France targets Roma camps

AP Graphics

Press Release
France targets Roma camps

Brussels, 13 September 2010. The European Roma Policy Coalition has expressed its concern that the French Interior Minister has instructed prefects systematically to evict settlers from illegal traveller settlements, giving “priority to those of Roma”.

“This fresh information is surprising, since the French Immigration Minister, as recently as 9 September, said that France had not taken any specific measures against Roma people,” said a Coalition spokesman. “We’re deeply concerned that the French Government is targeting a particular ethnic group and see this as discrimination which violates Article 21 of the Fundamental Rights Charter.”

In view of the Commission’s investigation into the recent evictions and expulsions of Roma from France, the Coalition urges the European Commission to include the latest revelation in its assessment of the compliance of the French measures with EU law. “This situation is a test for the Commission to demonstrate its commitment to the Charter of Fundamental Rights, which has recently entered into force, and ensure that it is fully implemented by all EU countries”, added the Coalition spokesperson.

“Roma Peoples are being expelled right now, so there’s an urgent need for immediate action,” said the Coalition spokesperson. “The French Government should rescind this order and call an immediate halt to these evictions and expulsions.”
The eviction instruction is contained in a circular issued by the French Interior Minister on 5 August. This document implements President Sarkozy’s 28 July order to close down illegal settlements of travellers (gens de voyage).

Note to editors:
The European Roma Policy Coalition is an informal gathering of non-governmental organisations operating at EU level on issues of human rights, anti-discrimination, anti-racism, social inclusion, and Roma and Travellers’ rights. Its members are Amnesty International, the European Roma Rights Centre, the European Roma Information Office, the Open Society Institute, European Network Against Racism, Spolu International Foundation, Minority Rights Group International, the European Roma Grassroots Organizations Network, Policy Center for Roma and Minorities, the Roma Education Fund, and Fondaciòn Secretariado Gitano.

For further comment/background and interviews, contact:
Amnesty International European Institutions Office (Brussels)

Tel: +32 (0)2 502 1499/+32 (0)2 548 2773
E-mail: [email protected]
ERGO Network (Brussels)
Tel: +32 (0)2 28 931 049
E-mail: [email protected]
European Network Against Racism (Brussels)
Tel: +32 (0)2 229 35 70
E-mail: [email protected] / [email protected]
European Roma Rights Centre
Tel: +36 30 500 1324 (mobile); E-mail: [email protected]
Open Society Institute – Brussels
Tel: + 32 (0)2 505 4646; Fax: +32 (0)2 502 4646
European Roma Information Office
Tel :0032(0)27333462; Fax:0032(0)27333875; e-mail : [email protected]
Fundación Secretariado Gitano
Tel 34 91 422 09 68
E-mail: [email protected] / [email protected]
Spolu International Foundation
Tel: +31 30 232 8042; Fax: +31 30 232 8043; E-mail: [email protected]
Minority Rights Group International
Tel: +44 (0)20 7422 4205
Mobile: +44 (0)7870 596 863 or +44 (0)7989 699 984; Email: [email protected]
Roma Education Fund
Tel: +36 1 235 8030; E-mail:[email protected]