Press Release From the Collective to Support Roma Families in the Plaine de Triel-Chanteloup

Press release from the Collective to support Roma families in the Plaine de Triel-Chanteloup supported by Droit au Logment, Human Rights League, Education Without Borders Network, Union Française des Associations Tziganes August 4, 2010

No evictions from the land or from the country. Restoration of social rights.

We are speaking out against the declarations of the President of the Republic of the last few days, cynically mixing up delinquency and immigration and pointing out to popular vindictiveness certain populations, transformed into scapegoats, in particular the Roma.

Romanian and Bulgarian Roma are European citizens and therefore enjoy freedom of movement in France. But in 2007, when Romania and Bulgaria entered the European Union, the French government, unlike other countries, imposed transitional measures excluding their nationals from the labor market, and therefore, more often than not, also social benefits.

Locally, what about? The Roma families of the Triel-Chanteloup plain have lived in France for several years, some for more than 6 years. They simply ask to work and live decently and on good terms with everyone.

They came because in Romania the Roma are severely discriminated against and suffer from destitution and hunger. Parents express this hope as follows: “We came to France to be able to eat and educate our children. “Sedentary, these families want to settle, live and work with dignity in the Yvelines, where life can be good.

Unable to work legally and receiving almost no social assistance, they are forced to live in more or less dilapidated caravans in the plain because this is the only solution currently.

The Caisse d’Allocations Familiales (CAF) of Yvelines continues to deny these families family allowances, always requiring more supporting documents, which are impossible to provide. Yet in other departments, Roma families in a comparable situation receive family allowances. The CAFs of certain departments have even been ordered to award them by the Social Security Affairs Tribunal.

Today, these families are afraid. They fear that the police will destroy the caravans in the early hours of the morning, expel them, and their children will not be able to return to school at the start of the school year, while some have been enrolled for 3 years and are in regular and promising education.

We ask, with all the associations, organizations and collectives, the repeal of the transitional measures which restrict access to employment and social benefits for Romanians and Bulgarians. Locally, we officially ask that a concrete process be initiated between the public authorities, local authorities, families and the support collective following the visit carried out on the ground by Madam the Prefect, the Deputy Prefect and the Mayors. de Chanteloup and de Triel, on July 21.

It is possible to resolve the situation of these courageous and willing families. You just have to have the will. It is enough to have a human and dignified behavior and commitments. We contacted the Sous Préfecture in this regard. With the families, we are quickly waiting for concrete actions that bring hope and not despair.

Pending a global resolution of the situation, we demand, with the associations and organizations that constitute and support the collective, that:
- the commitment made during the visit to install garbage dumpsters be carried out without delay,
- the land is provided with transitional services (water, electricity and access in particular), until the final rehousing of the families;
- the guarantee of no expulsion, either from the land or from the country, is provided;
- the schooling of children is effective and facilitated, in particular with regard to school transport and the canteen, as stipulated by law;
- family allowances and social benefits are allocated to families;
- adults who can be regularized now.

Any delay or expulsion would only amplify the precariousness and fragility of families and children, without resolving their situations and would have serious consequences.

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