French doctors' group denounces government's Roma 'war'

4th September 2010, Comments 0 comments

A French aid organisation on Saturday accused the government of "declaring war" on Roma migrants, saying the destruction of illegal camps was forcing many in the minority to sleep rough.

"This summer, there has been a veritable declaration of war which has manifested itself in the systematic destruction of the places in which they live," said Dr Philippe Rodier of Medecins du Monde (Doctors of the World), ahead of a demonstration against the crackdown in the southern French city of Marseille.

According to the organisation, nine of the 14 main Roma camps in the city had been destroyed, with hundreds of people forced to live in the steets.

"Our teams have heard that things are very hard for (Roma) families, who have been gravely insulted," said Rodier.

French authorities have linked the Roma to crime and expelled nearly 1,000 to Romania and Bulgaria since announcing a high-profile crackdown in July, sparking international criticism.

More than 8,000 have been deported since the beginning of the year, with 9,875 expelled throughout last year.

© 2010 AFP

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