View Full Version : Citizen Rights Don't Apply to Roma

Magda Hassan
08-07-2010, 10:32 PM
Citizen Rights Don't Apply to Roma
By Claudia Ciobanu

BUCHAREST, Aug 7, 2010 (IPS) - All major European countries plan mass expulsions of Roma or demolitions of Roma settlements. Rights groups warn that these measures entail the criminalisation of an entire ethnic group, and break EU law.

The French executive announced Jul. 29 that 300 illegal Roma camps would be demolished in the next three months. According to the President's office, the camps are "sources of illegal trafficking, profoundly shocking living standards, exploitation of children for begging, prostitution and crime."

By the end of this year, France is set to adopt legislation to expel undocumented Roma residing in the country, "for reasons of public order."

Germany is set to deport 12,000 Roma back to Kosovo over the next years. Half of them are children and adolescents who grew up in Germany.

Sweden has this year deported 50 Roma from Eastern Europe for begging, even though begging is not a crime in this country. Denmark deported 23 Eastern European Roma in July. In Belgium, 700 Roma were forced to exit Flanders in July, and given only temporary shelter in Wallonia.

The UK government last month announced legislation that would lead to the eviction of tens of families of Roma and travelers, pushing them into illegality.

The steps taken by Western governments come right in the middle of the Decade of Roma Inclusion (2005-2015), "an unprecedented commitment by European governments to improve the socio-economic status and social inclusion of Roma."

In 2008, Italy declared a state of emergency over Roma immigrants.

Around 10 million Roma are estimated to be living in Europe. The largest concentration is in Romania, at two million according to unofficial estimates. Hundreds of thousands live in other Central and Eastern European countries.

The measures of Western governments are mainly directed at Eastern European Roma who have moved west in search of a better life following EU expansion. Despite being European citizens, they are now threatened with expulsion, in breach of the EU basic right to free movement.

Targets of evictions and demolitions are also "travelers", groups of people who often have Western European nationality but maintain a traveling lifestyle in keeping with their culture. Between 300,000-500,000 travelers (gens de voyage) are estimated to be living in France, while the UK is thought to host around 18,000 Roma and traveler caravans.

Human rights groups say that some Western politicians are keen on blurring the lines between travelers and Roma (itself a highly heterogeneous population made up of mostly sedentary groups but also of nomads) in order to give the impression that Roma are difficult to integrate.

Additionally, claim the activists, politicians are emphasising crimes committed by some Roma to create a sense that entire communities of Roma are threats to public safety, thus creating grounds for mass expulsions.

"Indeed there are Roma who are in charge of trafficking networks, but they represent less than one percent of this population, the rest are victims," says David Mark, head of the Civic Alliance of Roma in Romania (a coalition of over 20 Roma NGOs).

"But because that one percent commits crimes and the authorities are not able to stop them, all Roma are being criminalised," Mark told IPS. "The announced expulsions and demolitions of camps are based on the criminalisation of an entire ethnic group, when criminality should be judged on a case by case basis in courts of law."

"What we are seeing is a greater call by receiving countries to restrict freedom of movement inside the EU," argues Rob Kushen, executive director of the European Roma Rights Centre. "The danger is that this will negatively affect Roma rights and the rights of all EU citizens."

The European Commission (executive body of the EU) has thus far steered clear of criticising member states for breaching EU freedom of movement. "We are not here, as the EC, to judge on individual cases of Roma people," said EC spokesman Matthew Newman. "It's for each government, each authority to make those decisions."

The French government has insisted Roma social inclusion is the responsibility of sending states, putting pressure on main sender Romania to take measures to contain the Westward migration flow.

But there have also been calls for a European approach to Roma rights. The Swedish government has demanded a European action plan for guaranteeing access to housing, education and jobs and even the establishment of truth commissions to investigate anti-Roma abuses.

Rights activists, however, argue that the main obstacle to Roma social inclusion is the blatant lack of political will in all European countries.

According to David Mark, EU legislation is solid on Roma rights and European funding is available, but the irresponsibility of national governments makes it hard for these to materialise in progress for Roma.

"If even mainstream parties (such as France's governing Union for a Popular Movement) start adopting far-right anti-Roma discourses, where will we end up?" Mark says.

"Much of the problem is with the willingness of member states to use the available resources," Kushen told IPS. "Member states do not see the size of the problem. The EC should compel member states to collect information on the Roma that could serve as the basis for policies. It could impose conditions on funding to make sure it is used for Roma or at least does not violate their rights."

Even though he considers the recent measures of Western governments dangerous, Kushen hopes the outrage they caused leads to a positive momentum for a comprehensive EU inclusion programme.

Mark is more pessimistic. "We, the Roma, will always be persecuted," he says. "The first step made by Nazis towards dehumanisation was to stereotype. They started by classifying Roma as anti-social. Politicians today use stereotyping of Roma for their political goals. There is a serious danger in this."

Jan Klimkowski
09-13-2010, 07:45 PM
If the memo is accurately quoted, then the French government order to police is prima facie racist.

Sarkozy has no shame.

Orders to police on Roma expulsions from France leaked

A memo on the break-up of Roma camps may breach international human rights laws, say critics of expulsions

September 13, 2010

Claims by the French government that it is not targeting Roma camps for destruction and deportations have been challenged by a leaked document suggesting police are following president Nicolas Sarkozy's orders.

Critics of the controversial expulsions are examining the internal memo to establish whether it breaks international human rights laws on discrimination.

The order, circulated to police chiefs last month as France began expelling nearly 1000 Roma Gypsies to Romania and Bulgaria, appeared to confirm the ethnic minority was being singled out.

It comes as an embarrassment to immigration minister Eric Besson who, just a few days ago, said sending police to destroy camps and settlements set up by travellers from Romania and Bulgaria and ordering inhabitants to leave France was not aimed at the Roma.

He insisted they were being treated no differently to other European Union migrants who do not meet France's residency rules. "France has not taken any measure specifically against the Roma [who] are not considered as such but as natives of the country whose nationality they have," he said.

However, a leaked memo, dated 5 August 2010, and signed by the chief of staff for interior minister Brice Hortefeux, reminds French officials of a "specific objective" set out by Sarkozy.

"300 camps or illegal settlements must be evacuated within three months; Roma camps are a priority," the memo reads. "It is down to the prefect [state representative] in each department to begin a systematic dismantling of the illegal camps, particularly those of the Roma."

Besson told France 2 state television that he was not aware of the leaked circular: "I wasn't a recipient, and therefore I didn't need to know about it," he said.

He refused to make any further comment but added: "The concept of ethnic minorities is a concept that does not exist among the government."

The document has sparked furious reactions from the opposition and critics of the expulsions. The Group for Information and Support for Immigrants (Gisti) says it is examining the memo to establish if it breaks any criminal laws.

"Can you imagine a circular specifically naming Jews or Arabs?" said Stephane Maugendre, a lawyer and president of Gisti.

The Socialist party has also questioned whether the document is legal and said it smacked of "xenophobic policy".

"I ask the European commission and its president Jose Manuel Barroso to initiate infringement proceedings against the French government to end the indignity and stigma unacceptable to the European citizens that are Roma," said Harlem Desir, a French Socialist MEP.

France has vowed to continue the Roma deportations despite vehement criticism at home and from the EU and United Nations.

Last Thursday the European parliament passed a resolution by 337 votes to 245 calling on Paris to "immediately suspend all expulsions of Roma", saying the policy "amounted to discrimination".

The MEPs admitted their demands were not legally binding but pointed out that mass expulsions are prohibited under EU law "since they amount to discrimination on the basis of race and ethnicity".

Belgian MEP Guy Verhofstadt, a former prime minister, said it was unacceptable for politicians to be "tempted by populist, racist and xenophobic policies".

German MEP Martin Schulz, head of the European parliament's socialist group, said: "The country that gave us liberte, egalite and fraternite has taken a different, regrettable path today."

The French authorities appear determined and defiant in the face of such international condemnation. Today officials in Marseille announced more than 100 Roma would be flown back to their home countries tomorrow having accepted �300 to return.


Jan Klimkowski
09-13-2010, 07:53 PM
Additional quotes on the subject of the racist police order:

French interior ministry ordered police to single out Roma, memo shows

The French interior ministry ordered police to single out Roma in its crackdown on illegal camps, a leaked memo shows, despite government denials that gipsies were specifically targeted.

September 13, 2010

The memo orders police chiefs and regional government prefects to launch "a systematic operation to dismantle illegal camps, prioritising those of the Roma".

These unambiguous "specific objectives" expose the French government's claims that Roma are not being targeted on grounds of their ethnicity as a lie. They also blow a hole in France's claim to be treating cases of illegal immigration on a purely case-by-case basis.

The document is particularly shocking in France, a fiercely secular and "colour blind" state where ethnic categories are banned from national statistics.

The document, signed by interior minister Brice Hortefeux's chief of staff and dated August 5, said: "Three hundred camps or illegal settlements must be dismantled within three months, prioritising those of the Roma."

Its contents counter claims made last Thursday by Eric Besson, the immigration minister, who said: "France has not taken any measure specifically against the Roma (who) are not considered as such but as natives of the country whose nationality they have."

Yesterday, Mr Besson scrambled to deny any knowledge of the memo. "I was not aware of this circular. It was not addressed to me and I did not need to know about it," he said.

"I don't know if it was a blunder," he added. However, Xavier Bertrand, the head of Mr Sarkozy's ruling UMP party said he the memo was "the translation of our policy and I take full responsibility for it."

France has deported almost 1,000 Roma migrants to Bulgaria and Romania since President Sarkozy made a hardline speech calling for a crackdown on illegal camps last month. More than 8,000 Roma have been deported since the beginning of the year, compared to 9,875 expulsions in 2009.

