France denies UN criticism over Roma's rights abuse

14:43, August 28, 2010      

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A Roma family arrives back home together with about 300 other Roma on planes departing from Paris and Lyon, in the latest wave of what French President Nicholas Sarkozy's government calls a voluntary repatriation scheme, Bucharest, August 26, 2010. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)

France rejected on Friday UN's racism and discrimination watchdog's criticism over its Roma policy, saying human rights are guaranteed in the country.

A 18-expert-panel from UN's Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination urged the French government to energize efforts to ease the rise of racism and xenophobia calling for minorities' integration rather than their expulsion.

"Discriminatory measures based on origin, race or religion, are foreign to principles and values of France. Our history and our rights are in fact based on the principles of equality," Bernard Valero, Foreign Ministry's spokesman said in a statement.

Hundreds of Roma were sent home after French President Nicolas Sarkozy vowed last month to launch a war against delinquency and tight control of criminals disturbing the public order following two violent riots in central and south France.

Police dismantled more than 50 illegal Roma camps over the past two weeks and 700 residents of these camps will be returned to Bulgaria and Romania by the end of August.

"France is treating Roma repatriation issue in line with the European legislation and its international commitments on human rights," Valero added.

Roma from Romania and Bulgaria enjoy free circulation in the European bloc and have the right of residence in all of its states members. "However, the adhesion of a country to the European Union does not grant to its citizens a right of an unconditional stay."

France said it offered social aid to help repatriated immigrants to easily integrate in their native country.

French and Romanian officials target to cement links to trim illegal immigration and find concrete social and economic alternatives to facilitate Roma integration in both countries.

15,000 Roma are living in France, mostly of them from Romania and Bulgaria. More than 8,000 were repatriated voluntary to their courtiers so far this year.

Source: Xinhua


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