Sarkozy's Purge of Gypsies 'Borderline Illegal'

France has sent about 8,300 packing this year
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 28, 2010 1:40 PM CDT
Sarkozy's Purge of Gypsies 'Borderline Illegal'
Romanian Gypsy or Roma children sit next to luggage upon arriving with a group of about 300 Romanian Roma people from France, in Bucharest, Romania, Thursday, Aug. 26, 2010.   (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

Nicolas Sarkozy's government continues its purge of Gypsies as international condemnation piles up. The latest criticism comes from a UN race panel worried "about the rise in violence of a racist nature" against Gypsies—and it asks the government to back off in the name of "human rights," reports AP. The French government is unrepentant, however, and this week sent 700 more back to Romania. That brings this year's total to 8,300.

"Aside from drawing allegations of racism and bigotry, Sarkozy's actions border on the illegal," writes Claire Suddath in Time. Most Gypsies are from Romania and Bulgaria, which makes them EU citizens entitled to greater travel rights in other EU nations. Besides, she notes, most of those who have left have taken the government's offer of 300 euro to do so. And "many of them will probably come right back." (More France stories.)

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