Housing campaigners calls for UN rights action on France
A lobby group on housing rights called Monday on the UN Human Rights Council to demand that France stop expelling Roma gypsies and to allow those already deported to return.
"The council should urge France to halt all further forced evictions and deportations of Roma in France and to provide remedies to those already forcibly evicted and expelled, including the right to return and the right to adequate housing and land restitution," said Gotzon Onandia-Zarrabe, advocacy director of the Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions.
He pointed out that France has legal obligations to "respect, protect and fulfil the right to adequate housing," and to do so without discrimination.
"If Roma housing is indeed substandard, that fact demonstrates that France is unwilling or unable to meet its obligation to fulfil the right to adequate housing," said Onandia-Zarrabe.
"In such a situation, carrying out forced evictions only exacerbates the problem and adds to the violations of international human rights law."
France's move to evict Roma gypsies has drawn some sharp international criticism but President Nicolas Sarkozy vowed last week at an EU summit to continue dismantling illegal gypsy and traveller camps in France.
© 2010 AFP