France: Forced evictions set to leave dozens of Roma families homeless in Paris

Dozens of families will be left homeless if the French authorities go ahead with a planned forced eviction of a Roma camp in a Paris suburb this week, Amnesty International has warned.

More than 200 Roma living in an informal settlement near Bobigny are set to be forcibly evicted from their homes within the next 48 hours, but many have not have been offered alternative housing.

According to international human rights standards, evictions should not make people homeless or vulnerable to other human rights violations.

The eviction is set to take place imminently despite Bobigny’s High Court decision in July that it would constitute a violation of the right to family and private life.  The court also contested the municipality’s claim that the eviction was urgently needed.

Around two-thirds of the residents of the camps – mostly families with children who attend school in Bobigny - have so far been provided with alternative accommodation. Other residents, including families with very young children as well as elderly or ill members, will be made homeless.

The alternative housing proposed by the authorities is inadequate. It consists of flats not designed for families, some of which are beyond the outskirts of Paris, and at a great distance from the schools currently attended by the Bobigny children.

John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Europe and Central Asia Director, said:

“This forced eviction would leave families – including children, the sick and the elderly – living on the streets, deprived of their human rights.

“The French authorities must halt the forced eviction until they can offer suitable alternative housing solutions that have been accepted by the Roma community after proper consultation.

“The forced eviction will have disastrous consequences for the Bobigny Roma and ruin the progress made in recent months to integrate these families into the community.”

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