// The Roma: rejected by France // There are some 2 million in Europe, and less than 15,000 in France. Yet, in 2010, they were victims of massive evictions of their places of life and our country. Eva Joly pointed out a “state racism”, observed both on the ground and through the texts of laws.
“The poorest” targeted
“France remains under surveillance,” says Viviane Reding at the end of October 2010. The European Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship has not finished with the homeland of human rights and its evacuation policy illegal camps, considered discriminatory [ 1 ] against Roma [ 2 ], mainly Bulgarian and Romanian citizens, therefore European and, enjoying freedom of movement and residence throughout the Schengen area. The Commission is expected to decide soon on possible prosecution.
“In total, more than 500 illegal camps were dismantled during August 2010. Travelers, [ 3 ] French, accounted for between two thirds and three quarters of dismantling. And have represented 80% of those involved, “defended Nicolas Sarkozy at a press conference in Brussels last September.
” Honestly, no ! “, Replied the spokesman of the French Union of Gypsy Associations (UFAT). “It is mainly the Roma community that has been targeted. At home, there was no expulsion. It still includes 150 caravans out of 200. We did not see that, “he said, leaving a meeting with Christian Frémont, chief of staff at the Elysee, September 23 [ 4]. The president of the UFAT, Eugene Daumas confirmed: “The dismantling of camps in August, high-profile, concern only one category: the poorest. That is to say a few thousand people, mainly Roma.
Malik Salemkour, coordinator of the Romeurope collective and vice-president of the League of Human Rights, joined by telephone in October 2010 also indignant: “This is totally inaccurate and disproportionate. But we have no element to reverse these percentages. Only Prefects have the numbers. France will have to prove to the European Commission that the Roma were not the only ones targeted by these punitive expeditions. We, in the field, we only saw them! “. The representative of Romeurope estimates that as of 10 October 2010, 555 camps had been dismantled.
For these Roma migrants, no reception area is planned. And for good reason, generally, these people are sedentary in their country of origin. They should therefore have access to public or private housing, otherwise, for lack of resources, temporary accommodation and accommodation. But these are few in France.
From their camps or slums, the poor Bulgarian and Rumanian Roma are also controlled … and often sent back to their countries.
“Flesh with statistics”
The associations of the Romeurope collective count 10,000 to 15,000 Roma present on the French territory.
On November 3, 2010, in the National Assembly, Eric Besson speaks of a little less than 6,000 “assisted returns” (under the humanitarian return aid, the ARH, amounting to 300 euros per adult and 100 euros per child) and about 7,000 forced returns in the first nine months of 2010. No one in the Ministry wants to be interviewed on this subject, according to France Inter which disseminates the information. Malik Salemkour says: “This summer, about 2000 Roma were expelled from France. But this number is in the regular trend.
“Last year, about thirty Roma were expelled every day. 1,000 people a month, approx. For 2009, the Ministry of Immigration set a target of 30,000 renewed at the border. In that year, about 9,658 Romanians and Bulgarians, 95% of Roma, were returned to their countries of origin, which represents one third of those expelled.
“Roma are flesh to statistics. Their dismissal makes it possible to make a number. When they are evacuated from an illegal camp, there is no desire to relocate them “, adds the head of Romeurope.
“The ARH is proposed by the French Office of Immigration and Integration (OFII) to all those people who want to expel from France, under the threat of an initial evacuation, that of their place of life . To avoid a violent and traumatic expulsion from the place of life as well as from the territory, this assistance to families is presented. They sign a paper and get on a bus for the plane, “he says.
If the Roma refuse, the Border Police (PAF) distributes Obligations to Leave the Territory (OQTF), valid when the Bulgarian or Romanian national is present in France for more than three months, he is neither employee nor student, and that it does not justify any health insurance or minimum income (can not exceed the amount of a RMI-RSA).
It can also issue Prefectural Border Expedition Orders (APRF) when the person has been present on the territory for less than three months but has violated the labor law legislation, or is a threat to public order (begging, shoplifting, illegal occupation of land, prostitution are not recognized by law as facts threatening the stability of the state, and usually the courts cancel the APRF based on these offenses – but case law allows them to be identified as such) or “an unreasonable burden on the French social assistance system”, which amounts to the same as not to justify a minimum income.
A foreign national has 48 hours to appeal against an APRF, and one month against an OQTF. Beyond thirty days, if the judge has not questioned the decision of the authorities, or that the person could not or did not want to assert his rights, this person is arrested, placed in center detention and expulsion … as soon as it is subject to an identity check.
