the appalling treatment of jewish people and muslims in france and the violence and oppression they face has gotten some more attention these past few months following certain events and i am endlessly glad and grateful about that and support all conversations around it.
but i want you all to know that they are not the only groups that the french government and its people are treating inhumanly. france is one of the worst and most overtly violent countries in its treatment of romani in the entirety of europe.
in 2014 they evicted 13.483 romani from the country. that’s almost three settlements per week. the people evicted were making use of their right to move freely within the EU as citizens of countries like romania and the evictions not only violate EU but also international law.
romani are not allowed to attend school in france either. more than half of romani children surveyed were not attending school and when asked why the parents said they provided all identification and enrolment papers and were rejected anyway on grounds of their ethnicity. this is flat out illegal.
violence and hate crimes against romani are astronomically high in france. reports of romani settlements being burned down or demolished after its inhabitants are forcefully chased out of them are common and the police does nothing about it. in fact, the police is often leading the violence themselves. roma lead the list of hate crimes in europe and france is no exception.
politicians and major public figures often engage in outright hate speech and it’s at best tolerated and at worst encouraged. events like a french mp saying “maybe hitler didn’t kill enough of you” are not isolated incidents.
france isn’t the only perpetrator of violence and oppression of course. romani endure things like forced sterilisation, denial of health care, education or housing and extreme poverty in all of europe. (more sources: 1, 2, 3). but they are definitely among the worst.
one of the reasons why france is able to get away with this is because almost no one knows or cares about what is happening to france’s romani population. there are no big news articles, no protests, no discussions around this except for very few spaces which don’t have a wide reach. that’s not acceptable at all.
france needs to be held accountable for the violence they perpetrate against the marginalised members of their population and their crimes (because they are crimes!) need to be shared with as many people as possible. if you can, please educate yourself, share information and consider donating to errc.org to help them fight for romani rights.