Following the memo leak, the European Commission issued a reminder that under EU law, no specific ethnic group can be targeted for any national policy. "No citizen must become the target of repressive action because he belongs to a specific ethnic minority or a certain nationality," said a spokesman for the EU commissioner for justice, Viviane Reding.

French euro MP Harlem Desir said it was illegal.

"This circular is absolutely contrary to numerous French, European and international legal texts, and contravenes several fundamental rights recognised by the European Union and France," he said.

The UN's human rights chief also issued a broadside against France, saying dismantling Roma camps "can only exacerbate the stigmatisation of Roma and the extreme poverty in which they live." "I urge European States, including France, to adopt policies enabling Roma people to overcome their marginalisation," said Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.


Peter Lemkin
09-14-2010, 05:45 AM
Here in the Czech Republic they are full-fledged second class citizens. I belive one is a policeman in Prague, none have been in the legislature, most Roma children get put in schools for the retarded or 'slow' without tests to verify and on and on....down. Here is an short and interesting history of the Roma here. NB - the Nazis besides using their 'usual' camps for the Roma, build two special Roma-only one here [few know this]. The Roma have been trying to make one into a memorial, but the pig farmer who now owns the land and the buidlings has silent support from high places and locals to not.......The two Czech Commandants of the Camps were never punished after the War.....Police still regularly check or harrass Roma now, without cause.

The History of the Roma Minority in the Czech Republic

The exact year of the Roma's arrival on the territory of the present-day Czech Republic is difficult to determine, as the chronicles of the time don't mention their arrival in any clear or concrete way. In the chronicle of "Dalimil," in the chapter "About the Pagans" the author makes reference to Tatar scouts who were moving through the Czech Lands after 1242, and with whom he could be confusing the Roma, though Roma scholars haven't verified this document.

Another reference to the Roma in the Czech Lands comes from the end of the 14th century, when the Executioner's Book of the Lord of Rozmberk contains the testimony of a condemned man, who names as his accomplice a "black gypsy." This could be fact, as the Roma arrived in Central Europe in the 15th century. Many historians also refer to this century as the "Golden Age of the Roma in Europe," when they were being received by aristocrats and being given letters of protection and other privileges. Solid proof of the Roma's residence on Czech territory is actually one of these letters of protection, which was issued on April 17th, 1423 at Spissky Castle by the Holy Roman Emperor and Czech King, Zikmund. The text of this letter has been preserved and reads as follows:

"We, Zikmund, King of Hungary, Bohemia, Dalmatia, Croatia, ..., Our loyal Ladislav, Duke of his Gypsy people, humbly beseeches us for affirmation of our special leniency. Receive then his civil appeal and don't refuse this letter. In the case that the aforementioned Ladislav and his people appear in whichever place in Our Empire, in any town or village, We recommend that you show to him the loyalty which you would show to Us. Protect them, so that Duke Ladislav and his people may live without prejudice within your walls. If some one among them is found drunk, if they should cause a quarrel of any kind, We desire and decree that only Ladislav himself, Duke, has the right to judge this person, punish, give pardon and absolution, or cast him out from your circle ..."

The Roma brought this letter with them when they arrived in France, and because it was issued in the Czech Lands (La Boheme) and by the Czech King (roi de Boheme), the French people named the newcomers after the land from whence they came, les Bohemiens.

The first to observe that the Roma were not servants of God was the Church. This was also began their persecution, which was soon joined by the secular powers, which saw the Roma as Turkish spies. In 1427, the Archbishop of Paris excommunicated the Roma from the Church and the attitude of the population changed radically. And so began four centuries of cruel discrimination. Rulers of individual countries began to issue decrees by which the Roma were ordered out of their territory. With the persecution, the Roma were exposed to torture, bodily mutilation, and then execution. The greatest persecution in the Czech Lands came after 1697, when the Roma were placed by Imperial decree outside the law. Anyone could shoot, hang or drown them, and killing Roma wasn't considered a crime.

The persecution of the Roma at the end of the Middle Ages and the beginning of the Renaissance belongs among the darkest pages of European history. Europe never really accepted them, due to their dissimilarity, and also in part to the fact that they often found provisions on their travels by stealing, which was then used as justification for their persecution. In the first few centuries, the ill will they generated among the locals was offset by their migration to a new region, where they weren't yet known. The Roma's life was never easy, they were always among the poorest population groups, and supposedly Christian Europe never behaved towards them in a very Christian manner.

In Central and Southeastern Europe, it was a little different situation than in the West. The Turkish advance, which expanded the borders of the Ottoman Empire in the 16th and 17th centuries to the area of southern Slovakia, transformed the situation between the other inhabitants and the Roma, when both warring sides expoited the services of the local residents. In the case of the Roma, except for fortification and building work, mainly the services of the Romani blacksmiths were put to use.

From the second half of the 16th century, there were instances of certain towns allowing the settlement of Romani blacksmiths with their families. In Hungary, the families of talented musicians were settled by music-loving feudal lords on their lands. The foundations for a permanently settled way of life among the Roma population were created in this way in the Hungarian lands. The persecution of the Roma was ended by decree in Austria by the middle of the 18th century by Maria Theresa..

The intent of her decree was the assimilation of the Roma ethnic group. The Empress realized that the differences in living standards between the Roma and the other inhabitants were enormous, and for this reason she tried to tie them to the soil. She forbade the nomadic life and the use of the Romani language. Only official marriages were permitted, they were forced to wear different clothes, and children were taken away and placed witn non-Roma families for re-education. An interesting document of the period by Ab Hortis was preserved which relates everything about the situation of the Roma community in the Hungary at the government of Maria Theresa in great detail. Maria Theresa's decree may seem inhumane by today's standards, but she established the recognition of the Roma as an existing element of the population of the country.

In the period of Maria Theresa and Joseph II, a sizable number of Roma settled in the Czech Lands (mostly, but also in Slovakia) or passed through in a semi-migratory way of life. The settlers were mostly bricklayers, tinkers, blacksmiths, trough-makers, road-menders, musicians, and so on, or whatever they recieved permission from the community to do.

The decree of Maria Theresa's son Joseph II was more concerned with the education and christianization of the Roma. In this area, the ruler was ahead of his time. The results of his efforts were evident in the Czech Lands, where the Czech-Moravian Roma were almost assimilated with the population.

At the end of the 19th century, the differences between the Roma and Czechs began to increase. Compulsory education and factory work was changing the mentality of the whole society, while the Roma stagnated. From a nation of able craftsmen and fine musicians, the advance of industrialization, to which they were unable to adapt, left only a socially backward population. Before WWI, nearly all Roma were illiterate and, faced with the discrimination they felt in "gadje" society, had no motivation to educate themselves, as even with an education they would have difficulty finding a place in society.

The First Republic made an attempt at resolving "the Gypsy question" in 1927 by issuing the Law on Wandering Gypsies. In practice this meant that they all had to apply for identification and for permission to stay the night. The aim was to "civilize" their way of life, but the law so restricted and deprived the Roma of their civil liberties, that it became an expression of the slanderous, defamatory, and villifying attitude of society at the time towards the ethnic group as a whole. This law remained in effect for the entire pre-Munich period and for a rather long time afterward.

But the greatest tragedy of all for the European Roma was World War II, during which they were considered by Nazi racial theories to be an inferior race, just like the Jews.

The first exceptional anti-Roma measure in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia was the edict of the Ministry of the Interior in 1939, which ordered all Roma to settle down and give up their migratory way of life. Anyone not complying with this edict could be put in to work camps - in Bohemia the camp was in Lety u Pisku, in Moravia it was Hodonin u Kunstatu. With the Decree on the Preventive Fight against Criminality (1942), the government introduced police detention along the German Reich model, which took place in detention camps at Lety, Hodonin, Prague-Ruzyne and in Pardubice, or in the concentration camp at Auschwitz I.

According to the census of August 2, 1942, more than 6,500 Roma from the Protectorate were rounded up, of which the smaller part were sent off to the newly opened gypsy camps, up til then work camps, in Lety and Hodonin.

The Lety camp was intended for the concentration of "anti-social" Roma from Bohemia, and 1,256 prisoners passed through it, including 36 children who were born there to imprisoned mothers. Debilitating work, consistent hunger, excessive crowding in insect-infested barracks as well as the precarious state of health of the internees - it all contributed to their sickness and death. Such a death claimed the lives of 326 men, women and children. Three transports were arranged of the other prisoners who didn't survive the war: the first left Dec. 3, 1942 for the first Auschwitz concentration camp and consisted of 16 men and 78 women in total, the second headed for the gypsy camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau on Mar. 11, 1943 and included 16 women and four men hospitalized before the departure in Pisek and Strakonice hospitals, and in the third group, on Apr. 7, 1943, the mass of prisoners was deported, which included 215 men and boys and 205 women and girls.

The Hodonin camp was meant for the internment of "anti-social" Moravian Roma and in it were recorded 1,396 prisoners, including 34 children born there. Of this number, 207 prisoners died and 855 of them were sent to Auschwitz. The first shipment of 45 men and 30 women was set up for Dec. 7, 1942 and its destination was Auschwitz. The second two groups ended up at the gypsy camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau; one left on Aug. 22, 1943 with 749 prisoners of both sexes and and all age groups and the second left Jan. 28, 1944 with 26 adults and 5 children who had been imprisoned in a police jail in Brno after the closing of the Hodonin camp.

The commandant of the gypsy camp in Lety was Captain J.Janovsky, the commandant of the camp in Hodonin was S. Blahynka, and both camps were run solely by Czech personnel and none of them were punished after 1945.

The majority of Roma, who had a permanent residence and could demonstrate steady work, after the implemented census remained free for the time being. Their deportation came about by two edicts issued at the turn of 1942-3 by the Reich Ministry of the Interior.

