Thousands of Roma made homeless in France in 2016

More than six in ten Roma families forcibly evicted as persecution against community rises, civil rights groups report. More than 10,000 Roma were forcibly evicted by French authorities last year, with most ejections taking place during the cold winter months, according to a new report. The European Roma Rights Centre and the Ligue des droits de L’Homme (Human Rights League of France) said on Tuesday that at least 60 percent of Romani families in the country were forced to leave their dwellings. The majority of the recorded evictions took place without a court decision and, in most cases, adequate alternative accommodation was not offered to those made homeless, the groups said in a joint report. “France’s policy of ethnically targeted evictions creates cycles of repeat evictions and forced removals”, the report said. “It is also a significant squandering of financial and administrative resources. It is not only a morally bankrupt strategy, but one that is not in the best interests of taxpayers, whose contributions could far better be deployed to invest in social assessments and sustainable solutions for housing.” Almost 3,000 Roma were forced from their camps between October and December, a 17 percent increase from the previous quarter. “Many Roma were evicted multiple times in 2016”, the report said. “This unsustainable practice only worsens deep poverty and neglects the underlying housing problems.” (…) In addition to being made homeless, Roma often face discrimination. “Many incidents of hate speech and cases of discrimination against Romani people were reported”, the groups said, which confirmed the need for policy “to address the plight of a stigmatised and deeply impoverished population to ensure … equal access to basic services”. Tuesday’s report highlighted several racist attacks, including one in December against Jewish and Roma at the Anne Frank nursery school in an eastern suburb of Paris, Montreuil. In an act of vandalism, “Juden verboten” (Jews forbidden) and “Sales Juifs et Roms” (Filthy Jewish and Romani people), were found painted on the front gate of the Anne Frank nursery, the report noted.

Anealla Safdar in Thousands of Roma ‘made homeless’ in France in 2016 (Aljazeera)