World Bulletin / News Desk
The French government has evicted nearly 20,000 people from Roma camps in 2013, doubling from last year's figure, a human rights report has confirmed.
A report jointly prepared by the French Human Rights League (LDH) and European Roma Rights Centre (ERCC) reveals that the French security forces have dismantled 165 of nearly 400 illegal camps, compared to 97 in 2012.
“This policy of rejection is ineffective, costly and unnecessary since nothing changes after these evictions,” Pierre Tartakowsky, LDH president said. “Roma still live in France, in settlements they have rebuilt a little further away, but their situation is increasingly insecure. The ongoing increased evictions pave the way for the expression of extremism and anti-Roma racism.” he says.
Less than 17,000 Roma, mostly from Bulgaria and Romania, are still housed in camps in France.
Over half of the forced evictions took place in Paris, while sustainable shelter solutions or social support are not offered to expelled Roma, the report reveals.
The "situation is getting worse" under President Francois Hollande and his Interior Minister Manuel Valls, the activists say, claiming that the ruling Socialists are rated as "extremely disappointing" and tougher on Roma than Nicolas Sarkozy's previous right-wing government.
"The information we are getting indicates at least four people died and 12 others were wounded but we still don't have more details," security official Ibrahim Mohamed said.
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