The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) [official website] concluded its 77th session Friday by expressing concern [text] with the discrimination faced by Roma migrants [JURIST news archive] in numerous European countries, focusing on France's recent expulsion policy. The committee's concern was not limited to France's expulsion policy, but also included the behavior of politicians, including "political speeches of a discriminatory nature." CERD noted the seeming contradiction between France's preparation of a national plan to fight racism, while at the same time expelling individuals without any consent:
The Committee expressed concern over the difficult situation members of the Roma community were facing with regard to their economic, social and cultural rights. As the State party had accepted the principle of linguistic and cultural diversity, the Committee was concerned over the partial implementation of that principle on the French territory.France has defended its handling of the Roma [Telegraph report], saying only few cases result in forced deportation and that France was helping those displaced reintegrate into their countries of origin.
On Thursday, the EU Parliamentary Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists & Democrats accused France of violating EU law [JURIST report] with its expulsion policy. Last month, French President Nicolas Sarkozy [official website, in French] ordered measures against illegal Roma communities in France and announced legislation [JURIST report] that would make deportation easier. At the time, the French government aimed to dismantle half of illegal Roma camps within three months and to immediately deport all those found to have broken the law. In February, following the alleged rape of a 14-year-old girl by East European immigrants, Italian authorities began dismantling illegal immigrant camps [JURIST report] around Rome that were heavily populated by members of the Roma minority.