In March 1943, a substantial part of the Roma were sent away, first from Moravia (1,038 people on Mar. 7), then from Bohemia (642 people on Mar. 11), and finally from both areas at once (1,042 people on Mar. 19). The second stage of deportation was made up of shipments in May (853 people total from Bohemia and Moravia on May 7, of which 420 were from the liquidation of the Lety camp), August (767 people total from Moravia, of which 749 came from the liquidation of the Hodonin camp), and October (93 people from Bohemia and Moravia on Oct. 19). The final Roma were deported from the Protectorate either in smaller shipments (the 31 prisoners remaining from the Hodonin camp on Jan. 28, 1944), or individually.

In the files of the gypsy camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau were written the names of 4,493 Roma from the Protectorate. Of all of them, the only ones with a hope of surviving were those transfered to work at other concentration camps, such as Auschwitz I, Natzweiler, Flossenburg, Buchenwald, and Ravensbruck, from where they were then distributed to other concentration camps, especially in Dora, Dachau, Neuengamm, Bergen-Belsen, Mathausen and so on.

After liberation, only 583 Romani men and women returned to their homes. The original Roma population in the Czech lands was thus almost annihilated during the period of the Nazi occupation. A similar fate befell the Sinta and the Roma in the detached Sudetenland.

In the Slovak Republic, which was declared a non-sovereign state under the protection of the Reich on March 14, 1939, the fascist regime implemented its persecution in a somewhat milder manner. On the previously prepared decree by the Czechoslovak government on corrective work camps, labor regiments were set up for transient concentration and labor exploitation of so-called asocials and Roma in Slovakia. Slovak Roma were subject to various discriminatory measures: they wern't allowed to travel by public transportation, their children couldn't go to school, they could only travel to cities or towns on specific days and times, and so on.

The original "Czech" Roma were almost wiped out, and many Roma came to Czechoslovakia after the war from Hungary and Romania. Roma from settlements in Eastern Slovakia started to migrate to the evacuated Czech frontier regions and were dispersed as a light work force throughout the industrial areas of Bohemia and Moravia. The overestimation of financial factors (starting with the presumption that the improvement of material conditions would change the mentality and psychology of the Roma) produced results far short of the effort expended. The results, in fact, did more towards degrading Romani society, as the abrupt disruption of community life amid the transfer of the Roma to unfamiliar conditions, resulting in the disintegration of traditional norms and values of the Roma and the erosion of traditional family life. Gradual dissolution of the traditional Romani ways of life and population growth also deepened the levels of poverty and social backwardness of the Roma, and thus the growth in their crime-rate.

In 1958, a law was passed concerning the permanent settlement of migrating persons, according to which national committees were supposed to help people who led a migratory way of life change to a settled one. In practice, however, this law enabled the police to cut off the wheels of caravans with impunity and to take the horses away from migrating Roma, and the Roma had to start living where they were assigned as a work force, without regard to the separation of families.

In 1965, another law was passed concerning the procedure of dispersing the gypsy population, through which Roma from eastern Slovakian Romani villages had to move to Bohemia to work. In this way, the Roma were being moved from dirt-floored cabins to flats with hot water, flushing toilets and doors.

In state social policy, the Roma were dealt with as a socially backward group of the population, and the state's remedies were confined to various forms of social support, which helped the Roma survive, but also taught them to rely completely on the state, and not on their own devices. These various forms of state support, which in many cases favoured the Roma, led to further grudges against and condemnations of the Roma by the majority, and thus increased their dependence and their inability to resolve their affairs on their own, increasing still further their dependence on the state. In this way, the state was also buying their reticence (much as it was of the Czechs), and the Roma still haven't made their voices heard, haven't demanded action on their difficult situation, and continue to quietly take support.

Magda Hassan
09-14-2010, 01:22 PM
Series of racist murders of Roma in Hungary unparalleled in present-day Europe
Budapest, 17.8.2010 12:47, (ROMEA) http://www.romea.cz./images/servis/Markus-Madarsko.jpg
Cowardly racist murders thats what Romani Rose has called the recent attacks by neo-Nazis on Roma in Hungary. Rose was speaking on 2 August at the annual international commemoration at the site of the former extermination camp at Auschwitz. He went on to say the murders represented a new dimension of the violence committed against this minority and called on European governments to recognize Roma organizations as equal partners and to intensify cooperation with them.
One week later, the Hungarian Police completed their investigation into the series of attacks and handed the file over to the state attorney. Media report that three men are to be charged with murder and a fourth, allegedly the driver, will be charged as an accomplice to one incident. Over the course of more than a year, six Roma people died as a result of the nine criminal acts under indictment.
At a commemoration of the Roma victims of the Holocaust held at the start of August in Hungary, Jnos Bogdn, Jr. of the Party for Roma Unity (MCF) spoke of a new Roma Holocaust and pointed out that as a result of the recent parliamentary elections, numerous representatives of the fascist party Jobbik now sit in the Hungarian Parliament. According to Mria Silk Szurmain, a department head at the Hungarian National Resources Ministry, the recent economic crisis has brought citizens prejudices against minorities to the surface: These problems, which were swept under the carpet for years, must be resolved. The Hungarians and the Roma do not face separate futures: Their future must be a joint one, and they must share responsibility for it.
After one of the most brutal of the attacks in Hungary last August, then-Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities Vladimr pidla said: The Roma have become the target of an organized racist violence which feeds on political populism, verbal expressions of hatred, and media hogwash, making Roma the scapegoats for larger social problems. Due to its previous governments unthrifty budget policies and its state debt, Hungary is one of the main victims of the global economic crisis, which has affected the daily life of a large number of its inhabitants.
Murder modeled on The Turner Diaries
The attacks featured a shocking brutality. The perpetrators selected Roma residences located on the outskirts of towns, specifically the very last house from which their escape route could be covered by a forest, or the last house on a street which could not be seen from the town. They then threw more than one Molotov cocktail at the targeted home and shot the Roma as they fled the ensuing fire. In one case they killed a five-year-old boy by shooting him in the head.
These executions were performed with the same kind of felonious brutality that is described in detail in a book that has been called the neo-Nazi Bible: The Turner Diaries, a novel by US neo-Nazi William Pierce in which the main character has a good time shooting randomly selected Afro-Americans in the streets of the USA. The main aim of his efforts is to influence white-skinned people to either deport citizens of other skin colors from the USA or segregate them. At the start of August 2010, police in the US arrested a man at an airport in Atlanta suspected of committing a series of similar attempted murders against dark-skinned people in recent weeks there. The perpetrator injured or stabbed his victims using either a hammer or a knife. Police say the attacks were racially motivated.
A lengthy, desperate, and costly investigation
The investigation of these murderous attacks in Hungary was accompanied by partial inaction and numerous police mistakes similar to those committed during the investigation of arson attacks against Roma in the Silesian area of the Czech Republic. It often took a long time before police released any information whatsoever about the cases, and when they did release information, it was very vague, indicating that the probable motivation for the murders was revenge by loan sharks who had not received payment. For months the hypothesis that this was a series of racist attacks committed by the same group of perpetrators was rejected, even though the various attacks were very similar to one another in terms of how they were performed. The most brutal attack was responded to by an ambulance that did not arrive until almost an hour after the crime - without medical staff on board. One victim of the shooting was still alive when it arrived, but the crew did not succeed in saving his life. Local police said the fire had occurred due to an electrical short even though bullets were found at the scene, and the investigation of the case did not even begin until 10 hours after the crime had been committed. The police officers responsible were eventually disciplined in response to public pressure over a long period of time.
Eventually police increased the amount of the reward being offered for information about the perpetrators, which in the end reached the previously unseen amount of EUR 380 000 (that is not a typo). This breathtaking amount of money testifies to the amount of pressure being placed on police by the government, which primarily faced harsh criticism from the international community over the inability of the Hungarian authorities to investigate and halt this series of violent murders. FBI profilers even flew in from the US to assist Hungarian police in compiling profiles of the perpetrators and identifying them.
No one ever got the reward. Police say they managed to track down the alleged perpetrators by wire-tapping a total of 4.5 million telephone calls. Experts estimate the investigation could not have cost taxpayers anything less than dozens of millions of euro. In mid-August of last year, a team of 120 detectives arrested the suspects at two night clubs in the eastern Hungarian town of Debrecn, where they were working as private security. Police allegedly also discovered the weapon used in the crimes at one of the clubs, a hunting rifle hidden in a secret space behind a wall in one of the rooms. A map was also found, marked with the sites of the previous attacks and three planned for the future. The day of the arrest was chosen in order to prevent the next attack. Of the six men arrested, two were released after interrogation and entered a witness protection program.
Charges filed two years after the first crime occurred
Zoltn Csizner, director of the Hungarian State Bureau of Investigation (NNI), took advantage of the closing of the investigation to present the results of the detectives work. The Slovak Press Agency TASR quoted him as saying members of the gang could be proven to have attacked nine sites, murdering six people and injuring dozens (five severely). They used approximately 80 rounds of ammunition total; at seven of the sites they also threw a total of 11 Molotov cocktails at residences. As if wanting to explain why the investigation had taken so long, Csizner said a series of such killings has never been seen anywhere in Europe. In his view, the suspects selected sites for attack where recent events had caused social unrest related to Roma. Another criterion was the possibility for a rapid escape from the crime scene. The motivation of the attacks was said to have been revenge for alleged wrongdoing committed by the Roma long ago (not, however, committed by the victims of the attacks) and an effort to spark fear in society. There was no personal connection between the victims and the perpetrators.
Andrs Dcs, head of the detective division at NNI, said at the press conference that three of the four men detained were suspected of having shot the Roma. The fourth detainee, according to police, was the driver during two of the anti-Roma attacks. NNI said the attacks were exceptional in terms of their motivation, which unlike other cases was neither financial nor sexual, but purely racist. Media reported that three of the attackers had publicly endorsed racist opinions and two had previously been connected with the Hungarian branch of the neo-Nazi organization Blood and Honor. During the 1990s, this organization also had a chapter in the Czech Republic which led to the establishment of the main Czech neo-Nazi group, National Resistance (Nrodn odpor). One of those charged in Hungary had worked as a professional soldier and served with a foreign mission in Kosovo. The group carefully rehearsed their attacks. Investigators say their attack on a refugee camp in Debrecn was their first test with live ammunition.
The media report that some of the attorneys for those indicted deny their clients guilt. Even though the suspects are said to have admitted to having been present at several crime scenes, they have denied taking part in the crimes which injured people. The expectation is that it will not at all be easy to convict the suspects of participating in specific crimes. Only one witness ever looked any of the perpetrators in the eyes: A 13-year-old Roma girl who survived the attack with serious injuries (her mother did not survive). Police are refusing to report the names of those detained and have not revealed which of the 15 total attacks from that time period they have managed to solve.
An international construction brigade helps the victims
Reconstruction of one of the burned-out homes is currently taking place in Hungary at the instigation of representatives of the German Football Union. During preparations for a match between Germany and Hungary, Theo Zwanziger, head of the German Football Union (DFB), asked representatives of the Central Council of German Sinti and Roma in Heidelberg how the union might help the victims of this racism. The Council turned to a branch of the International Building Camps (Internationaler Bauorden) in the nearby town of Ludwigshafen, which has been organizing building camps for years. In collaboration with Hungarian Roma organizations, they contacted the victims families to ask whether they would be interested in assistance. Three towns in which Roma homes had been burned down were eventually selected. In the town of Tatrszentgyrgy, approximately 80 km south of Budapest, the most brutal attack of all took place last February. Those shot were a father and his five-year-old son. The mother of the family hid herself and an infant from the assailants gunfire by staying in the burning house. One year after the attack, the survivors had nowhere to live and their insurance company was refusing to pay compensation for the damages so they could buy a new apartment.
This past May, a delegation of representatives of the Central Council of German Sinti and Roma and the football unions of both countries visited the family along with Petra Pau, Vice-Chair of the German Parliament, in order to negotiate how construction would proceed. The mother of the murdered five-year-old boy had moved into a relatives home with her other children, but in the end she decided to return to her own home if it would be reconstructed. During the visit, the guests gave the local elementary school gifts of football t-shirts and footballs. The DFB reported about this visit on its website, but the published text does not mention the racist attacks.
This summer, volunteers from Germany, Poland and Romania as well as members of the surviving family transformed the ruined house into a new home. Volunteers received tickets and air travel to the Germany-Hungary match at the end of May as a reward for their work.
Markus Pape, translated by Gwendolyn Albert

