France: Legislation will end permits for travelling people
The English-language edition of Radio France International reported on 10 June that the French lower house has voted to end the travel permits for those known as gens de voyage (travellers). Human rights groups and those representing the minority are welcoming the move.
Approximately 350 000 citizens fall into this legal category. They usually live in mobile homes and park them at special campsites that are managed by local authorities.
Since 1969 they have been required to carry a livret de circulation, a permit that functions like an internal passport granting them access to campsites and other social services. Travellers have long described that the document is a double-edged sword that can be used to discriminate against them.
The right-wing opposition party Les Républicains (formerly UMP) is opposed to aspects of the bill that it claims will further burden local authorities with respect to maintaining traveller reception sites, which it claims are often left in poor condition by those who use them. French MP Annie Genevard (Les Républicains) was quoted as saying that some travellers "create real problems that negatively affect the populations around them".
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