Expulsions of Roma from France

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Expulsions of Roma from France

Postby Zamfir » Fri Sep 17, 2010 9:23 pm UTC

This has been in the European news for a few weeks now, with a recent meltdown at the EU heads of state assembly.

In short: France has been expelling Roma to Romania. They lived in trailer camps without permission, and for unclear reasons Sarkozy has started a hard crackdown on these camps, and putting in them on planes. The policy appears to be explicitly aimed at Roma.

There is free movement of citizens within the eu, so France is most likely violating a treaty here. At the recent EU conference, the vice chairman of the European commission condemned France in extreme terms, comparing the policy to WW2 deportations of Roma.

This was seen by the heads of state as going too far, but for the rest they too seem extremely harsh on sarkozy, with a hint that some privately agree with the vice-chairman. France, or at least the government reacts angry on the criticisms.

Here is an English-language article, but the story really is bigger than any single article covers.


From the outside, I do not understand at all where the French policy is coming from. Expelling EU citizens is already dubious, but a targeted crackdown on an ethnic group with such a persecuted past is just incredible. Perhaps someone from France can give more backgrounds?

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Re: Expulsions of Roma from France

Postby Роберт » Fri Sep 17, 2010 9:55 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:From the outside, I do not understand at all where the French policy is coming from. Expelling EU citizens is already dubious, but a targeted crackdown on an ethnic group with such a persecuted past is just incredible. Perhaps someone from France can give more backgrounds?

Why is it incredible to have a crackdown on an ethnic group that is widely discriminated against? What ethnic group could you get away with cracking down on, other than one like that?

Gypsies/Romani are still widely discriminated against, with many real, bad statistics that people can hide their prejudice behind.
At least they aren't forcing sterilization of gypsy/roma women. But yeah, I felt a little weird about it when I saw it in the news, but as a non-European, I don't know enough to make a judgement.... I would like to be enlightened as to why this might be okay.
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Re: Expulsions of Roma from France

Postby Lazar » Fri Sep 17, 2010 10:01 pm UTC

Роберт wrote:Why is it incredible to have a crackdown on an ethnic group that is widely discriminated against? What ethnic group could you get away with cracking down on, other than one like that?

I think Zamfir is going on the assumption that France is a thoroughly postmodern country which should be against all forms of persecution, and totally be down with the Roma and stuff.
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Re: Expulsions of Roma from France

Postby Bubbles McCoy » Sat Sep 18, 2010 1:35 am UTC

Lazar wrote:I think Zamfir is going on the assumption that France is a thoroughly postmodern country which should be against all forms of persecution, and totally be down with the Roma and stuff.

Maybe it's intended as an ironic deconstruction of past attempts at expulsions?

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Re: Expulsions of Roma from France

Postby badmartialarts » Sat Sep 18, 2010 1:59 am UTC

I wonder what kind of headline France is looking to generate here.

"FRANCE SUCCEEDS WHERE GERMANY FAILED". That will go over well. Hmm...

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Re: Expulsions of Roma from France

Postby netcrusher88 » Sat Sep 18, 2010 2:17 am UTC

Zamfir wrote:There is free movement of citizens within the eu, so France is most likely violating a treaty here. At the recent EU conference, the vice chairman of the European commission condemned France in extreme terms, comparing the policy to WW2 deportations of Roma.

BBC World Service (or it might have been one of the American public radio networks) mentioned this in a story I heard the other day, and I hadn't thought of that previously. How exactly do you deport EU citizens from an EU member country, since (as I understand it) the right to residency is extended to all EU citizens by all EU members?
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Re: Expulsions of Roma from France

Postby BoomFrog » Sat Sep 18, 2010 4:26 am UTC

My understanding is that they are being paid to leave, and the reason's stated are that France doesn't want those who "take advantage of their social welfare system". Still bizarre though. Wish I had an English article to back this up. I'm going to ask my French friend about this later, although he already hates Sarkozy so I doubt he'll do much to defend the decision.
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Re: Expulsions of Roma from France

Postby Zamfir » Sat Sep 18, 2010 6:23 am UTC

Lazar wrote:
Роберт wrote:Why is it incredible to have a crackdown on an ethnic group that is widely discriminated against? What ethnic group could you get away with cracking down on, other than one like that?

