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Expulzarea imigranților romi din Franța e ‘ilegală’

de (12-9-2010)
London, 9 September 2010
The Equal Rights Trust (ERT) calls on the government of France to adhere to the European Parliament Resolution dated 9 September 2010 and immediately halt the process of “voluntary deportation” of Roma immigrants residing in the country. ERT – also concerned by the news that the Italian authorities too have resumed dismantling Roma camps – calls on the European Commission to adopt a Roma strategy which would ensure equal rights for the Roma in a manner which respects them as European citizens.

The present wave of expulsions from France began on 19 August 2010, and within two weeks, approximately 1000 Roma had been deported and 128 Roma camps dismantled. ERT condemns this discriminatory action by the French authorities which is in clear contravention of France’s obligations under international and European law.

Racial Discrimination
– Article 18 of the EC Treaty and Directive 2004/38/EC (Freedom of Movement Directive) protect the freedom of movement and the right of migrant European Union citizens to reside in other EU member states, while Article 18 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union enshrines the right to non-discrimination on grounds of nationality. Consequently, member states may only distinguish between their own nationals and other EU citizens if such distinction is both permitted by legislation and satisfies the test of proportionality.

Under the Treaty of Accession EU member states are permitted to place some restrictions on Romanian and Bulgarian citizens’ right to residence in their territory. However, a law or policy which singles out for less favourable treatment one ethnic group within a European nationality – in this case, citizens of Romania and Bulgaria of Romani ethnic origin residing in France – is strongly prohibited and constitutes a clear case of race discrimination in violation of Articles 2(1) and 26 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Article 2(1) of the International Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination, Article 19 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and Directive 2000/43/EC (Race Equality Directive).

Collective Expulsion – The actions of the French authorities also violate the legal prohibition on collective expulsion under Article 4 of Protocol 4 to the European Convention on Human Rights. This provision has been interpreted by the European Court of Human Rights as “any measure compelling aliens, as a group, to leave a country, except where such a measure is taken on the basis of a reasonable and objective examination of the particular case of each individual alien of the group”(Conka v. Belgium, Application no. 51564/99, Para 59). Consequently, collective expulsions are prohibited under European law, including in cases where such measures are targeted solely against those who have overstayed the three month residency period allowed under the Freedom of Movement Directive and have failed to register with local authorities.

Alleged “Voluntary” Nature of Deportations – ERT also questions the “voluntary” nature of the deportations. The cash incentive of 300 Euro for each adult and 100 Euro for each child deported “voluntarily” does not mask instances of rough policing, destruction of Roma homes and the confiscation of identity papers by those managing the deportation process. Such treatment casts severe doubt upon the “voluntary” nature of the deportations. By representing the deportations as “voluntary”, the French authorities appear to have attempted to circumvent rules of due process. Consequently, the Roma have been stripped of their legal right to be given reasons for their deportation, and the right of appeal.

Finally, ERT is also concerned that the ongoing deportations are merely one extreme manifestation of a wider xenophobic and discriminatory trend in French policy. The deportations follow a proposal made by President Nicolas Sarkozy on 30 July 2010 to strip “French citizens of foreign origin” of their nationality as punishment for violent crimes committed against law enforcement officers. If passed into law, this proposal would violate Article 1 of the French Constitution as well as France’s obligations under European and international law, and may also contravene France’s treaty obligation to prevent statelessness.

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