Over 200 people, mostly Romanian Roma, were forcibly evicted this morning from an informal settlement in greater Paris in a move Amnesty International has labelled shameful and callous.
Police evicted around 230 people at 7:00 am from their huts and caravans in Ris-Orangis on the outskirts of Paris, citing public health and safety concerns. It is the latest in a resumed wave of forced evictions of Roma across France over the past few weeks.
“Evicting hundreds of people without offering any adequate alternative housing or support is a shameful and callous action that totally ignores France’s international human rights obligations,” said Marek Marczyński, Europe and Central Asia Programme Deputy Director.
The community were given 24 hours notice to leave the site, despite the lack of adequate housing being offered.
According to reports, only 38 had previously been offered any assistance with accommodation or employment. Local activists reported that the only alternative emergency accommodation offered required families to be separated, which the residents refused to accept.
Amnesty International wrote letters in February and March to the Mayor of Ris-Orangis to stop the forced eviction but received no substantive response other than the offer of a meeting after the expulsions had taken place. Amnesty International also once again raised concerns about forced evictions in a letter to the Minister of the Interior in March.
Officials have stated that 12 families have been accepted into a temporary ‘integration’ project in Ris-Orangis.
A local priest gave between 30 and 40 of those evicted refuge in a church, until police escorted them to a temporary shelter that could not house everyone. At present, many of the evictees do not know where they will sleep tonight.
“It defies logic that local authorities in France continue to forcibly evict Roma out of so-called concern for their health and safety, when the people evicted inevitably suffer even worse conditions after being moved on. Many of them are in fact made homeless,” said Marek Marczyński.
“The French government must put its house in order, and stop these forced evictions entirely.”
Amnesty International’s 2012 report 'Chased Away: Forced Evictions of Roma in Ile-de-France' examined the precarious housing situation faced by Roma people in France, particularly forced evictions in greater Paris.
Find out more about discrimination against Roma and take action at www.amnesty.org/Roma