[ 11. Sep 2010 ]

Deportation of Roma Immigrants by French Authorities is Illegal

The Equal Rights Trust (ERT) condemns "Voluntary Deportation" of Roma Immigrants Resident in France. ERT statement from 9th of September 2010.


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

The present wave of expulsions from France began on 19 August 2010, and within two weeks, approximately 1000 Roma had been deported and 128 Roma erpreted by the European Court of Human Rights as "any measure compelling aliens, as a group, to leave a country, except where such a measure is taken on the basis of a reasonable and objective examination of the particular case of each individual alien of the group"(Conka v. Belgium, Application no. 51564/99, Para 59). Consequently, collective expulsions are prohibited under European law, including in cases where such measures are targeted solely against those who have overstayed the three month residency period allowed under the Freedom of Movement Directive and have failed to register with local authorities.

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

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

London, 9 September 2010

"The Equal Rights Trust is an independent international organisation whose purpose is to combat discrimination and promote equality as a fundamental human right and a basic principle of social justice." ::