I think Zamfir is going on the assumption that France is a thoroughly postmodern country which should be against all forms of persecution, and totally be down with the Roma and stuff.

No, my point is that the people who started this policy aren't stupid and must be aware of the historic parallels. It's one thing to break a treaty, it is another thing to do it in a way you're never going to be able to explain abroad.

You'd expect them to have at least some carefully prepared explanation why they care doing this, how this the best thing for everyone, etc. But they act as if it is mostly.an internal affair that shouldn't be controversial at all.

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Re: Expulsions of Roma from France

Postby Habz » Sat Sep 18, 2010 8:06 am UTC

Zamfir wrote:There is free movement of citizens within the eu, so France is most likely violating a treaty here.

The free movement part concerns workforce mainly. IIRC the basic gist is that citizens from an EU-country are allowed to stay in another EU-country for three months only without an employment contract or sufficient wealth to support their own living.

I'm not french, so I don't know how they actually support themselves, but I'd suspect working hasn't got anything to do with it. Nor do I know what's the real problem behind wanting them out of the country, aside from many of them often not being exactly model-citizens.

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Re: Expulsions of Roma from France

Postby Diadem » Sat Sep 18, 2010 9:39 am UTC

EU law is quite complex and what many people would call 'a huge mess'. There is free movement of citizens, but if I am not mistaken some excemptions were made for the some of the poorer Eastern-European countries when they joined. Because Western-Europe didn't want massive amounts of Eastern-Europeans flooding their wellfare systems (and who can blame them for that). I'm not sure if what Habz says is correct for all EU members, but it certainly is in the case of Romania. A Romanian without employment can be expelled. That is not against the treaties.

Also I think criminals can be expelled to their home country. And that is the line France is taking. They are claiming that they are not targetting Roma at all, but criminal immigrants from within the EU. They've been careful not to mention the Roma by name in any of their official documents, although I believe there was one leaked memo in which they were mentioned by name.

Anyway, I haven't been down to France to see exactly what is going on. I can understand the French wish to expell criminal Romanians. But I don't know if they are indeed limiting themselves to that.
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Re: Expulsions of Roma from France

Postby Amarantha » Sat Sep 18, 2010 10:07 am UTC

I was under the impression that, despite the name, Roma are not the same thing as Romanians.

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Re: Expulsions of Roma from France

Postby Diadem » Sat Sep 18, 2010 10:21 am UTC

Amarantha wrote:I was under the impression that, despite the name, Roma are not the same thing as Romanians.

No they are not. But most of them are from Romania.
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Re: Expulsions of Roma from France

Postby johnny_7713 » Sat Sep 18, 2010 10:23 am UTC

Amarantha wrote:I was under the impression that, despite the name, Roma are not the same thing as Romanians.


That is correct, but afaik most Roma do in fact come from Romania and the surrounding countries (e.g. Bulgaria, Hungary). Apparently France has decided that Romania is close enough for deportation purposes.

I haven't really been following this story, but as far as I understand it the official French line is that they are expelling criminals (in principle allowed under EU law, I think). Conveniently these criminals can be identified by the fact that they are Roma and live in trailer parks, so actual criminal records or court proceedings are not necessary*.

*Sarcasm, just in case that wasn't obvious

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Re: Expulsions of Roma from France

Postby General_Norris » Sat Sep 18, 2010 11:10 am UTC

I still think that I'm missing the most important part. I mean, Sarkoxy may be "evil" but I doubt he is stupid and this looks far too simple. What does the law or decree say? What is the official position? They claim it's voluntary but this article puts it between quotation marks, who is saying the truth?

I'm totally lost here. The Goodwin doesn't help matters at all.

