Information on the Roma in the case of France

The exact numbers of Romani people in France are unknown—estimates vary from 400,000 to 1.2 million.  The French Romani rights group FNASAT reports that at least 12,000 Romani, who have immigrated from Romania and Bulgaria, live in unofficial urban camps throughout the country. French authorities often attempt to close down these encampments. In 2009, the government sent more than 10,000 Romani back to Romania and Bulgaria.

Key problems

Most often political will is directed toward evictions. Vested with the competence on public order, mayors and prefects do collaborate actively in this sense, giving it precedence over a voluntary and constructive approach of resorption of shanty-towns and access to fundamental rights for their inhabitants.

The budgets allocated especially for both Roma and gens du voyage are not only too low, but have also declined in recent years.

Segregation still remains a problem, both for gens du voyage and Roma. Traditionally, the caravans’ sites are built in remote areas, outside the towns. The same is true also for many locations of integration projects for Roma. A “mental segregation” is also observed among the beneficiaries of such projects in the rare cases when they exist, as social assistance services are provided in a way which does not lead often to the service users’ autonomy.
Police abuse and violence is also observed both towards Roma and gens du voyage.

Textbooks do not mention Roma but very shortly and exclusively as victims of genocide during WWII. The media play a negative role, depicting Roma mainly with exoticism or in situations of poverty and misery. Very few of them offer a balanced image and analysis, and such programs remain exceptional. Although the emerging Rromani civil society tries to counter these narratives, given its means, its impact cannot be commensurable with that of the mainstream opinion makers.

Roma Civil Monitor Coordinator:

NGO coalition members:

RCM 1 (2017-2020) France Reports:

Roma Civil Monitor (2017) Civil society monitoring report on implementation of the national Roma integration strategies in France Focusing on structural and horizontal preconditions for successful implementation of the strategyENGLISH – FRENCH

Roma Civil Monitor (2018) Civil society monitoring report on implementation of the national Roma integration strategy in France: Assessing the progress in four key policy areas of the strategy ENGLISH – FRENCH

Roma Civil Monitor (2020) Civil society monitoring report on implementation of the national Roma integration strategy in France: Identifying blind spots in Roma inclusion policy  ENGLISH – FRENCH

Civil Society Monitoring Report on the Implementation of the National Roma Integration Strategy and Decade Action Plan in 2012 in France – ENGLISH

Roma Civil Monitor 2017-2020 country fiche: France