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October 21, 2014
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France, Romania sign treaty on repatriating Romani people who overstay

Bucharest, 13.9.2012 19:31, (ROMEA)

Bucharest and Paris have undertaken to cooperate more closely on the repatriation of Romani citizens from Romania living illegally in France. The two states have confirmed this by signing a framework agreement to contribute toward the integration of 80 Romani families recently deported back to Romania from France.

The document was signed yesterday by French Interior Minister Manuel Valls and French EU Affairs Minister Bernard Cazeneuve during talks with Romanian officials in Bucharest. "We want to make sure our joint efforts are concentrated on a solution in which Romani people settle in their home country, Romania," Valls said after his negotiations with Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta.

The Romanian leader assured the French representatives that his country will take responsibility for the integration of the Romani community, but added that his government needs support from the European Union and from France. "The future of these Romani communities must lie in Europe, but should lie mainly in Romania," he added.

Bucharest and Paris also expressed appreciation to one another for the cooperation between police forces in both countries in their fight against a network of "white slavery" traders. Romanian President Traian Basescu and Romanian PM Ponta promised to continue to send Romanian police officers abroad to assist their French colleagues in the field with such cases.

The visit by the French ministers to Bucharest is taking place at a time when Paris faces criticism from the UN and NGOs working to protect Romani people over the French Government's policy of forcibly liquidating illegal campsites occupied by Romani people. The policy was initiated by the former right-wing president, Nicolas Sarkozy, and the new socialist government is continuing it.

"The program of 'voluntary' repatriations is discriminatory," the NGOs have declared. They are accusing the current French authorities of hypocrisy.

An estimated 15 000 - 20 000 Romani people from abroad are living in France, most of them in impoverished camps on the outskirts of large towns or cities. French authorities claim the Romani campers do not have the necessary residence permits. Valls also initiated police interventions because the camps are said to pose a public health risk.

Many previously deported Romani people returned to France after receiving EUR 300 each from French authorities to support their return to their home country. In Romania, 620 000 persons have identified themselves as Romani during the official census, but unofficial estimates say the number of Romani people there is as high as 2 million.

"The Romanian Government must accept its responsibility for improving the situation of Romani people in Romania, that can't be done from Paris," declared Marian Daragiu, chair of the Civic Democratic Association of Romani People in Romania. He went on to condemn a "lack of political will" to assist the Romani community in rising out of poverty, claiming that Romanian government aid has been restricted to social welfare benefits only.

ČTK, Gwendolyn Albert, Czech Press Agency, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Romani family maligned by Czech press repeatedly attacked while asleep

Sedlčany, 21.10.2014 18:50, (ROMEA)
For the past six months, a Romani family in the Central Bohemian town of Sedlčany has been living with the fear that they will once again be attacked by unidentified hoodlums breaking the glass in yet another of their windows or shouting racist threats outside their front door. The local council has helpfully approved the acquisition and installation of a new camera as part of the municipal CCTV system on their street, which could aid in deterring the incidents.
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Slovakia: Neo-Nazi fined EUR 400 for kicking victim in the head

Nitra, Slovakia, 20.10.2014 23:17, (ROMEA)
The Slovak news server ta3.com reports that the first sentence has been handed down in the scandal of the aggressive neo-Nazis who assaulted customers of the Mariatchi Bar in the Slovak town of Nitra last year. Professional soldier Tomáš Spišiak has been fined EUR 400, which he must pay the state for having kicked a defenseless, prone person twice in the head.
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Karel Holomek: Czech MP in charge of education amendment is unqualified

Brno, 20.10.2014 18:37, (ROMEA)
Recently I have tried not to comment on Romani affairs, as I have the feeling it could be perceived as an obsession. However, I must respond to a recent article by Martin Shab (Varování: romské děti nejsou zvláštní - "Warning: Romani children aren't special").
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