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Re: Expulsions of Roma from France

Postby Griffin » Sat Sep 18, 2010 1:05 pm UTC

Didn't France prove a while ago that they really dislike minorities and those who refuse to embrace mainstream French culture? I mean, this may not be par for the course for them, but its an obvious progression from the way they've been treating muslims and other minority groups. If you're not "French" first and foremost, I've always got the feeling in France that they don't really want you around.

And Europe is still chock full of racists and bigots, and cracking down on Roma is an easy to get some popularity. From the people I talked to, there are enough people that don't like them, and enough that just don't care, that treating them like crap is usually a pretty good political move as long as you aren't too obvious about it.

I expect several people and groups to say how unhappy they are, but other than that no one will do a damn thing.

They claim it's voluntary but this article puts it between quotation marks, who is saying the truth?

From what I've read, and I could be wrong here, If they choose to voluntarily, they get a couple hundred dollars. If they don't, they are forced out and get nothing. So no, I don't really see how that is "voluntary".
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Re: Expulsions of Roma from France

Postby Zauderer » Sat Sep 18, 2010 4:38 pm UTC

Habz wrote:The free movement part concerns workforce mainly. IIRC the basic gist is that citizens from an EU-country are allowed to stay in another EU-country for three months only without an employment contract or sufficient wealth to support their own living.


In theory, yes. In practice, deportations from one EU country to another are very rare, and most EU countries simply don't care about citizens of other EU countries.

Diadem wrote:EU law is quite complex and what many people would call 'a huge mess'. There is free movement of citizens, but if I am not mistaken some excemptions were made for the some of the poorer Eastern-European countries when they joined. Because Western-Europe didn't want massive amounts of Eastern-Europeans flooding their wellfare systems (and who can blame them for that). I'm not sure if what Habz says is correct for all EU members, but it certainly is in the case of Romania. A Romanian without employment can be expelled. That is not against the treaties.


Not quite. You don't get immediate access to the welfare system of other EU countries. To get full access, you must have lived and worked for some period (five years in general) in that country, but you might be able to collect some insurance benefits (such as unemployment pay) earlier (but also only if you've paid premiums for some time).

Romanian and Bulgarian citizens can't take advantage of freedom of movement for workers in some of the old EU countries, i.e. if they want to work in such a country, they have to apply for a permit just as citizens of non-EU countries. This is a temporary measure and will expire in 2012.

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Re: Expulsions of Roma from France

Postby Lazar » Sat Sep 18, 2010 8:24 pm UTC

Diadem wrote:
Amarantha wrote:I was under the impression that, despite the name, Roma are not the same thing as Romanians.

No they are not. But most of them are from Romania.

I'm not sure it's most - there are a lot of Roma, at various levels of assimilation, throughout Europe, and on other continents too - but Romania has the biggest Roma population in relative and, likely, in absolute terms, possibly with the highest level of segregation too. (Gypsies were kept as slaves in Romania until the late 19th century.) Whenever this issue comes up I anticipate that some people will confuse Roma with Romania - I've even read claims by (racist) Romanians that the name "Roma" was a sinister Gypsy invention designed to besmirch the name of their great country. Anyway, the name "Romania" derives, ultimately, from Rome, whereas the name "Rom(a)" is a word of Indic origin, meaning man or husband. The similarity of sound is purely coincidental.

On a personal note, my grandmother's family were Gypsies from the Welsh borderlands, which was a pretty tolerant region compared with the rest of Europe.
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Re: Expulsions of Roma from France

Postby EdgarJPublius » Sat Sep 18, 2010 11:15 pm UTC

johnny_7713 wrote:
Amarantha wrote:I was under the impression that, despite the name, Roma are not the same thing as Romanians.


That is correct, but afaik most Roma do in fact come from Romania and the surrounding countries (e.g. Bulgaria, Hungary). Apparently France has decided that Romania is close enough for deportation purposes.

I haven't really been following this story, but as far as I understand it the official French line is that they are expelling criminals (in principle allowed under EU law, I think). Conveniently these criminals can be identified by the fact that they are Roma and live in trailer parks, so actual criminal records or court proceedings are not necessary*.

