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Speach of "La voix des Rroms" representative at the European Parliament : 2015 october 14

The organization La voix des Rroms denounces French policy towards « Roma » as a systemic racist exclusion from society of a group of people. This policy has been strongly criticized on September 11, 2015 by UN High Commisionner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al-Hussein, as being « punitive and destructive »[1].

This policy has a very damaging impact on the life of thousands of children, men and women, European migrants living in squats or slums and for this reason, presumed and publicly designated as « Roma ». Since nearly 25 years, and Berlin’s wall fall, a whole generation of children and youngsters has now been destroyed and sacrified on French territory.

This policy leads, slowly but surely, to the destruction of a whole human group in Europe. Change has to come ! It has to come now !

Nothing has changed since François Hollande replaced former President of French Republic Nicolas Sarkozy. After Viviane Reding warned again, in 2012, the newly elected governement on its « Roma » policy, this same government adopted a regulation: « Circular on anticipation and accompaniment of the evictions of illegal camps ». This document remains untill now the only governmental referred to as «National Roma Integration» ; it is basically a methodoly for evictions. Moreover, La voix des Rroms considers this very document to be racist in itself. Although indirectly, - the document does not use the word “Roma”, - the circular associates “Roma” with “camps”, following the century-old stereotype of “vagabond gypsies” and, more importantly, with “illegal”.

The guiding principle of this circular was confirmed one year later by the then Minister of Interior Manuel Valls, who declared to media : « this people has a way of life too different from ours, and they’re obviously in confrontation ». La voix des Rroms, sued current prime minister for hate speach. M. Valls benefits from an instituional mechanism that protects any member of the government from justice. Mainstream media remained silent on that case except high level sociologist and Professor Eric Fassin[2] and Mr. Edwy Plenel, director of the mot important independant French media, Mediapart, who said in an interview : « the danger is not Marine Le Pen, it is Manuel Valls »[3]

This statetment expresses the letter and the spirit of French public policy towards East-European migrants presumed to be « Roma » and living in slum or squats. It consists of systemic evictions of the people from their habitat and the continuous and systematic destruction of any effort made by them, alone or together with NGOs, toward social inclusion.

On last August 27, both local and national managing authorities evicted the Samaritan Slum in La Courneuve near Paris, although since more than a year a coalition of over 30 Organizations among whom « La Fondation Abbé Pierre », « Médecins du monde », “La voix des rroms”, architects and researchers had been proposing an ambitious project of inclusion and advocated for an alternative policy. The institutional answer to this innovative approach and project was police brutality and infringement of government’s methodology itself (of the circular on evictions).

When one of the supporters of the alternative project, a bishop, asked, in a private interview, M. Cazeneuve, current minister of interior, the reason of this behavior, he answers « slums are matter of mafia ».

Same answer was recently given by the President of the Republic to a letter that a supporter of La voix des Rroms sent to him asking to avoid the eviction of the Samaritan Slum.

La voix des Rroms belies such accusations and highligts the danger that represents the criminalisation, at the highest level of French State, of a specific group of poor people supposed to be « Roma ».

The report released by the National Collective for Human Rights Romeurope on 23 September 2015 points out that more than 13 000 people were evicted in 2014 from 138 slums or squats. 1000 were forced to live their place of life because of fire or flooding. Their number has increased since 2013 and it continues to increase. In 2015 as an average, 150 people are evicted from their home in slums or squats each week.

In 2014, the same report estimates that between 30 and 40 millions euros were spent by managing authorithies in order to execute the 138 forced evictions. This is 10 times higher than the allocated budget of the Dihal (national contact point) for the inclusion of the inhabitants of “illegal camps”.

Following the « human side » of the « circular on evictions » a social organism called Adoma was entrusted by the government the mission to accompany the evictions. Following their own report, 63 families were accompanied and rehoused since the mission began, among whose 16 in region Île-de-France. This is less than 2% of the whole people concerned. Thus, 98 % of the children, women and men are the object of what UN High Commissionner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al-Hussein, named french « punitive and destructive » policy towards « Roma ».




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