harsh measures against Romanian and Bulgarian Roma practiced by his predecessor Nicholas Sarkozy.
EUobserver reported that 240 Roma evicted from camps in Lyon boarded flights to Romania 9 August after accepting a government offer of 300 euros for each adult and 100 euros per child. Over the weekend Roma were also evicted from camps in Lille.
French authorities sent more than 8,000 EU citizens back to Romania and Bulgaria in 2010 in what were officially described as “voluntary transfers.” Romani activists condemned the transfers as expulsions aimed at ridding the country of poor Roma. EU officials threatened France with legal action at the time.
The latest camp closures left 60 children homeless, Veronika Szente Goldston of Human Rights Watch said in a statement quoted by EUobserver. “Hollande’s promises to end discrimination against Roma couldn’t ring more hollow in the wake of [last] week’s events,” she said.
Ninety percent of the 15,000 Roma in France are from Romania, EurActiv writes, citing news media estimates, with most of the rest coming from Bulgaria.
Photo: Screen capture from BBC report