Magda Hassan
09-14-2010, 01:32 PM
Anti-Racist Solidarity Demonstrations in France Draw Over 100,000. Federation Anarchiste Propaganda Campaign (http://fireandflames.blogsport.de/2010/09/07/anti-racist-solidarity-demonstrations-in-france-draw-over-100000-federation-anarchiste-propaganda-campaign/)

7. September 2010
in Social War (http://fireandflames.blogsport.de/category/social-war/)

Over 100,000 people demonstrated across France this past weekend to protest the intensification of anti-Roma discrimination and persecution on behalf of the French state. Over 8,000 Roma have been deported to Bulgaria and Romania since the beginning of this year. Apart from mass deportations, Sarkozy has also announced plans to demolish illegal Roma camps, as well as revoking the French nationality of immigrants convicted for a long list of misdemeanor crimes.
The concept of revoking nationality sparks associations for many of the collaborationist regime during the Nazi occupation, a time when 15,000 French citizens, overwhelmingly of Jewish descent, were stripped of their nationality as a first step towards later deportation to Nazi death camps.
The Federation Anarchiste has thus launched a campaign to draw attention to the increasing legalized discrimination and persecution of Romas. Although the choice of historical parallel can be seen as more than controversial (although in all honesty, at least in France, it doesnt seem to be), it does seem to be an effective way to draw attention to the plight of these thousands of people and the systematic persecution which they are currently enduring.
(You can view the text in a readable size here (http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_rZROZLIIkvw/TINyL8Lvz4I/AAAAAAAAAgM/35WZxWEjyHk/s1600/TRACT+DEFINITIF+4+SEPTEMBRE+RECTO.jpg) )
On a final note, the mass demonstrations on Saturday also drew such unpleasant company as the French Socialist Party, a party who when ruling during the 90s was just as effective and vicious in its campaigns of deportations and persecution of immigrants. Many a demonstration was spent fighting against their bloc (or their youth section) to get them out of the demo (because how can you show yourself at anti-racist demonstrations when your party is deporting people??!!), which was not easy and cost us many injuries, as security was provided to them byoff duty Socialist Party affiliated police officers!
The Federation Anarchiste and the platformist Alternative Libertaire at the demonstration
And btwgeneral strike today!


Peter Lemkin
09-14-2010, 01:46 PM

On March 2, 1939, (two weeks before the German occupation), the Czecho-Slovak government ordered that a labor camp be set up for "people avoiding work and living off crime" (at the time labour duty was mandatory).

The construction of a camp near the village of Lety (in Psek District) started on July 17. The location was picked because nearby forests, owned by the House of Schwarzenberg, had been devastated by a storm. The first twelve prisoners arrived on July 17, 1940. The camp consisted of several large and small wooden barracks, and were surrounded by a wooden fence. Josef Janovsk was named commandant. Czech gendarmes (?etnci) guarded the places (service in such camps was considered a disciplinary punishment). Similar forced labor camps existed in Plan nad Lunic, Miroov, Hradi?ko and other places; prisoners were typically used for hard labour such as road construction. In total, around 50,000 people went through such labour camps during the war. The total number of prisons and camps of all kinds within the boundaries of modern-day Czech Republic was 2,125 (Frantiek Nedblek, Msta utrpen a vzdoru, Prague 1984).
As Labor camps

During 1940, 233 persons were sent to Lety, of whom 197 had previous criminal records. During 1941, the numbers were: 537 persons, 498 with previous criminal records, and 45 persons labeled as Gypsies. There were 27 escape attempts with 25 escapees caughtcitation needed. The prisoners were forced to do hard work in a quarry, were treated harshly and the sick lacked medicine. Many guards, including commander Janovsk, were regularly stealing food from the camp stores, further reducing meager rations for the prisoners.
Situation of Romani people in the Protectorate

Starting in 1940, Romani were forbidden to travel. In 1942, the measures already in force in Germany were applied in the Protectorate as well and, as an immediate result, a few hundred people deemed "asocial" were deported to Auschwitz. On June 24, 1942, the Protectorate Minister of the Interior, Richard Bienert, ordered the collection of statistics about "Gypsies, mixed Gypsies and people with gypsy style of life". citation neededAround 6,500 people were recorded in these statistics (based on older records and often on skin color). citation needed

On July 10, general Horst Bhme, Chief of Security Police, ordered Romani to be moved into two camps: Lety for Romanies from Bohemia, Hodonn for those from Moravia.
As 'Gypsy' camps

All pre-existing prisoners at Lety were released or transferred, except for 19 Romani already imprisoned. On October 2, 1942, the first new internees arrived. The capacity of the camp was soon exhausted. Even though new buildings were constructed, the site continued to be overcrowded. Some internees were able to secure their release by bribing officials in Prague.

Internees worked on logging trees, road building and on neighbouring farms. The food was meagre and the rations decreased over time. During winter, internees were not provided sufficient clothing. Brutality on behalf of the guards was common. A typhoid epidemic started in December 1942 and did not recede until the camp was closed in May 1943. Commander Janovsk was recalled for inability to deal with the epidemic and replaced by Commander Blahynka.

The first transport with 94 people to Auschwitz left on December 4, 1942, and a second followed with 417 people on May 14, 1943. Most of the remaining prisoners were sent to the camp in Hodonn.
Overall numbers

The records are generally considered incomplete and all figures can be considered minimums[1]:
Compilation of existing data gives a total of 1,327 prisoners interned in the camp
359 deaths (estimate), including all children born in the camp
Around 1/4 of the prisoners were either released or attempted to escape (approximately 100 escapees succeeded)
Over 500 deported to Auschwitz
Extermination at Auschwitz
Main article: Auschwitz concentration camp

During the course of the war, a total of 4,831 Romani from the Protectorate were sent to Auschwitz. Of those, few survived. Estimates vary, but well over 4,000 Romani died there.
Postwar investigations

After the war, several trials of Lety camp personnel began. Commander Janovsk was jailed and charged in 1945. The investigation was stopped in 1946 but restarted in 1948. Both guards and former prisoners gave testimony about his brutality and theft, but Janovsk was acquitted.

Guard Josef Hejduk was accused of torture, and former prisoners accused him of several murders. He was acquitted in 1947; the witnesses were not deemed trustworthy due to their criminal records. Harsh treatment was explained by the "need to deal with dangerous criminals." citation neededGuard Josef Lu??ek, also accused of torture, was found guilty of a minor offense and punished with an official warning (d?tka).

The Chief of Police in the Protectorate, Friedrich Sowa, was sentenced to 10 years for crimes that included extermination of Romani. The decision was later overturned, since he acting on Himmler's orders, and he was expelled from the country.

Forgotten and Rediscovered History

After the war, the existence of Romani camps was practically forgotten outside the Romani community, except by specialized historians. The whole community of Czech Romani was annihilated and the new ones, who came from Slovakia and Romania, had no knowledge of this tragedy. During the 1970s, a large factory pig farm was constructed near the site of the Lety camp. A tourist hotel has been built on the site of the Hodonn camp.

