• France's news in English
 
app_header_v3
Police clear hundreds from Roma shantytown in Paris
Police cleared out around 400 people on Wednesday morning. Photo: AFP

Police clear hundreds from Roma shantytown in Paris

The Local · 3 Feb 2016, 08:46

Published: 03 Feb 2016 08:46 GMT+01:00

Police moved in early in the morning to clear out Roma families living in the shantytown, which stood on unused railway tracks, known as the petite ceinture, in the 18th arrondissement of Paris. 
 
The evacuation followed a health check by authorities last week, which revealed 173 people were deemed to be in "vulnerable" health, eight of whom were school children.
 
 
There were even four cases of tuberculosis among the camp's families, many of whom had lived there since June.  
The report found that 135 families were living in precarious hygiene conditions. It also found that the area was a safety risk due to a combination of rudimentary heating and poor exit options.
 
Camp inhabitants had been warned in advance of the evacuation, with many of them leaving before Wednesday. 
 
Those who remained were loaded on to buses and moved on by police. The Paris prefecture said every family would be rehoused, but French authorities have been criticized in the past for dismantling camps but failing to provide any alternative accommodation.
 
It is unclear where the Roma will be re-housed.
 
"We are Europeans, why don't we have our rights?" asked one of those who was taken away, according to Le Point newspaper

Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland called on France to ensure the Roma were offered accomiodation and not simply deported.

"It is crucial that the French authorities provide all those who have been forced to leave the ‘Petite ceinture’ camp – including children and elderly people – with adequate, alternative accommodation, particularly as they have decided to take this action during winter," said Jagland.

"Last year an estimated 11,000 Roma people were evicted from their homes in France," he said.

"There is no evidence to suggest that a policy of mass forced eviction will bring a lasting solution to the exclusion and prejudice many Roma face.

"On the contrary, forced evictions can prove counter-productive as they often disrupt the schooling of Roma children and hamper the efforts of those who provide basic healthcare to Roma communities, for example through vaccination campaigns."

 
 
 
In September, UN rights chief Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein blasted France for its treatment of Roma communities, particularly for the forced evictions of Roma camps.
 
"It is becoming increasingly apparent that there is a systematic national policy to forcibly evict the Roma," he said at the time, attacking the policy as "punitive and destructive."
 
Story continues below…
A failure to improve treatment of Roma people "simply exacerbates entrenched popular discrimination against what is already one of Europe's most deprived and marginalized communities," he said.
 
France has come under fire from various quarters in recent years for its policy towards the Roma, which basically involves evicting them from their makeshift camps and deporting them - despite the fact that as EU citizens they should enjoy the same freedom of movement as British or Germans.
 
French police evicted 11,000 members of the Roma community in total last year, including the 300-strong population in La Corneuve, Seine-Saint-Denis.
 
The collection of makeshift homes had stood in the area for around seven years - enough to have made it the oldest of its kind in France. 
 
Today's headlines
French teens storm police barracks in search of Pokemon
Photo: AFP

The arrival of Pokemon Go in France has landed people in all sorts of trouble.

Corsican militants warn 'Islamist radicals' over attacks
Photo: AFP

Militants warn violent extremists that any attack would be met by a "determined response".

Shareholders revolt sees French exec's pay slashed
Photo: AFP

Renault cuts its CEO's salary after a revolt from shareholders.

Priest killing: France was warned about attack threat
French political leaders attend a memorial mass for the slain priest. Photo: AFP

French authorities had reportedly been warned that the second terrorist behind Tuesday's cold-blooded murder of a priest was ready to act.

Fêtes de Bayonne
France's wildest festival gets underway amid tight security
Festival goers in Bayonne - a sea of red and white. Photo: AFP

Over the coming days around a million revellers are expected at what is arguably the wildest, most raucous and most colourful event in France.

Media in France pull photos of jihadists to stop 'glorification'
Many media in France will stop publishing photos of the likes of Toulouse gunman Mohamed Merah (above).

Mainstream media in France decide to stop publishing photos of jihadists behind terror attacks to avoid giving them the notoriety and glory they seek.

France could cancel summer events over terror fears
Photo: AFP

Summer events in towns and villages across France could be cancelled if there is a lack of security.

VIDEO: Police raid on French church captured on video
Photo: Le Telegramme

Part of the police stand-off at the church in northern France where two jihadists killed a priest was caught on camera by a witness.

EU picks Frenchman to lead Brexit talks with UK
Photo: AFP

A Frenchman will lead the fraught Brexit talks between the EU and the UK over the coming years.

France seeks unity and resists calls to toughen terror laws
Photo: AFP

Does France need tough new laws or cohesion and unity among its communities?

Sponsored Article
5 reasons to try dating in Paris with The Inner Circle
France: A timeline of terror since the Charlie Hebdo attack
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
A timeline of terror in France since Charlie Hebdo
Culture
Thirteen free and easy ways to learn French
Culture
32 mistakes foreigners make when they arrive in France
National
Here are the worst scams to avoid whilst driving in France
Analysis & Opinion
Isis can simply be a conduit for the violent desires of psychopaths
Features
Six outdoor bars in Paris you simply must visit
Culture
The open-air Villette cinema has been cancelled over security fears
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Culture
Henri Rousseau exhibition proves huge hit in Paris
National
Frenchman caught trying to sell Nice massacre souvenirs online
Society
OPEN NOW: Here's why you should head to the Paris Plages
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Culture
What's on in France: Still plenty to see and do in July
Lifestyle
Treasures of Versailles to go on display in Australia
National
How to keep cool during France's heatwave
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
National
Nice attack: What we know so far
National
Nice attacker: Body-building, drug-taking, violent flirt
National
IN IMAGES: Drawings in tribute to Nice attack victims
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Society
Promenade des Anglais: The iconic heart of the French Riviera
France faces more questions after latest deadly attack
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
National
Why is France the target of choice for jihadist attacks?
National
Nice truck attack: 'Bodies went flying like bowling pins'
Nice attack: Families of missing make pleas on Twitter
Politics
Boris Johnson cheered and booed at Bastille Day party
2,759
jobs available