France under increasing fire over Gypsy expulsions

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
August 28, 2010 07:16

 
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PARIS — France came under increasing pressure to stop its mass expulsions of Gypsies when a United Nations human rights panel added its voice to the chorus of condemnation against the nation that considers itself the cradle of human rights.

In recent weeks, France has stepped up its long-standing policy of rounding up Eastern European Gypsies, or Roma, and sending them home, sparking the ire of opposition lawmakers and European Union officials. Officials have dismantled more than 100 illegal camps and sent hundreds of Roma back to their homes in Eastern Europe in recent weeks.

In the latest round of criticism, a report released Friday by a UN anti-racism panel urged France to avoid its "collective repatriation(s)" and expressed concern that members of the minority weren't receiving full voting, education and housing rights in France.

In its report, the UN panel, known by the acronym CERD, said it was "worried about the rise in violence of a racist nature against Roma" in France. It recommended the country "avoid collective repatriations in particular and work toward lasting solutions to challenges with the Roma based on the complete respect of their human rights."

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