In 1992 the book Black Silence by Paul Polansky compiled historical records and testimonials of survivors. The book started heated discussions in the Czech Republic about Czech relations to the Romani and their history.

The most recent book on Lety is 1997's And No One Will Believe You by Markus Pape. One review noted[2]:

Previous studies of the Romani Holocaust in Czechoslovakia have, as Pape suggests, rejected survivors memories of extermination, executions, murders and rape carried out by the commandant and his guards, and have claimed that the camp did not function as an extermination camp. Such claims are joined to the assertion that survivors have, with the passing of time, confused what they saw with their own eyes in the camp. At the same time, previous studies have concluded that state documents exclude the possibility of such crimes having been committed. Pape succeeds, with this volume, in demonstrating that the state documents themselves not only support, but actually go further than, the eye-witness accounts; the idea that Lety really was an extermination camp is the first of the two main theses of the book... The second thesis of the book is that the camp at Lety operated with a certain independence from the Reich and erratic control from Prague.
Political symbolism

The existence of the camps (or, more precisely, that they were guarded by Czech policemen and the existence of the pig farm near Lety) quickly became a very powerful symbol in Czech politics. Some politicians, starting with minister Vladimr Mlyn?, tried to appeal to the conscience of the population; some warned of "rewriting history in name of political correctness" citation neededand "artificial planting of guilt into public opinion" citation needed. The issue started to attract minor political groups seeking to receive media attention.

Romani activists picked the pig farm as a symbol of the Czech stance toward the Romani, insisting it is a source of shame for the country internationally. They have repeatedly asked the government to relocate the farm. Their efforts gained further attention by a resolution of the European Parliament in 2005 asking the Czech Government to remove the farm. Opponents have criticized the massive cost of the farm's relocation, and insisted it has no impact on the actual life of the Romani people. They claim that the real intention of the activists is to extort money from the state and that the farm's removal would lead to a worsening of already tense relations between ethnic Czechs and Roma. In both 2005 and 2006, the Czech government announced its intention to buy and liquidate the farm, but has recently decided against it.

In 2005, an exhibition of historical photographs and documentation entitled Lety Detention Camp: History of Unmentioned Genocide was held in the European Parliament and toured cities in Europe.[3]

More recently, organizations in the Czech Republic such as the Committee for the Redress of the Romani Holocaust, Dzeno Association, and Romea are working to keep the issue alive and defend the site from right-wing extremist political demonstrations.[4]

^ http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/czech-republic/090515/pig-farm-roma-concentration-camp
^ Book review: Nikdo vm nebude v??it
^ Lety genocide exhibit moves from Brussels to Prague, causes political action Radio Prague, 28-06-2005
^ Renewed Controversy at the Lety Concentration Camp Radio Prague, 24-01-2006

Jan Klimkowski
09-14-2010, 05:56 PM

Literally, the "devouring" of the Romani in the Nazi genocide that Europe's ruling elites choose to forget.

Here are some estimated figures quoted on wikipedia, sourced to AJ Edelheit & H Edelheit, History of the Holocaust: a handbook and dictionary, Westview Press, 1994:

Pre-War Romani population ........ Romani population annihilated during WW2

Austria .............. 11,200 ................ 6,500
Belgium ............ 600 ...................... 400
Bohemia & Moravia ......13,000 ............ 5,500
Croatia ............ 28,500 ................... 28,000
Estonia ............. 766 ................... >700[43]
France .............. 42,000 .................. 14,000
Germany ............. 20,000 ............. 15,000
Hungary .......... 100,000 ................ 28,000
Italy .............. 25,000 .............. 2,000
Latvia ............ 1,000 ................ 1,000
Lithuania ............ 1,000 ................ 1,000
Luxembourg ............ 200 ................ 200
Poland ............ 50,000 ................ 13,000
Romania ............ 300,000 ................ 36,000
Serbia ............. 60,000 ............... 12,000
Slovakia ............ 80,000 ................ 2,000
Netherlands ............ 300 ................ 200
Soviet Union ........ 100,000 .............. 30,000

Total .......... 833,800 ................ 195,800

As the figures above show, the Ustase Nazi quisling regime in Croatia did a particularly efficient job of exterminating Romani at Jasenovac and other concentration camps.

For more on Jasenovac, see here:

Jan Klimkowski
09-14-2010, 06:09 PM
In Yitzhak Arad's book 'Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka - The Operation Reinhard Death Camps' the Holocaust survivor Jacob Wiernik described the arrival of the largest Gypsy group brought to the death camp Treblinka, in the spring of 1943: 'One day, while I was working near the gate, I noticed the Germans and Ukrainians making special preparations ... meanwhile the gate opened, and about 1,000 Gypsies were brought in (this was the third transport of Gypsies). About 200 of them were men, and the rest women and children ... all the Gypsies were taken to the gas chambers and then burned ...'


Jan Klimkowski
09-14-2010, 06:17 PM
There are harrowing photos at the url:


The Forgotten Holocaust

The Holocaust was the systematic Nazi annihilation of six million Jews during World War 2. The forgotten Holocaust, Porajmos, was the extermination of more than 220,000 Sinti and Roma (Gypsies) - a quarter to a half of the European population - during the Nazi genocide. It is difficult to assess the actual number of victims of this long-neglected chapter of the Holocaust but some estimates are as high 700,000.

The Nazis classified Sinti and Roma as 'subhumans' and stripped them of all civil rights. Persecution, arrests, and deportations were directed against all members of Sinti/Roma families and they faced starvation, illness and brutal labor, until they were consigned to the gas chambers.

After Germany invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941, Nazi mobile killing units, Die Einsatzgruppen, killed tens of thousands of Sinti/Roma in the German-occupied eastern territories. Many were subjected to deportation to the Nazi death camps and thousands were killed in Auschwitz-Birkenau, Chelmno, Belzec, Sobibor, and Treblinka.

Auschwitz-Birkenau was located nearby the provincial Polish town of Oshwiecim in Galacia, and was established by order of Hitler and Heinrich Himmler on 27 April 1940. Auschwitz-Birkenau became the killing centre where the largest numbers of European Jews were killed. By mid 1942, mass gassing of Jews using Zyklon-B began at Auschwitz, where extermination was conducted on an industrial scale with some estimates running as high as three million persons eventually killed through gassing, starvation, disease, shooting, and burning. 9 out of 10 were Jews. In addition, Gypsies, Soviet POWs, and prisoners of all nationalities died in the gas chambers.

A section of Auschwitz-Birkenau was established as a Gypsy camp and Gypies were brought in from the whole of Central Europe, many thousands of them in a very short time - most of them were gassed.

May 12, 1944, 39 Sinti children were transferred from the St. Josefspflege Orphanage in Mulfingen in Germany - 20 boys who received Nos. Z-9873-Z-9892 and 19 girl who received Nos. Z-10629-Z-10647. 35 of the children were killed ...

A Nazi doctor at Auschwitz, Josef Mengele, nicknamed The Angel Of Death, tortured Sinti victims and did medical experiments of unspeakable horror.

Victims were put into pressure chambers, tested with drugs, castrated, frozen to death. Children were exposed to experimental surgeries performed without anesthesia, transfusions of blood from one to another, isolation endurance, reaction to various stimuli. The doctors made injections with lethal germs, sex change operations, removal of organs and limbs. Josef Mengele did a number of medical experiments, using twins. These twins as young as five years of age were usually murdered after the experiment was over and their bodies dissected.

Some forty years after the war, only a few of the twins could be found. Strangely enough, many of them recall Mengele as a gentle, affable man who befriended them as children and gave them chocolates. Since many had immediately been separated from their families upon entering the camp, Mengele became a sort of father figure. Still a tension existed, that at any time they could be killed if they did not keep a low profile. Older twins recognized his kindness as a deception - they recalled how they were visited by a smiling Uncle Mengele who brought them candy and clothes. Then he had them delivered to his medical laboratory either in trucks painted with the Red Cross emblem or in his own personal car ...

One twin recalls the death of his brother:

"Dr. Mengele had always been more interested in Tibi. I am not sure why - perhaps because he was the older twin. Mengele made several operations on Tibi. One surgery on his spine left my brother paralyzed. He could not walk anymore. Then they took out his sexual organs. After the fourth operation, I did not see Tibi anymore. I cannot tell you how I felt. It is impossible to put into words how I felt. They had taken away my father, my mother, my two older brothers - and now, my twin .."

Mengele injected chemicals into the eyes of the children in an attempt to change their eye color. He carried out twin-to-twin transfusions, stitched twins together, castrated or sterilized twins. Many twins had limbs and organs removed in macabre surgical procedures, performed without using an anesthetic.

Mengele was almost fanatical about drawing blood from twins, mostly identical twins. He is reported to have bled some to death this way. Once Mengele's assistant rounded up 14 pairs of Gypsy twins during the night. Mengele placed them on his polished marble dissection table and put them to sleep. He then proceeded to inject chloroform into their hearts, killing them instantaneously. He then began dissecting and meticulously noting each and every piece of the twins' bodies.

On the night of 2-3 August 1944, the Gypsy camp was liquidated. Danuta Czech described it in her book Auschwitz Chronicle:'After the evening roll call, a camp arrest is ordered in Auschwitz II and a block arrest in the Gypsy Family Camp, B-IIe. Camp B-IIe and other barracks where Gypsies are housed are surrounded by armed SS men. Trucks drive into the camp ..'

The defenseless women, men, and children were loaded on the trucks that were to carry them to the gas chambers. After the gassing the corpses of the murdered were incinerated in the pit next to the crematorium, since the crematorium ovens were not operating at the time.

