Provence & Côte d'Azur: Manuel Valls is currently in Romania to discuss the issue of the travelling community with country's government
Gypsy expulsions continue in Marseille
The announcement, released by the government on Wednesday 13th September, ordered the dissollution of Roma camps throughout the city. The largest settlement to be dissolved is a camp of around 100 Roma who have made their temporary home in the Madrague Ville area near an emergency housing centre. Elsewhere, in the 14th district of the city, a camp of 46 gypsies has also been ordered to leave boulevard de Plombières where they have been living. The group of travellers had made an appeal to the courts asking if they could stay but it was rejected.
The decision comes after the recent removal of more than 100 Roma, including 20 children, from a camp in the city by more than 50 police officers in late August. Over the summer season, more than 2,000 Roma have been evicted from land where they have made camp throughout the PACA region.
While authorities are pushing the gypsies out of Marseille, further east the municipal tribunal (TGI) of Aix en Provence granted residency of three months to 200 gypsies occupying private land in Velaux (Bouches du Rhône), despite the demands from the land owner for their expulsion.
According to local media France3, the country has been host to over 15,000 Romanian travellers this summer and Interior Minister Manuel Valls is being put under increasing pressure by critics regarding the alleged abuse of human rights through the expulsion of gypsies from land. However, the station reports that the minister is determined to maintain a "firm" stance regarding the nomadic community. Yesterday, Valls departed on an official visit to Romania where he will be discussing the issue of Roma travellers in France with his Romanian counterpart.
A solution has yet to be found regarding the residency of Roma travellers in France and despite Manuel Valls' offers of free flights and financial incentives to Roma travellers, many are believed to simply come back to France after returning to their home country.
On a national level, Hollande's government is experiencing pressure from both sides with respect to the travelling community. On one hand, French residents deplore the setting up of camps and the community are a drain on time and resources. However on the other hand, Hollande has been criticised for the apparent abuse of human rights on the part of the French government towards the nomadic society.
Rita Izsak, an expert on minority issues for the United Nations, has said that "the Roma are European Union citizens and Europe's most marginalised minority."