*Sarcasm, just in case that wasn't obvious


From what I understand, the trailer parks themselves are illegal, and the French line is that they are cracking down on illegal 'encampments'. I read somewhere that the French were also saying that this policy was mostly aimed at and effected French Citizens, and the Roma were more or less a pleasant side-effect of the crack-down (not necessarily in as many words as that).

I suspect this is really part of a much older debate in the EU of what to actually do about the Roma and other wandering ethnic groups that are predisposed to set up camps whether they have any legal right to do so or not, and generally don't recognize any sort of national authority over their movement.
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Re: Expulsions of Roma from France

Postby johnny_7713 » Sun Sep 19, 2010 12:29 pm UTC

EdgarJPublius wrote:I suspect this is really part of a much older debate in the EU of what to actually do about the Roma and other wandering ethnic groups that are predisposed to set up camps whether they have any legal right to do so or not, and generally don't recognize any sort of national authority over their movement.


Very true, although for the sake of context it should also be pointed out that these camps are stereotypically associated with all kinds of criminal behaviour (beyond just illegally setting up camp). Whether these stereotypes are actually backed up by statistics I wouldn't know.

The official French line might be that the Roma are a 'pleasant side-effect', the leaked and subsequently hastily amended presidential order quite clearly specified that Roma camps were the top priority for this operation.

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Re: Expulsions of Roma from France

Postby Le1bn1z » Sun Sep 19, 2010 11:11 pm UTC

Erm, well let's put it this way. You know how Americans in the South get about illegal Mexican immigrants who have jobs, and can pay their own way?

OK. Now imagine they didn't have jobs, generally, but instead lived in spontaneously thrown-together camps with no official status whatsoever. Imagine if the crime rate for these people was above average, and imagine if they considered suggestions that they integrate with normal society (i.e., live somewhere legal) a personal insult.

It would be Tea Party cubed.

Well, that's the Roma situation in France.

But let's be crystal clear on what the French State is doing. They're shutting down hundreds of illegal camps and deporting anyone who is there who either does not have a job or is not a French citizen. Roma who have a job or who are a French citizen are permitted to stay, though they must find legal accomodation.

We can argue 'til we're blue in the face as to whether people from other countries should be able to move anywhere in the world, set up camps wherever they want and then live off of wellfare, unemployed in perpetuity.

But let's be crystal clear on what they're not doing: Rounding up people on the basis of race to ship them to camps where they will be systematically tortured and degraded to beyond the point of recognisable humanity, and then killed in the millions.

I call Godwin on Zamfir and, for that matter, the entire French left wing.
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Re: Expulsions of Roma from France

Postby CorruptUser » Mon Sep 20, 2010 2:00 am UTC

Are <group of people 1> citizens of <country A>? If not, then <country A> has the right to deport <group of people 1>. This holds true unless <country A> signed treaties that require them to accept people with <condition X>, <condition Y>, etc.



Unless France is signatory to treaties that the Romani are protected by, France has the legal right to deport the Romani. Maybe not moral, but certainly legal.

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Re: Expulsions of Roma from France

Postby Zamfir » Mon Sep 20, 2010 5:57 am UTC

Leibniz, it is not in the article above i think, but the main outcry came when a document was leaked that made clear that France was targeting Roma in particular.

Keep in mind that moving within the EU is entirely legal, so the legal basis for most expulsions is that people have committed the crime of camping without license.

Imagine that Canada had a secret policy that would very actively pursue Jews with visa, and would retract those visa on the first grounds it could find. You sure no one would make ww2 comparison in Canada?

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Re: Expulsions of Roma from France

Postby GoC » Mon Sep 20, 2010 11:40 am UTC

Le1bn1z wrote:Erm, well let's put it this way. You know how Americans in the South get about illegal Mexican immigrants who have jobs, and can pay their own way?