In Yitzhak Arad's book 'Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka - The Operation Reinhard Death Camps' the Holocaust survivor Jacob Wiernik described the arrival of the largest Gypsy group brought to the death camp Treblinka, in the spring of 1943: 'One day, while I was working near the gate, I noticed the Germans and Ukrainians making special preparations ... meanwhile the gate opened, and about 1,000 Gypsies were brought in (this was the third transport of Gypsies). About 200 of them were men, and the rest women and children ... all the Gypsies were taken to the gas chambers and then burned ...'

The book 'Sinti & Roma: Victims of the Nazi Era, 1933-1945' published by The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum tells that the discrimination against Sinti and Roma in Europe continued after World War 2.

The 1989 Film 'And The Violins Stopped Playing' by director Alexander Ramati was starring Horst Buchholz, Maya Ramati, Didi Ramati and Zitto Kazann. The film tells the moving true story of a group of gypsies in occupied Poland during World War 2 and how, against a bitter and bloody backdrop, they struggle on with only their strength and courage to survive.

/Louis Blow
Privacy 2008-10

Jan Klimkowski
09-15-2010, 04:07 PM
The French government acts all shocked and fails to see the problem... :viking:

The minister bleating about EU criticism as follows - "The tone she took is not the manner one uses to address a great state like France, which is the mother of human rights" - is a fine example of hypocrisie.

France defends Roma expulsion policy

Minister attacks EU for comparing crackdown with second world war deportations

September 15, 2010

France today angrily defended its controversial Roma crackdown, attacking the European commission for comparing the policy with second world war deportations and for failing to address "the mother [country] of human rights" with sufficient gravity.

Pierre Lellouche, the French European affairs minister who yesterday found himself in the firing line from Viviane Reding, the European commissioner for justice, said he could not allow her to compare "the France of 2010 [with] the France of Vichy".

"The tone she took is not the manner one uses to address a great state like France, which is the mother of human rights," he told French radio. "We are not the naughty pupil of the class whom the teacher tells off and we are not the criminal before the prosecutor."

Lellouche, who was told yesterday that France could face legal action over the summer crackdown, added that he had spoken to Reding this morning and told her he would like to think "her passion [had] exceeded her rationale".

"A nest egg, a plane ticket going to their native country within the EU: these are not death camps, these are not gas chambers," he added, referring to the one-off payment of 300 (250) per adult made by French authorities to Roma returning to their home country on so-called "voluntary" return flights.

Lellouche's strident defence of the policy, which has seen nearly 1,000 Roma expelled and dozens of "non-authorised" camps broken up since the beginning of August, was echoed in more mild language by the Elyse. Insisting there was no desire to further the "pointless controversy" with Brussels, it added, in an oblique reference to the second world war comparison: "However, certain comments are quite simply not acceptable."

On French radio, Eric Besson, Nicolas Sarkozy's minister for immigration and national identity, criticised Reding's reference to Jewish deportations in the 1940s, calling it "shocking" and "anachronistic".

The U-turn by the European commission, which came after weeks of criticism by human rights activists for failing to take a tough line with Paris, came in the aftermath of the leak of a French government document showing that the Roma were the explicit target of the crackdown. The government, which was deeply embarrassed by the leak, has since modified the order to remove all reference to a particular group of people.

"There was a mistake in the circular; it has been corrected. The end. Done," said Benoist Apparu, a junior minister and member of Sarkozy's rightwing UMP party.

Among French critics of the Roma crackdown, however, the criticism from Brussels came as proof of their country's tarnished image. "It is a true disgrace for men and women to be hunted down in our country just because they are of a certain ethnicity and not because they have committed crimes," said Martine Aubry, leader of the opposition Socialist party.


Jan Klimkowski
09-16-2010, 05:44 PM
Sarkozy throws a pathetic hissy fit, claiming France is applying the law and should not be criticized.

Sarkozy allies emerged from a presidential lunch today to report that the French leader would take the commission to task when he arrives in Brussels for an EU summit tomorrow.

"He says he is only applying European regulations, French laws, and that there is absolutely nothing to criticise France for on the issue," said Bruno Sido, a senator from Sarkozy's UMP party. "But if the Luxembourgers want to take them [the Roma], there would be no problem."


Sarkozy then gets his way in Brussels, with the EU Justice commissioner being forced to apologize. :evil:

Roma expulsions by France overshadow EU summit opening

Anger simmers as EU justice commissioner forced to apologise for comparing deportations with wartime persecution of Jews

September 16, 2010

The EU summit has opened in Brussels amid continued tension over the French expulsion of Gypsies and the European commission's threat to take Nicolas Sarkozy's government to court.

The EU justice commissioner, Viviane Reding, has expressed regret for comparing French treatment of Roma with that of Jews during the second world war but insisted she was right to rebuke the French government and maintained that it could face a court case for breaching of common EU rules.

Allies of Sarkozy had said the French leader would take the commission to task over Reding's attack but he arrived at the summit without making any comment. He angered Luxembourg Reding's home country when he told the principality to take in France's unwanted Roma.

Reding's office has said "there should not be a parallel with world war two" but she faced further criticism. The French foreign minister, Bernard Kouchner, said: "Madame Reding ... made unacceptable statements about French policy, in particular certain comparisons with the second world war."

The German chancellor, Angela Merkel, said: "I found the tone and especially the historical comparisons unsuitable. And I hope we can find a better way." Germany and Italy have been pushing for discussion of the Roma expulsions at the summit.

The commission chief, Jos Manuel Barroso, has rejected Reding's analogy but emphasised his support for her. "
Reding's attack on France was triggered by a leaked document from the French interior ministry showing that Roma were being targeted collectively on ethnic grounds "as a priority" despite repeated French government denials.

The dispute has overshadowed the meeting even though it is not on the official agenda, and threatens to undermine the main objective of the summit, which is presenting a unified foreign and economic policy. There are key summits in coming weeks with Asian nations including China and India.

"When we promote free trade, climate change and human rights around the world we need to have our own backyard in order," said Finland's foreign minister, Alexander Stubb. "And of course anything that looks a little bit different, perhaps suspicious or complicated in Europe, will not strengthen our foreign policy."


EU commission chief Barroso claims: "The prohibition of discrimination based on racial and ethnic origin is one of the EU's fundamental principles," he said. "The commission will do what is necessary to ensure the respect of [EU] law."

However, realpolitick rules, the fundamental principles are ignored, and France is free to carry on deporting the Roma. :mad:

Magda Hassan
09-16-2010, 10:12 PM
Apart from anything else the existence of Roma and their history confront the notion of property rights which is paramount in the West.

Jan Klimkowski
09-17-2010, 04:50 PM
Apart from anything else the existence of Roma and their history confront the notion of property rights which is paramount in the West.

A fundamental and important point.

As is the fact that politicians know that the Romani have no "nation state", and are an easy target for unscrupulous and ambitious politicans desperate to curry popular favour.

Sarkozy is carrying on triumphantly with the dismantling of Romani camps and deportation of the Gypsy people.

He claims he is "outraged" and "deeply hurt" at criticism from the EU.

This French fool is behaving like a toddler throwing a tantrum to get his way.

But a 3-year-old has a better grasp of right and wrong than the French President.

Nicolas Sarkozy rounds on critics and vows to keep dismantling Roma camps

French president denies his government is unfairly targeting Gypsies after spat with Jose Manuel Barroso at EU summit

September 16, 2010

President Nicolas Sarkozy of France has rounded fiercely on European critics of his anti-Gypsy campaign and pledged to carry on with a programme of deportations and demolition of Roma camps.

He branded criticism of him by the European commission as "outrageous" and "deeply hurtful".

The war of words between Brussels and Paris over the legality of the French government's actions hijacked an EU summit and resulted in Sarkozy and Jos Manuel Barroso, the commission president, engaging in robust verbal sparring over lunch today, according to witnesses.

"There was an intense exchange of sharp words," said Boyko Borisov, the prime minister of Bulgaria, which has been receiving some of the deportees from France.

"The exchange was violent on the part of Sarkozy," said a senior EU official.

"There was a lively debate," observed David Cameron afterwards.

Another EU official said: "Sarkozy was caught with his pants down. So he tried to create a distraction. It was a very strong exchange."

The dispute erupted earlier this week, following the leak of a French government document indicating that European Roma immigrants from Romania and Bulgaria were being targeted collectively "as a priority" for eviction from France, a breach of EU laws.

The European commissioner for justice and fundamental rights, Viviane Reding, accused the French government of duplicity and threatened to take France to court. She also called the country's conduct a disgrace, and, most controversially, raised the spectre of Vichy France and the wartime persecution of Jews as a parallel with the treatment of Gypsies.

Sarkozy came to today's summit in Brussels isolated, except for the support of Italy's prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, but promptly went on the offensive.

Tonight, he denied France had broken any laws, dismissed talk of discrimination against Balkan Roma, claimed the support of the rest of Europe and argued that Barroso had abandoned Reding to side with the French.

Berlusconi said that Reding and other European commissioners should be muzzled, with Barroso alone allowed to speak for Brussels. "I am the president of France and I cannot allow my country to be insulted," Sarkozy declared.

"Europe is unanimous in condemning those outrageous statements [by Reding] ... It was deeply, deeply hurtful. I had to re-establish the facts." While many witnesses spoke of the passionate argument over lunch, Sarkozy maintained that he was "the only person who remained calm and did not use excessive language". That version of events was contested by several witnesses.

Reding has faced widespread criticism in Brussels and EU capitals for her invocation of the second world war in relation to the Roma dispute. But on the substance of the row whether France has broken the law and the commission's role in deciding that she has won widespread support.

Barroso, according to witnesses, told Sarkozy that the French had "a case to answer" and that it was the commission's job to investigate that. He accused Sarkozy of raising a fuss to try to divert attention from the real issue whether the French authorities were guilty of racist discrimination and breaking European rules on freedom of movement for EU citizens.

