Rights group urges EU nations to stop forced Roma deportation

[JURIST] Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] on Tuesday urged EU members to stop forcibly deporting [report, PDF; press release] Roma migrants [JURIST news archive] to Kosovo. AI believes that Roma, as well as other ethnic minority groups, could face persecution or violence upon their return. The report emphasizes the tension that has existed in the region over the last two decades and previous examples of persecution. The report also describes the difficulties that ethnic minorities face in Kosovo [BBC report], including extremely high rates of unemployment and limited access to education, healthcare, housing and social benefits. The report says:

Amnesty International considers that acceptable conditions for the return - forcible or otherwise - of people hailing from minority communities ... do not exist at the present time in Kosovo. The organization does not consider that conditions have, as of yet, sufficiently changed on the grounds in Kosovo so as to provide a fundamental (major, profound and stable) and durable change in circumstances. The situation at present and for the longer-term is consequently both unstable and uncertain.
AI concluded by calling upon EU nations and Kosovo to take specific actions in order to secure the safety of the Roma. The Roma are being sent back to Kosovo as part of the readmission agreements [text, PDF] that Kosovo has signed with many members of the EU.

The issue of how EU members and Kosovo should handle the Roma migrants and other ethnic groups has received a considerable amount of international attention, with France being the latest target. Earlier this month, the EU Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship Viviane Reding [official profile] threatened legal action [JURIST report] against France for its deportation of Roma, calling the initiative "a disgrace." Also this month, more than 100,000 people in 130 cities across France protested the security policies of President Nicolas Sarkozy [official website, in French], including his decision to deport [JURIST reports] the illegal Roma. However, such policies [JURIST comment] are not new for France. In August, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination [official website] unveiled a review [JURIST report] of France's compliance with the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD) [text]. The report raised questions about draft legislation that would strip naturalized citizens of citizenship for committing certain crimes and the decision to dismantle 300 unauthorized Roma encampments.

 

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