UN report on Roma 'caricature' of French policy: minister

27th August 2010, Comments 0 comments

A French minister Friday angrily condemned as "excessive and caricatured" a United Nations report that criticised France's treatment of minorities and urged Paris not to expel Roma en masse.

Minister for European Affairs Pierre Lellouche -- reacting to a critical survey of French race relations from a UN panel -- defended France's tough policies of deporting Gypsies and banning the full-face Islamic veil.

"This report ... distinguishes itself by its excessive and caricatured character and by its numerous factual errors," Lellouche told an audience of French ambassadors meeting at their annual conference in Paris.

"I would like to remind people that -- whether it's about public safety, the fight against illegal immigration and human trafficking or the ban on face coverings in public -- all these policies are designed to guarantee freedoms, notably women's equality, to protect the vulnerable and to preserve the most important human right, that of security," he declared.

Specifically addressing concerns over France's accelerating drive to expel foreign-born members of the Roma travelling minority back to Eastern Europe, Lellouche said it was a subject that should be handled carefully and noted "that no EU member state has criticised French policy."

© 2010 AFP

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