"Many people questioned Reding's choice of words, but not a single person except Sarkozy questioned the substance," said a Barroso spokesman.

"There was a huge row over lunch with President Barroso insisting that he had a job to do of upholding EU laws on the free movement of its citizens and he would continue to do it.

"We will continue to consider whether to take legal action against France. That work is going on."

The summit was called to examine the EU's failures in developing effective common foreign policies and to discuss economic reform.

According to EU ambassadors and several officials, the organisation of the summit was "shambolic" and "chaotic", with Herman Van Rompuy, the European council president, and Catherine Ashton, the EU's foreign policy chief, being blamed for the poor preparation. But the Roma issue overshadowed everything else.

Just when leaders, diplomats and officials were calling for a cooling of tempers and a calmer debate, Sarkozy's broadsides reignited the row. He categorically denied that France was breaking any laws or singling out the Roma for harassment.

In the past six weeks, French police have deported more than 1,000 Roma to Romania and Bulgaria and dismantled more than 100 camps. The interior ministry document told police to focus on the Roma "as a priority".

"Of course we are not aiming at a given ethnic population," said Sarkozy. More than 500 "illegal settlements" had been demolished in France in August, he said, with 80% of the people affected being French.

"There has been no form of discrimination whatsoever ... This policy will be continued."

Sarkozy added that all EU heads of state and government were shocked by Reding's remarks and that Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, had phoned him yesterday "to express her total solidarity".


Jan Klimkowski
09-29-2010, 05:45 PM
I suspect that this will come to nothing - the EU will exonerate the French state, and the French state will exonerate its own official. But whilst the circus plays out...

Roma expulsions: EU to start legal action against France

European commission to officially ask France to apply EU rules as first step towards court case

September 29, 2010

The European Union has decided to launch legal action against France over its expulsions of Roma to poorer EU nations.

A European commission spokeswoman, Pia Ahrenkilde, said the commission believed France had not applied EU rules allowing free movement of EU citizens. She said the commission decided today to send an official notification letter to France asking it to apply the EU rules. The commission is also asking France for more details about the expulsions of hundreds of Roma.

These steps could eventually lead to a court case against France.

The commission stopped short of saying that France was discriminating against a specific ethnic group. France has come under wide criticism for the expulsions, from the EU as well as the United Nations and the Vatican.

Ahrenkilde said the commission decided to send a formal notification letter containing a number of detailed questions "with a view to make sure there is legal certainty" about France's actions.

About 10-12 million Roma live in Europe, according to EU estimates, and face discrimination in housing, jobs and education across the continent. As EU citizens, they have a right to travel to France, but must get papers to work or live there in the long term.

The French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, has defended the expulsions, saying they are part of an overall crackdown on illegal immigrants and crime. The government says most of the Roma are leaving voluntarily, with a small stipend from France. Most are being sent to Romania.

Critics say France is unfairly targeting an ethnic minority and lumping together entire communities instead of handling the expulsions on a case-by-case basis.

Up to 15,000 Roma live in France, according to the advocacy group Romeurope. French authorities have no official estimate.


French official may face racial hatred charge over Gypsy memo

Interior ministry official Michel Bart to appear in court to decide if memo is 'incitement to racial hatred'

September 29, 2010

A senior French official is to appear in court accused of inciting racial hatred following the leaking of his internal memo on the targeting of Roma camps.

Michel Bart's directive ordering the dismantling of settlements of Romanian and Bulgarian immigrants who were later expelled from France caused political embarrassment for President Nicolas Sarkozy as well as outrage at home and abroad.

It prompted Viviane Reding, the European commissioner for justice and fundamental rights, to liken the French expulsions to Nazi deportations during the second world war, an accusation furiously rejected by France.

The EU announced today that it would begin legal action against France for the expulsions.

In his directive written in August, Bart, who is head of the interior minister's private office, reminded prfets (local government officials) that "300 illegal camps or settlements must be evacuated within three months, particularly those of the Roma".

At the time Sarkozy's government was under fire for expelling nearly 1,000 Romanian and Bulgarian Gypsies, but ministers were publicly insisting that the Roma were not being specifically targeted.

Bart will appear before a tribunal that will decide if his memo constitutes "incitement to racial hatred" next month. The legal action was launched by the Representative Council of Black Associations. The French Human Rights League and an immigrant support group are bringing a separate lawsuit.

After the row, the government withdrew the directive and issued another ordering the evacuation of the camps "whoever the occupants".

The EU is now deciding whether to sue France over the expulsion of the Roma.

In June, Brice Hortefeux, France's interior minister, was fined 750 (646) after being found guilty of making "incontestably offensive" racist remarks and ordered to pay 2,000 to an anti-racist group. Introduced to a man of North African origin at a meeting of ruling UMP party activists, the minister was recorded saying: "When there is one, it's OK. It's when there are lots of them that there are problems." Hortefeux, who is appealing against his conviction, said he was talking about local people, not those of Arab origin.


Talking of circuses:

Gypsy circus is next on France's expulsion list

After deporting many illegal Roma immigrants, Nicolas Sarkozy's government may force Europe's only Gypsy circus to close down

September 26, 2010

With its mesmerising songs and startling acrobatics, the Cirque Romans is one of the most unusual cultural highlights of Paris: the only Gypsy circus in Europe and the only show in the French capital whose artists retreat to their caravans after the curtain falls. For 18 years it has been attracting audiences to its exotic blend of poetry and performance. In June it was deemed good enough to represent France at the World Expo in Shanghai.

But after a summer which has seen France crack down on its foreign Roma population and draw the ire of Brussels for the policy, the future of the circus and its loyal band of artists hangs in the balance. The authorities have refused to validate work permits for the five Romanian musicians whose instruments are crucial to the performances.

The French employment inspectorate insists that the cancellation of the permits has no connection with the wider political climate, which has seen around 1,000 Roma return to their home countries in nearly two months and around 200 unauthorised Roma camps cleared by police. They say there are problems with the circus's functioning, accuse its owner of underpaying the musicians and question the use of child performers.

Such claims are dismissed as "pure invention" by Alexandre Romans, the circus's charismatic founder. "They're making up all these reasons. It's complete fantasy," he said, as he sipped coffee outside his caravan on the outskirts of Paris. Responding to the authorities' chief criticism that of low pay he added: "They get four times the minimum wage, and they are fed and housed. When I contacted a lawyer and told her what they [the authorities] were trying to claim, she just burst out laughing."

Romans, a published poet and friend of the late writer Jean Genet, is unequivocal about what he believes to be the real reasons for the sudden move, taken for the first time in the circus's two decades of existence. For him, it is just another sign of France's growing hostility towards his people.

"As this woman from Luxembourg [EU justice commissioner Viviane Reding] said, we thought Europe was protected from this kind of thing, but clearly it isn't. What I have noticed is that, instead of waging war on poverty, the French government is waging war on the poor," he said.

In order to try to revoke the authorities' "unjust" decision, 59-year-old Romans and his wife, Dlia, have started an online petition. Urging the authorities to let the circus "employ those Romanian and Bulgarian artists with whom they want to work", the appeal has more than 7,000 signatories. A "night of support" on 4 October will aim to rally the troops.

One of the most vocal Romans fans is Reinhard von Nagel, a world-famous harpsichord maker and esteemed Matre d'Art appointed by the French culture ministry. There was no doubt, he said, of the political nature of the refusal of permits. "In France, as in other countries, there are laws for and against things, but they are not always applied. If you want to attack someone, you find a law and you apply it. That is what the authorities are doing in the case of Alexandre and Dlia," he said, criticising the "zealousness" of the authorities implementing the "hunting down of the Roma".

"It is a policy which I have no hesitation in declaring to be fascist. It bothers me deeply," said Von Nagel, a German who has lived in Paris for decades. At a meeting last weekend with Frdric Mitterrand, the culture minister, he brought the Cirque Romans to the minister's attention. "I told him that if the Cirque Romans is shut, I don't know if I can stay in France," he said.

President Sarkozy's policy of paid "voluntary returns" for all those foreign Roma found to be living on French soil without permission has been denounced as unfair and unworkable by human rights activists, foreign politicians and even members of the president's own right-wing UMP party, one of whom like Reding enraged the government by comparing the evacuations across France with Vichy-era roundups of French Jews and Gypsies.

For the Romans family, who dislike the term Roma and prefer to be proud Gypsies, the situation is telling. Even though they are both French citizens Alexandre since birth they feel they are being stigmatised by a crackdown which is supposedly only a question of legality. This was not helped by the leak this month of an interior ministry memo that singled out Roma camps as the target for this summer's expulsions.

"Even we, Gypsy artists who are legal citizens, are being attacked," said Dlia, 40, a Romanian-born singer who fled her native Transylvania during the communist regime of Nicolae Ceausescu. "I found it extraordinary that they sent us to represent France at Shanghai and that, when we came back, they weren't letting our musicians work. It's mad, really bad. They want to get rid of us. They just don't want to have to see us. But we are human beings too, you know?"


Magda Hassan
10-01-2010, 02:52 PM
The French Immigration Ministry is to fingerprint Roma (Gypsies) who get financial aid after being deported.
From Friday, biometric records will be created on Roma who receive up to 300 euros (259; $409) after they leave France.
Most of them are repatriated to Bulgaria and Romania.
Authorities say some expelled Roma make return trips to France to benefit several times from the humanitarian aid they get for going home.
In 2009 more than 15,200 return aid payments were made to immigrants, mostly Roma, who were expelled from France.
The French government classes the majority as "volunteers", who are given a cash payment of 300 euros per adult or 150 euros for each child.
The expulsion fund cost the French government 9m euros last year.
Continue reading the main story (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-11450831#story_continues_1) Related stories

Q&A: France Roma expulsions (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-11027288)
EU gives France warning on Roma (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-11437361)
Delays bedevil EU help for Roma (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-11332488)

There is suspicion in France that some of the Roma flown home to eastern Europe have used the cash handouts to come back under false identities.
The French government hopes taking a biometric record of everyone who is expelled will cut back on fraud.
The decision to fingerprint the Roma has led to concerns by human rights groups, who already accuse the French government of targeting a minority group.
And France was warned by the European authorities this week that it will face disciplinary proceedings and possible court action if EU freedom of movement is not enshrined in French law by next month.
Commission officials said the onus is on Paris to prove that it is not targeting Roma as an ethnic group.
France believes it has law on its side. President Sarkozy said his country has every right to expel foreign Roma who are living in France without a job or any means to support themselves.