OK. Now imagine they didn't have jobs, generally, but instead lived in spontaneously thrown-together camps with no official status whatsoever. Imagine if the crime rate for these people was above average, and imagine if they considered suggestions that they integrate with normal society (i.e., live somewhere legal) a personal insult.

Apparently their very culture does not believe in private property. If they can take something it's theirs. I'm not sure how accurate that assertion (got it from a couple of family members) is as they have a very insular culture (now this is widely accepted as fact).
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Re: Expulsions of Roma from France

Postby Diadem » Mon Sep 20, 2010 12:30 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:Leibniz, it is not in the article above i think, but the main outcry came when a document was leaked that made clear that France was targeting Roma in particular.

So? As long as they only target criminal or illegal Roma I see no problem with that. Policies targetting specific groups do not violate the anti-discrimination principle as long as they do not indiscriminately target everyone in the group, but rather those elements of the group that cause problems.

Different groups require different approaches. Illegal Roma require a different approach than illegal Moroccans or Africans.

Keep in mind that moving within the EU is entirely legal, so the legal basis for most expulsions is that people have committed the crime of camping without license.

No, it's not entirely legal. Most (all?) of the Roma that France are targetting are staying in the country illegally. You do not need a visum to enter the country, but without a job you're only allowed to stay for 3 months. At least if you're from Romania or a number of other Eastern-European countries that recently joined (this rule will expire in 2014 by the way).

Also: Building semi-permanent settlements is not the same as camping.

Imagine that Canada had a secret policy that would very actively pursue Jews with visa, and would retract those visa on the first grounds it could find. You sure no one would make ww2 comparison in Canada?

- It's not a secret policy
- They are not targetting people with a visa, but people without a visa
- They are not searching for excuses to retract a visa. Those visa aren't there in the first place

Your comparison is entirely off.
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Re: Expulsions of Roma from France

Postby Zamfir » Mon Sep 20, 2010 12:39 pm UTC

Diadem wrote:- It's not a secret policy
- They are not targetting people with a visa, but people without a visa
- They are not searching for excuses to retract a visa. Those visa aren't there in the first place

Your comparison is entirely off.

Officially, the policy was aimed at all immigrants, but this week there was a leak of an unofficial document that says that they were specifically targeting Roma camps, in order to send them out of the country. That's were the EU got pissed, since you are not supposed to have policies targeted at specific EU nationalities or ethnic groups

Of course these people do not have visa. They do not need them. They are legally allowed to go to France, and France can only expel if they prove they have been in France too long, or if they commit a crime. So France says that illegal camping is a crime, and expels them. If that's not looking for excuses to expel them, what is?

EDIT: here a piece about the memo:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/sep/13/sarkozy-roma-expulsion-human-rights wrote:It comes as an embarrassment to immigration minister Eric Besson who, just a few days ago, said sending police to destroy camps and settlements set up by travellers from Romania and Bulgaria and ordering inhabitants to leave France was not aimed at the Roma.

He insisted they were being treated no differently to other European Union migrants who do not meet France's residency rules. "France has not taken any measure specifically against the Roma [who] are not considered as such but as natives of the country whose nationality they have," he said.

However, a leaked memo, dated 5 August 2010, and signed by the chief of staff for interior minister Brice Hortefeux, reminds French officials of a "specific objective" set out by Sarkozy.

"300 camps or illegal settlements must be evacuated within three months; Roma camps are a priority," the memo reads. "It is down to the préfect [state representative] in each department to begin a systematic dismantling of the illegal camps, particularly those of the Roma."


Just to be clear: as I understand, Roma camps are indeed a nuisance to have around, and a lot of people are using EU laws for migrant workers to go to countries without any intention of getting work there. If France is getting a particularly heavy load of both problems, I can understand why they want to shift the burden to other countries.

At the same time, they are using tactics that are as heavy-handed as they can get away with, and whose only point seems to be to encourage unpopular people to move to other wealthy EU countries instead of France. No constructive solutions at all.

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Re: Expulsions of Roma from France

Postby Chen » Mon Sep 20, 2010 1:04 pm UTC

You can't really get much from that minor statement in the memo. If Roma camps are a particular problem compared to other illegal camps wouldn't it make sense to focus on them?

