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French government backs legal right to housing

[JURIST] The government of France [JURIST news archive] has said that it will recognize a citizen's legal right to housing [press release, in French]. In a statement Wednesday, French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin [official website, in French; JURIST news archive] said a draft law would implement the right in two stages, for the most needy by the end of 2008 and for others with insufficient housing by 2012. Sources say the French Parliament may vote on a draft law as early as next month. An advocacy group known as Les Enfants de Don Quichotte (translated as "The Children of Don Quixote") [advocacy website, in French] drew attention to the issue of homelessness in France as members began camping out in red tents in Paris last month.

French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy [official profile; BBC profile] and Socialist Party presidential candidate Segolene Royal [BBC profile] have also expressed their support for fighting homelessness in France. Sarkozy and Royal are the prime candidates to replace French President Jacques Chirac in elections scheduled for spring 2007. Reuters has more.

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