Jan Klimkowski
10-03-2010, 08:12 PM
The French Immigration Ministry is to fingerprint Roma (Gypsies) who get financial aid after being deported.
From Friday, biometric records will be created on Roma who receive up to 300 euros (�259; $409) after they leave France.
Most of them are repatriated to Bulgaria and Romania.

The French cannot do this.

Freedom of movement for EU citizens is enshrined in EU law.

Within the European Union, residents are guaranteed the right to freely move within the EU's internal borders by the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and the European Parliament and Council Directive 2004/38/EC of 29 April 2004.[21] Union residents are given the right to enter any member state for up to three months with a valid passport or identity card. If the citizen does not have a travel document, the member state must afford them every facility in obtaining the documents. Under no circumstances can an entry or exit visa be required.

(snip) Furthermore, no EU citizen may be declared permanently persona non grata within the European Union, or permanently excluded from entry by any member state.

Are Sarkozy and the French claiming that the Roma are non-persons?

Magda Hassan
09-28-2013, 01:13 AM
Racism in the mainstream parties is becoming far too 'acceptable'. And this from the so called socialist party. I would hate to see what the National Front are saying. Divide and conquer. Fear the 'other'. And all a bit rich blaming the South Slav Romas because it was the France, amongst others, who participated in the break up and ethnic cleansing of multi ethnic Yugoslavia where Roma were welcome and safe.

French minister Valls defends call for Roma expulsions

Video at link below.

French Interior Minister Manuel Valls: "The majority must be returned to the borders. There is no other solution"

French Interior Minister Manuel Valls says he stands by remarks calling for the country's Roma (Gypsies) to be expelled.
He said few Roma could ever integrate into French society and "the majority" should be sent "back to the borders".
He has been criticised by human rights campaigners, the European Commission and one of his cabinet colleagues.
Amnesty International is calling for a ban on forced evictions (http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/france-record-number-forced-evictions-2013-09-25) of Roma people in France in a report out on Wednesday.
It says more than 10,000 were evicted from temporary camps in the first half of the year.
It has said Mr Valls' remarks were likely to "perpetuate stereotypes and encourage animosity" among the approximately 20,000 Roma who have settled in France, mainly from Romania, Bulgaria and the former Yugoslavia.
"A theory that such and such a person or such and such a people will never, ever be able to integrate just doesn't stand up," said Mr Valls' cabinet colleague, Arnaud Montebourg, according to Agence France-Presse news agency.
"That's what they said about the Italians, that's what they said about the Spanish, it's what they said about the Portuguese, and what they said about the Arabs.
"Decreeing in advance that it is impossible seems to me excessive and is worthy of being corrected."
Mr Valls was also criticised by the UN human rights body, the European Commission, other rights groups including Roma organisations - some of whom are pledging to take Mr Valls to court for incitement to racial hatred.
'Nothing to correct'But Mr Valls - a dapper 51-year-old who polls suggest is a rising star in Francois Hollande's Socialist administration - said he saw no reason to correct comments that Roma lifestyles were "clearly in confrontation" with French ways of life.
"I've got nothing to correct," he said. "My remarks only shock those who don't know the subject.
"The majority [of Roma] should be delivered back to the borders. We are not here to welcome these people.
"I'd remind you of [former Socialist premier] Michel Rocard's statement: 'It's not France's job to deal with the misery of the whole world.'"
The treatment of Roma people - who face widespread discrimination in Europe - is a political hot potato in France.
Mr Valls has encouraged local councils to systematically dismantle illegal Roma slums, and offer the expelled residents free flights back to their countries of origin.
He has also been at the forefront of French opposition to allowing Bulgaria and Romania full access to the passport-free Schengen zone.
Mr Valls is himself the Barcelona-born son of Spanish immigrants Mr Montebourg pointed out on Wednesday.

Roma deportations split French government

© Photo: AFP

Several French ministers have rejected statements by Interior Minister Manuel Valls that Roma immigrants are inherently different and should be thrown out of the country, casting a shadow on the Socialist-led government ahead of local elections.

By FRANCE 2 (http://www.france24.com/en/category/tags-auteurs/france-2) / Oliver FARRY (http://www.france24.com/en/category/tags-auteurs/oliver-farry) (video)
Joseph BAMAT (http://www.france24.com/en/category/tags-auteurs/joseph-bamat) (text)

Contentious statements by Interior Minister Manuel Valls (http://www.france24.com/en/category/tags-th%C3%A9matiques/manuel-valls) about Roma immigrants in France have sparked a feud within the Socialists-led government, threatening to destabilise President François Hollande’s party less than six months ahead of municipal elections.
Housing Minister Cécile Duflot, a member of the Green Party, is leading the charge against Valls, after he said this week that most Roma (http://www.france24.com/en/category/tags-th%C3%A9matiques/roma-people), also known as gypsies, were incapable of assimilating (http://beyond.blogs.france24.com/article/2013/09/25/france-roma-bulgaria-romania-valls) into French society and should be sent back to their home countries.
Duflot, speaking to fellow party members at a conference in the Western city of Angers on Thursday, accused Valls, a Socialist, of dangerously toying with France’s "Republican principles".
“It’s not acceptable to say that there are categories within society whose background makes it impossible for them to assimilate. And secondly, that their habits and ways of living are a nuisance to their neighbours,” she reprimanded.

http://www.france24.com/en/misc/feed.png (http://www.france24.com/en/taxonomy/term2/feed/15562/all/all/all/all/all)OPINION

http://www.france24.com/en/files/imagecache/aef_special_medium/ext_links_img/roma-france-romania-valls-s.jpg (http://beyond.blogs.france24.com/article/2013/09/25/france-roma-bulgaria-romania-valls)
The ‘truth’ is France's Roma are France’s problem – not Romania’s (http://beyond.blogs.france24.com/article/2013/09/25/france-roma-bulgaria-romania-valls)

Valls' comments were also rejected by Social Affairs Minister Marisol Touraine, and François Lamy, a junior minister in charge of urban centres, both of whom met with Hollande to express their opposition, according to Le Monde daily.
Other left-leaning leaders have said that it was unacceptable for Valls to extend, and even ramp up, programmes to dismantle Roma camps and force individuals to go back to Romania and Bulgaria –a practice that was loudly condemned by Socialists during former conservative president Nicolas Sarkozy’s tenure.
Forced evictions of Roma reached a record 10,000 people (http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/france-record-number-forced-evictions-2013-09-25)in 2013, Amnesty International said in report published this week.
Putting Hollande on the spot
Duflot has added fuel to the divisive and potentially-damaging debate by calling on Hollande to weigh in on the issue.
The president avoided commenting on the subject during a visit to a steel-plant in France’s north-east town of Florange on Thursday, despite being prodded repeatedly by reporters.
But he appeared to give tacit support to Valls. Government spokesman Najat Vallaud-Belkacem told reporters on Thursday that the interior minister was carrying out the responsibilities entrusted to him by the Hollande administration “firmly and humanely.”
Far from recoiling, Valls has reaffirmed his position since the criticism began piling up. His statements were also defended by some members of his party.

http://www.france24.com/en/misc/feed.png (http://www.france24.com/en/taxonomy/term2/feed/15562/all/all/all/all/all)REPORT

http://www.france24.com/en/files/imagecache/france24_special_169_medium/article/image/roms-bastille-main-m.jpg (http://www.france24.com/en/20120823-roma-who-live-beg-streets-paris-romania-bulgaria-employment-gypsy-socialist-government)
The Roma who live and beg on the streets of Paris (http://www.france24.com/en/20120823-roma-who-live-beg-streets-paris-romania-bulgaria-employment-gypsy-socialist-government)

While first condemning Valls earlier this week for his “excessive” statements, Industry Minister Arnaud Montebourg came to his defence on Friday, telling French RTL radio the interior minister “had a difficult job” and that in the end he “stood by him”.
Elections, but which?
The French press has rushed to make speculations about how the divisions within Hollande’s government could hurt the Socialist Party in municipal elections early next year.
The right-wing opposition UMP party and the far-right National Front hope to make security and immigration key campaign issues, and many within the Socialist Party think Valls is dangerously playing into their hands.
“The Roma debate is turning our attention away from the real problems, which are unemployment and education. We need to stop making this a subject of public debate,” Socialist Senator David Assouline told the politics news site Public Sénat earlier this week.
However, far from hurting Valls’ public image, his tough-talking approach has helped him claim the highest approval rating among government ministers.

The fate of impoverished Roma communities in France could yet prove to hold little sway during local ballots next March. Valls may in fact be playing a long-term game. Indeed, he has made no secret of his desire to one day run for the French presidency.
http://www.france24.com/en/20130927-france-division-socialist-party-roma-gypsies-people-valls-duflot-immigration-elections?ns_campaign=editorial (http://www.france24.com/en/20130927-france-division-socialist-party-roma-gypsies-people-valls-duflot-immigration-elections?ns_campaign=editorial&ns_source=twitter&ns_mchannel=reseaux_sociaux&ns_fee=0&ns_linkname=20130927_france_division_socialist_par ty_roma_gypsies)