Anti-Roma rhetoric has Nazi echoes: Europe rights chief

8th September 2010, Comments 0 comments

The rhetoric accompanying France's expulsions of Roma migrants is similar to that used by the Nazis, a senior European official said Wednesday, prompting an angry response from Paris.

"The current political rhetoric against the Roma is similar to the words used by the Nazis and fascist regimes. Politicians must show more responsibility," said Thomas Hammarberg, the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe, on micro-blogging site Twitter.

The Swede also linked to a report on German TV channel 3Sat which criticised French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

France said it was shocked by Hammarberg's comments.

"I have given instructions... to make official representations tomorrow (Thursday) to demand an explanation from Thomas Hammarberg," Europe Minister Pierre Lellouche told AFP.

"I am surprised and shocked by these comments on Twitter which use extremely serious terms that are then linked to the French government by this technology," said Lellouche, who is due in Bucharest on Thursday to discuss the Roma expulsions with the Romanian government.

France has deported almost 1,000 Roma migrants to Bulgaria and Romania since President Sarkozy's government launched a high-profile security crackdown in July.

France came in for strong criticism during a European parliament debate over the treatment of the Roma on Tuesday.

Lellouche reiterated that the expulsions were being handled in accordance with European law.

© 2010 AFP

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