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Roma from France

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Critics see the deportation of Roma from France as racist, sexist and also classist due to various factors discussed below (Roma are the minority in France). Immigration minister of France Mr. Eric Besson suggested the minorities were being singled out after a leaked government memo. France then vowed to continue with the deportation of the Roma Gypsies after critics claimed that the leaked government document had clearly suggested that the minorities had been targeted as per the Presidents orders; Nicolas Sarkozy's, meaning the expulsions were thus against the constitution of France and had also broken the human rights international laws on human discrimination. The deportation could thus be termed as classist as those affected were the poor minorities.

Mr. Eric Besson, had then insisted that the sending of police to destroy settlements and camps and in so doing ordered the inhabitants to leave France immediately was never aimed at the Roma. His view was that the Roma were being treated as any other EU migrants would if they were not in a position to meet residency rules of France's. However, as per the internal order that was circulated to the police chiefs appear to confirm that the ethnic minorities were being singled out. In a remark that was seen as racist to the Romanian authorities and their inhabitants, he said: "Free movement in the European area doesn't mean free settlement. What has been forgotten is that each of the European countries is responsible for its own national citizens" (The Guardian, 2010).

The French government intends to shut down approximately 300 illegal camps inhabited mainly by Roma. The government in its part claims that it is a humane and decent policy that intends to remove Roma people from the unacceptable conditions but then most human rights groups criticize the French crackdown… labeling it as stigmatizing the small Roma community estimated at 15-thousand people.

A recent interview with Malik (2010) reveals that "These populations, because they live in shanty towns in precarious conditions, are being criminalized and made the scapegoats of security policy. They think they're being efficient by expelling them from the country, but they're European nationals. They have the right to return to France" (BBC, 2010).

They are EU citizens (Roma) from Romania and/or Bulgaria but on the other hand the French laws require them to have valid work permits and the ability to prove that they have the means and/or ways to sustain their selves in France. When the Roma are asked about the same; complains are that the permits are very difficult to get often forcing them to live illegally.

The plan by Paris to pay 385 US dollars and 100 Euros to cater for each child born to each person that volunteers to leave is very questionable as it is sexist as most of the Roma with children are the women. Many critics go to the extent of questioning the viability of the plan with an argument that it is just but a waste of taxpayer’s money and their resources… as there is nothing that can stop those deported and have taken the money from coming back the very next day.  Most of those deported did so voluntarily but many were undoubtedly sad to have to leave and were very worried as to what awaited them back in Romania where the  human rights groups claim that the Roma do often face discrimination. Recent interview with a Roma man reveals that, "In Romania, you work for 30 days, for 12 to 15 hours a day and you get 150 euros a month. And with two kids and that money, it's not enough to eat and feed the children" (BBC 2010).

Recently the European parliament went ahead and passed a declaration by 337 votes to 245 calling on Paris to "immediately suspend all expulsions of Roma", claiming that the policy "amounted to discrimination". Human rights groups have condemned the operation has been intentionally stigmatizing the law-abiding sections of the French society in hope to win support among their right-wing voters. Members of the UN's Committee on Elimination of any Racial Discrimination have recently criticized the political discourse in Paris on their race issues, saying xenophobia and racism were metamorphosing to a "significant resurgence" there (Arirang, 2010).

Despite France insisting that their actions "fully conform to European rules and do not in any way affect the freedom of movement for EU citizens, as defined by treaties". The foreign ministry spokesman Mr. Bernard Valero recently told AFP that an EU directive does "expressly allow for restrictions on the right to move freely for reasons of public order, public security and public health" (Arirang, 2010). The European Commission then said it would thus ensure that none of their bloc's rules were going to be broken.

Mr. Sarkozy's political rivals have recently accused him of using the recent Roma issue to greatly shift the public attention from corruption to crime. BBC's Christian Fraser in Paris recently said that the president's poll rating was recently sagging with some accusing him of using the recent Roma unrest to heighten his own reputation. It is known that some of the Roma who are living in France were part of the long-established communities of the travelling people who are original French nationals. In totaling, there are an approximately 12,000 Roma who have recently emigrated from Central Europe. In conclusion one can say that the Deportation of Roma from France has been racist, sexist, classist and political as has been mentioned above.

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