Tags: france roma sarkozy

Sarkozy's Crackdown on Roma Fuels Criticism

Monday, 30 Aug 2010 08:24 PM


PARIS - Much of France has returned from summer vacation in a rancorous mood, disturbed by a crackdown ordered by President Nicolas Sarkozy against illegal Roma camps and naturalized immigrant youths who attack police in troubled suburbs, The Washington Post reports.

The campaign, in which 50 of about 300 Roma, or Gypsy, camps have been destroyed since July, has added to political discontent already swelling over Sarkozy's plans to push back the retirement age from 60 to 62 and suggestions that a minister in his cabinet, Eric Woerth, used his influence to place his wife in a job helping manage the fortune of France's wealthiest woman.

But the unease over the action against illegal Roma immigrants, most from Romania and Bulgaria, has been particularly strong, with the expulsions drawing criticism at home and abroad.

For many, such policies undermine France's idea of itself as a haven for exiles and a beacon for human rights. Similar fears of intolerance were raised in July when, at Sarkozy's urging, the National Assembly passed a law banning women from wearing full-face Islamic veils in public.

A U.N. human rights panel sharply criticized Sarkozy's actions against the Roma camps last week and called on him to halt the campaign. Pope Benedict XVI, speaking in French to make sure the message was received, called on Catholics to respect human diversity. Taking the church's criticism one step further, the archbishop of Toulouse, Robert Le Gall, suggested a parallel with France's expulsion of Jews during the Nazi occupation in World War

Read the entire story at washingtonpost.com




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2010-24-30
Monday, 30 Aug 2010 08:24 PM
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