France Deports Schoolgirl Mid-field Trip, Highlighting Roma Debate

Sometimes they are placed in unsuitable housing, such as hotels. Sometimes they are deported from the country. Forced evictions are defined as the removal of people from homes or lands without appropriate legal protections and due process. And while France is party to international treaties on forced evictions, in French law forced evictions are not prohibited, according to Amnesty International. According to guidelines that Mr. Hollande’s government issued last year, French authorities are supposed to notify residents of evictions within three months of a judicial ruling on whether a camp is illegal, and put in place a plan for suitable housing alternatives where possible. But human rights groups say that is not happening. And tensions have intensified with the approach of the new year, when two major legal obstacles facing Roma in France are set to fall. First, Romania and Bulgaria are set to become part of Europe’s passport-free Schengen Area. Although France says the two countries aren’t ready yet, their joining of Schengen will allow Romanians and Bulgarians, including the Roma, to travel freely through the area including France without a passport. In addition, French law currently requires Bulgarians and Romanians have a work or study visa to be allowed to stay in the country indefinitely. But those requirements are set to expire in January as well, opening the door to Roma to live and work in France without permission.

Flamboyant France heads to playoffs on a high note

Rennes (France) (AFP) – A French court on Friday sentenced three Somali pirates to nine years in prison each for the 2009 hijacking off the Somali coast of a French yacht that led to the death of its skipper. The three pirates had asked for leniency, saying they were forced into piracy by lives of abject poverty. Prosecutors earlier Friday called for jail terms of 10 to 12 years. Prosecutor Brigitte Ernoult-Cabot rejected the pirates’ claim that they had been coerced into their criminal business and said they had rather been motivated by “easy money”. French troops stormed the 12-metre Tanit sailboat in April 2009 and captured the trio during a bid to free Florent Lemacon, his wife, their three-year-old son and two crew members. They killed two pirates but also accidentally shot dead Lemacon during the operation. The three accused — Mohamed Mahamud, Abdelkader Osman Ali and Mahamud Abdi Mohamed, aged between 26 and 31 — have been on trial since Monday. During the trial, the three accused had said they turned to piracy out of desperation and expressed regret at their actions. “What they want is not even to live but just to survive,” said one of their lawyers, Fabian Lahaie. For his client, piracy “was a job as any other”, he said. A lawyer for the survivors, Arnaud Colon de Franciosi, said they were not looking “for vengeance” but that the accused should be “held responsible” for their acts. Former French Defence Minister Herve Morin said Wednesday that “poverty does not justify everything”. The families have not criticised soldiers involved in the raid, but have accused the French government of authorising the “dangerous operation” without enough regard for the hostages. In this case “French state leaders decided to teach the piracy masterminds on the continent a lesson”, argued Colon de Franciosi.

France jails Somali pirates for nine years

France woke up in that game and went on to win 4-2, then thrashed Australia 6-0 on Friday night. “We are much more in control than we were before,” Deschamps said. “The players are in really good shape at the moment, as well. I hope nothing happens to any of them and that they’ll all be here next month.” In the past two games, Giroud and Benzema have scored twice – with Giroud also contributing to France’s second goal on Tuesday night when his header led to an own goal – while Ribery has been simply unstoppable. “All of the forwards showed good movement,” Deschamps said. “They have a lot of freedom in attack and their understanding was generally very good.” Having won the treble with Bayern Munich last season, Ribery says he wants to win the Golden Ball and is clearly on a mission. He scored twice against Belarus, netted one and set up three against Australia, and almost tore the back of the net out with a fantastic early strike against Finland. He then set up Benzema’s goal late on after some sublime trickery and a perfectly weighted cross from the left. “He’s in top form, he’s full of confidence and you can see it,” Deschamps said. “He’s always been an influential player, but he also depends on the players around him.” Giroud started at center forward for the third straight match, with Benzema again on the bench, which looks like a successful strategy by Deschamps. It has given the team more of a central focal point in attack, thanks to Giroud’s ability to either hold the ball or lay it off thanks to excellent touch, and it has made Benzema hungry again. After 15 games without an international goal, Benzema’s confidence was clearly sapping away. Dropping him to the bench has given him a wake-up call and the relief was clear at Stade de France when he enjoyed a spot of shadow boxing with the crowd as he celebrated his goal. With France in this form, it is their playoff opponents who could well be facing a knockout next month.