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Re: Expulsions of Roma from France

Postby Zamfir » Mon Sep 20, 2010 1:09 pm UTC

Chen wrote:You can't really get much from that minor statement in the memo. If Roma camps are a particular problem compared to other illegal camps wouldn't it make sense to focus on them?

The government denied this in strong terms before the leak, and said that they would look at all cases individually, without taking ethnicity into account.

Roma camps might well be particular problems. After all, they are filled with people who do not speak French, which presumably makes getting a job a lot harder.

One thing is that France can't solve this alone. At the moment, their policy simply leads to people going to Romania and then driving to another country than France (or even back to France). Any constructive policy will need some EU-wide coordination. Another thing is that France isn't exactly offering legal alternatives to illegal camps. A reasonable EU-wide policy would be to have enough legal places for travelers to go to. With such a system in place, removal of illegal camps becomes much more defensible.

Of course, problems will stay. Travellers don't seem to like any government, don't like to go to official places and register themselves, and Eastern-European travellers won't get jobs that easily. But there could be a lot more compromise: more communication with representatives, asking what they think would help them to live and get a job, clear lines about which behaviour will lead to dismantlement of camps and which will not. If stealing and not-stealing both lead to expulsion, camps have little reason to police themselves.

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Re: Expulsions of Roma from France

Postby Роберт » Mon Sep 20, 2010 2:14 pm UTC

Diadem wrote:
Zamfir wrote:Leibniz, it is not in the article above i think, but the main outcry came when a document was leaked that made clear that France was targeting Roma in particular.

So? As long as they only target criminal or illegal Roma I see no problem with that.

This is not a direct analogy, but I want you to see how someone could disagree with your morality/philosophy, Diadem.

Imagine I ran the police force of a small town. I set up reasonable speed limits, clearly marked with good signs. I then focus on catching all black people who break the road laws; this is my primary objective. I also enforce the laws on white people, sometimes, but I am targeting the blacks who are breaking the law in particular.

Yes, they are breaking the law. Let's even say that in my particular area, blacks are more likely to be unemployed, and more likely to be (convicted of) engaging in criminal activity. Is my action morally right? No.

I'm not saying this is exactly analogous to the French crackdown on illegal encampments, I'm just saying "only targeting" people who are breaking the law doesn't make it right.
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Re: Expulsions of Roma from France

Postby yedidyak » Mon Sep 20, 2010 5:15 pm UTC

Surely there is a difference between stopping all speeding offenders and only arresting the black ones, and targeting a culture that has as a part of it breaking laws - by building illegally?

Lets say that there are others who build semi-permanent illegal structures around France. It still makes sense to target large encampments than one off buildings.

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Re: Expulsions of Roma from France

Postby EdgarJPublius » Mon Sep 20, 2010 5:31 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:
Chen wrote:You can't really get much from that minor statement in the memo. If Roma camps are a particular problem compared to other illegal camps wouldn't it make sense to focus on them?

The government denied this in strong terms before the leak, and said that they would look at all cases individually, without taking ethnicity into account.

Roma camps might well be particular problems. After all, they are filled with people who do not speak French, which presumably makes getting a job a lot harder.

One thing is that France can't solve this alone. At the moment, their policy simply leads to people going to Romania and then driving to another country than France (or even back to France). Any constructive policy will need some EU-wide coordination. Another thing is that France isn't exactly offering legal alternatives to illegal camps. A reasonable EU-wide policy would be to have enough legal places for travelers to go to. With such a system in place, removal of illegal camps becomes much more defensible.

Of course, problems will stay. Travellers don't seem to like any government, don't like to go to official places and register themselves, and Eastern-European travellers won't get jobs that easily. But there could be a lot more compromise: more communication with representatives, asking what they think would help them to live and get a job, clear lines about which behaviour will lead to dismantlement of camps and which will not. If stealing and not-stealing both lead to expulsion, camps have little reason to police themselves.



