World Bulletin / News Desk
A leaked memo from Paris's sixth arrondissement police on Tuesday ordered officers to remove Roma from Paris's wealthiest neighborhoods.
The memo, which was leaked to French daily Le Parisien, was issued by the police commissariat of the sixth Parisian District and orders police forces to "systematically evict" Roma from the chic Paris district's sixth arrondissement.
The memo sparked anger among Roma population and human rights watchdogs. Watchdog human rights group SOS Racism called the orders a "scandal", and described it as another violent act against Roma.
France's Interior Ministry on Tuesday issued a statement that "the note had been rectified," without giving further details.
An estimated 20 thousand Roma, most of whom originated from Romania and Bulgaria, are living in France. Half are believed to be in Paris. Roma are generally not granted asylum in France.
France’s newly appointed Prime Minister Manuel Valls said in September 2013 that the lifestyle of Roma people was "in contrast with that of the French," and he added that they should be "delivered back to the borders."
In October 2013, PM Valls came under fire following the deportation of a 15-year-old Roma girl and her family to Kosovo, after she was taken off a bus in the middle of a school trip. He has faced accusations of racism, even from cabinet colleagues.
The mayor of the sixth arrondissement, Jean-Pierre Lecoq, a member of the conservative UMP party, has defended the purge and complained of a "massive" influx of Roma which he sees as "a real problem."
European Union as well as human rights organizations have accused France of discrimination against Roma.
In April 8, human rights watchdog Amnesty International accused European states of failing to curb, and in some cases even fuelling, discrimination, intimidation and violence against Roma.
Amnesty International's report said that France Roma are often "forcibly evicted from their shelters, harassed by the police or other citizens and sometimes attacked."Last Mod: 16 Nisan 2014, 13:39