Recommendations from the CERD to France after its review on 11 and 12 August 2010

Paris, 27 August 2010

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Quai d’Orsay

STATEMENT BY THE SPOKESPERSON FOR THE FRENCH FOREIGN AND EUREOPEAN AFFAIRS MINISTRY

Recommendations from the CERD to France after its review on 11 and 12 August 2010

1. France has just learnt the recommendations made by the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 21 December 1965. As it has always done, France will thoroughly examine these recommendations in the days ahead, and will reply to the questions raised by the experts within the allotted time, in accordance with the commitment it made when choosing to become party to the Convention.

2. The seventeenth French periodic report, which was submitted in 2010, led to a review before the Committee in Geneva on 11 and 12 August 2010. During this review, the Committee responded very positively to the government’s decision to draw up a national action plan against racism upon the reopening of Parliament in order to coordinate the action of the public authorities and the discussions held on all aspects of preventing and combating racism. With the help of civil society, it will mobilise all relevant authorities in order to make our common struggle against racism more effective.

3. In its report, the Committee noted its satisfaction with the government’s steadfast action to combat racism and related discrimination :

- The Committee welcomed the measures taken to promote equal opportunities, including within education, the establishment of an enforceable right to housing, and the creation of anti-discrimination units within public prosecutors’ offices.

- It welcomed France’s commitment to commemorating past events, in particular with regard to the victims of slavery and the slave trade.

- It also expressed its satisfaction with France’s efforts to pay pensions to veterans and the Constitutional Council’s decisions of 28 May 2010.

- Finally, the priority question of constitutionality, which has been in force since 1 March 2010, was warmly welcomed by the CERD. It recognises each citizen’s right to challenge the constitutionality of a law which infringes the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution.

4 . The CERD also raised some points on which it made recommendations. France would like to recall the fundamental principles and the policies implemented in our country in order to allay the concerns expressed in this report, which it believes to be unfounded :

- Discriminatory measures based on origin, race or religion are wholly incompatible with the principles and values of France. In fact, our history and our law are founded on the principle of equality, as is clearly defined in Article I of our Constitution of 4 October 1958 : “[France] shall ensure the equality of all citizens before the law, without distinction of origin, race or religion” ;

- With regard to the Roma, France is in full compliance with European legislation as well as its international commitments on human rights. Roma who are Romanian or Bulgarian nationals are European Union citizens and have the right to move and reside freely within the territory of EU Member States. However, a State’s membership of the European Union does not entail an unconditional right of residence for its nationals. Community law places two specific restrictions on retention of the right of residence : law and order must be respected and nationals must have sufficient resources so as not to overly burden the social welfare system of the host Member State. Each citizen’s individual situation is examined to determine whether these conditions are met.

On being made to leave the country, persons residing illegally in France are provided with an allowance which, where appropriate, can be supplemented in the country of origin in order to assist them with their social and professional integration. In a minority of cases, illegal residents are deported following a decision made by the administrative and judicial authorities which rule on a case-by-case basis.

- Furthermore, since most of the Roma currently affected are from Romania, French and Romanian authorities have begun to establish bilateral cooperation with regard to the social integration of these persons in their country of origin and the fight against crime and human trafficking.

Since 2007, Bernard Kouchner has been raising this issue in each of his meetings with his Romanian counterparts. The French Minister of State for European Affairs, Pierre Lellouche, has already visited Romania twice in the past few months. These visits resulted in the establishment of a working group on migration issues, which allowed progress to be made on an action programme for the integration of Romanian Roma in their country of origin. This action programme focuses on three areas :

- Enhancing operational capabilities in the fight against organised crime, which particularly affects the Roma, especially those most vulnerable (children, young women and the elderly) ;

- Achieving social integration of the Roma living in Romania by drawing on European funding which has already been allocated to Romania ;

- Working to reintegrate Roma who have left France for Romania, particularly as part of the voluntary repatriation programme. France will continue to support social reintegration projects, both for employment and education, for Roma who have returned to Romania.

France therefore welcomes the Romanian government’s appointment of Valentin Mocanu, Secretary of State at the Ministry of Labour, Family and Social Protection, to coordinate the social integration of the Roma. Mr Mocanu and Mr Fatuloiu, Romanian Secretary of State for Order and Public Safety, visited Paris on 25 and 26 August, during which time they met with Mr Hortefeux, Mr Besson and Mr Lellouche.

Mr Besson and Mr Lellouche will next travel to Romania on 9 and 10 September. These exchanges show the two countries’ common will to take strong and concrete action in the interests of the Roma people.

- Under the French Presidency of the European Union, Bernard Kouchner organised the first European Roma Summit on 16 September 2008. The European Union and Commission will act decisively and with due regard for the reference framework established by that Summit and the one which followed in Cordoba on 8 and 9 April 2010. Following on from the joint French-Romanian statement made at the Cordoba Summit, the Commission is to step up its support to fight against the discrimination suffered by the Roma, and help them integrate into their countries of origin. To this end, the French Minister of State for European Affairs, Pierre Lellouche, will shortly travel to Brussels with the Romanian Secretary of State, Valentin Mocanu, as part of a démarche on behalf of France and Romania to the European Commissioner Viviane Reding.

- As was announced by the Prime Minister, a meeting with the Commissioners responsible for this issue will be held very shortly in Brussels. Finally, France will naturally lend its full support to the upcoming Hungarian Presidency of the European Union in the first half of 2011, which has made this issue one of its priorities.

Dernière modification : 28/05/2015

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