Providing alternatives to illegal campsites costs money, and the Roma/other nomadic groups do not generally provide the host government any incentive to spend money on them. Furthermore, I believe in areas where this has been tried (I believe the U.K. tried such a plan to manage Irish Travelers) the groups targeted have not been inclined to take advantage of government provided land in favor of illegal campsites
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Re: Expulsions of Roma from France

Postby johnny_7713 » Tue Sep 21, 2010 8:44 am UTC

yedidyak wrote:Surely there is a difference between stopping all speeding offenders and only arresting the black ones, and targeting a culture that has as a part of it breaking laws - by building illegally?

Lets say that there are others who build semi-permanent illegal structures around France. It still makes sense to target large encampments than one off buildings.


Quite, but it would appear that France is not targeting encampments based on their size, but rather based on the ethnicity of their inhabitants. (E.g. the executive order mentioned, which said Roma camps are a priority, not large camps)

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Re: Expulsions of Roma from France

Postby Diadem » Tue Sep 21, 2010 10:19 am UTC

Роберт wrote:
Diadem wrote:
Zamfir wrote:Leibniz, it is not in the article above i think, but the main outcry came when a document was leaked that made clear that France was targeting Roma in particular.

So? As long as they only target criminal or illegal Roma I see no problem with that.

This is not a direct analogy, but I want you to see how someone could disagree with your morality/philosophy, Diadem.

Imagine I ran the police force of a small town. I set up reasonable speed limits, clearly marked with good signs. I then focus on catching all black people who break the road laws; this is my primary objective. I also enforce the laws on white people, sometimes, but I am targeting the blacks who are breaking the law in particular.

Yes, they are breaking the law. Let's even say that in my particular area, blacks are more likely to be unemployed, and more likely to be (convicted of) engaging in criminal activity. Is my action morally right? No.

I'm not saying this is exactly analogous to the French crackdown on illegal encampments, I'm just saying "only targeting" people who are breaking the law doesn't make it right.

I quite agree with your example. However I am not convinced the situations are qualitatively the same.

The difference is that speeding is something that white people also do, so you are making a distinction (colour of the skin) that is irrelevant in the case at hand. In the case of Roma living in France though, the distinction is a relevant one. Native French are not staying in the country illegally. Sure there are other illegal groups, but different groups require a different approach. You have to discriminate. You can't expell Somalians to Romania for example, that don't make sense. Expulsion is not an easy process. You have to find the people, proof that they are in the country illegally, but that's only the start of it. You can't just drop them across the border. You have to send them back to the country they came from. Which is often very complicated because you're not allowed to expell people to countries where they'd be in danger (And what is danger? Is Somalia safe enough to expell people to? What about Iran? Iran is safe in general, but not for gays or political enemies of the regime. So that's tricky). Also proofing which country someone is from can be very complex. And then the host country has to accept them, which not all countries do.

So each group requires a different approach. And it makes perfect sense to target the groups that cause a lot of problems first. Or groups that can be easily expelled.
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Re: Expulsions of Roma from France

Postby yedidyak » Tue Sep 21, 2010 10:53 am UTC

johnny_7713 wrote:
yedidyak wrote:Surely there is a difference between stopping all speeding offenders and only arresting the black ones, and targeting a culture that has as a part of it breaking laws - by building illegally?

Lets say that there are others who build semi-permanent illegal structures around France. It still makes sense to target large encampments than one off buildings.


Quite, but it would appear that France is not targeting encampments based on their size, but rather based on the ethnicity of their inhabitants. (E.g. the executive order mentioned, which said Roma camps are a priority, not large camps)


Do you think that there are large camps of illegal buildings that are not Roma? In any case, there are over 300 (according to the French) illegal Roma camps. Even if there are other large illegal camps, which I doubt, it still makes sense to go after the largest group of systematic offenders first.