“The procedures [to appeal] are expensive and the time is short. In addition, you have to have a postal address … Many families therefore agree to leave because they know they can come back, “Malik Salemkour concludes. In addition, the individual examination of the situation of a person before his expulsion is a European right denied to the Roma in practice. Generally, it is a whole family or a slum or camp that is expelled.
In an article in Le Monde, dated October 28, 2010, Rob Kushen, director of the European Center for Roma Rights, reports that a French municipality issued an eviction order every six minutes during an evacuation! It also recalls the destruction of homes and property, and the threats suffered by the Roma, which push them to opt for assisted return to their country.
A premeditated action
As of June 24, 2010, a first circular [ 5 ], a “user manual”, as described by Le Canard social on September 9, 2010, addressed to all the prefects of France recalled “the conditions in which you can proceed to evacuation of illegal encampments; take measures to remove their occupants, when they do not have French nationality and are in an irregular situation in our territory “.
All the legislative arsenal for the expulsion of a place of life and France is detailed, in … 8 pages! Signed by Brice Hortefeux (Ministry of the Interior) and Eric Besson (Ministry of Immigration), the missive enjoins zeal, immediately: “The fight against illegal encampments is a priority on which we ask you to personally involve “. A “systematic review” is requested of each of the illegal camps and authorized “to proceed immediately to evacuation operations”.
The government and the president have not waited for the tragic events of Saint-Aignan July 16 and 17, 2010, including the degradation of downtown Saint-Aignan by French sedentary families of gypsy culture, to declare open hunting Illegal groups of Travelers and Roma, and even the Roma themselves.
“There may have been a media manipulation by French leaders to show their firmness in delinquency, deportation and treatment of insalubrity. In the same way as an ethnicization, a resumption of the theme: foreign = danger. But since 2002, it’s the same thing. There is a hardening of the speech, a disturbing drift, a turn to the extreme right, denounced, among others, by Alain Juppé, Raffarin, Kouchner “, remarks the representative of Romeurope and the League of the humans right .
Even before the entry of Romania and Bulgaria into the European Union, France had taken binding measures vis-à-vis the future new citizens of the EU.
As reported in Romeurope’s 2009 annual report: “One week before welcoming the two newcomers, a circular from the Minister of the Interior clarified the arrangements for admission to stay and removal of Romanian and Bulgarian nationals. from 1 January 2007. In 2004, the government did not consider it appropriate to do the same when ten new Member States entered Europe. It is therefore clear in December 2006 to anticipate the arrival of nationals of these two countries and to provide the legal means to send them home. This circular, the provisions of which are then entered in the regulatory part of the Code of Entry and Stay of Foreigners and Asylum (CESEDA) by a decree of 21 March 2007,
It is these “provisions” that allow PAF to distribute APRF and OQTF, on the basis of the reasons already mentioned.
Also, the Accession Treaties of Romania and Bulgaria to the European Union allow Member States to restrict access to their labor market to nationals of these two countries until 31 December 2013, end of the period called “transient”. France, like ten other countries in Western Europe, has not fully opened its market. In employment, for Romanians and Bulgarians, the rules are the same as for nationals of third countries of Europe, those for foreign workers. Romanians and Bulgarians, unlike other citizens of the Union, must therefore apply for a work permit and employers pay a fee. The procedure is, moreover, complex, long and demanding.
By contrast, Romanians and Bulgarians are full European citizens when they apply for asylum or a residence permit. They are rejected; their application filing is often denied. Invoked, the “Aznar protocol” which aims to prevent a national of an EU country to seek asylum in another Member State, and “the general vagueness generated by the abolition of the residence permit requirement” for Union citizens “, says Romeurope’s 2009 annual report, even though this title can be granted on request.
And when Romanians and Bulgarians ask to benefit from the common law of foreigners in France, more advantageous for the hour because allowing the stay to any person having a French parent, or a health requiring it: it is impossible. They are not foreigners but European citizens!
“In France, the Roma are showing great resistance,” admits Malik Salemkour. “They work in the dark but their living conditions here are no more unworthy than in Romania or Bulgaria. There, the Roma live on the sidelines, in ethnic neighborhoods, they are still regarded as ex-slaves [ 6 ]. The economic crisis has affected the rural and the less qualified … often Roma. The Roma, in rural areas, are becoming more precarious and faster than others, “he argues. “Romeurope asks for access to employment for these European citizens, and fundamental rights: the schooling of children, care of people, a healthy habitat,” continues this spokesman.
“All these Roma families, in France, once they work, legally, we do not mark them anymore,” he says.
“Current policies raise the question of the free movement of the poor in Europe, in the European Union, at least. We erect barriers. Each country says to the other, “Keep your poor! “. European solidarity stops for the poor, “concludes the Vice President of the League of Human Rights.