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Re: Expulsions of Roma from France

Postby AngrySquirrel » Tue Sep 21, 2010 11:04 am UTC

It's funny how when you make someone's culture illegal they tend to turn into criminals.
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Re: Expulsions of Roma from France

Postby Chen » Tue Sep 21, 2010 11:51 am UTC

johnny_7713 wrote:Quite, but it would appear that France is not targeting encampments based on their size, but rather based on the ethnicity of their inhabitants. (E.g. the executive order mentioned, which said Roma camps are a priority, not large camps)


If they were targeting Roma camps specifically due to the fact they were Roma I suppose I could have a problem with it. Its not clear thats the case though. If they are targeting the Roma camps because Roma camps are the ones that have the most issues or most criminal acts or whatever, it seems legitimate to me. A memo that says "Roma camps are a priority" could just as easily say "Camps with the highest crime rate are a priority" if Roma camps are the ones that have the highest crime rate. The latter would be a more PC, media friendly way of saying it, but for an internal memo I could see why they might use the former instead.

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Re: Expulsions of Roma from France

Postby TheKrikkitWars » Tue Sep 21, 2010 12:25 pm UTC

General_Norris wrote:The Goodwin doesn't help matters at all.

Does Godwin apply to cases where the action in question is not just capable of being equivicated with a Nazi policy, but is a direct parrallel of [an early, later made more extreme] Nazi policy?
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Re: Expulsions of Roma from France

Postby Diadem » Tue Sep 21, 2010 12:44 pm UTC

AngrySquirrel wrote:It's funny how when you make someone's culture illegal they tend to turn into criminals.

So what do you propose? We give people a free pass to do whatever they want as long as it's culture? You better warn women's rights groups fighting female genital mutilation that they are being intolerant bigots!
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Re: Expulsions of Roma from France

Postby General_Norris » Tue Sep 21, 2010 1:00 pm UTC

TheKrikkitWars wrote:
General_Norris wrote:The Goodwin doesn't help matters at all.

Does Godwin apply to cases where the action in question is not just capable of being equivicated with a Nazi policy, but is a direct parrallel of [an early, later made more extreme] Nazi policy?

Goodwin only says that " As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one.". It doesn't say that it is not a valid comparison.

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Re: Expulsions of Roma from France

Postby yedidyak » Tue Sep 21, 2010 1:16 pm UTC

TheKrikkitWars wrote:
General_Norris wrote:The Goodwin doesn't help matters at all.

Does Godwin apply to cases where the action in question is not just capable of being equivicated with a Nazi policy, but is a direct parrallel of [an early, later made more extreme] Nazi policy?


Well, if you are follow the logic that any law in Nazi Germany was a Nazi policy, then locking up thieves would also count.

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Re: Expulsions of Roma from France

Postby AngrySquirrel » Tue Sep 21, 2010 1:26 pm UTC

Diadem wrote:
AngrySquirrel wrote:It's funny how when you make someone's culture illegal they tend to turn into criminals.

So what do you propose? We give people a free pass to do whatever they want as long as it's culture? You better warn women's rights groups fighting female genital mutilation that they are being intolerant bigots!

Because clearly setting up camp is a horrible inhuman thing that can easily be put as equal to mutilation. Yes, that's sarcasm.

The problems are not the camps. The problem is how the camps and the people in them are treated and their reactions to being threated that way.

It's a more complex problem than what can be solved with simple laws and regulations, but disallowing traveller camps and sending the problem to a different area is not going to solve shit. Telling Roma and Travellers that they have to abandon the core of their culture so they can be made to fit in with society's ideas of how "people should be" is not going to make anyone want to dance to your tune. This is not some entity we are dealing with, this is people, and people are complicated. If someone wants to actually solve the problem acting like a bully is not going to help. What is needed is dialogue with the community/family leaders and an attempt and understanding the culture. And yes this goes both ways. But of course it's much easier for politicians to just treat Romas and Travellers as if they're a single entity and turning them into "those criminal families", it's not going to win them any votes to treat them like people after all.

When you treat someone as filth and thieves before you've even met them you're not giving them any incentive to do anything differently. And Roma and Travellers have been treated like shit for so long it's the status quo.
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