An estimated 20,000 ethnic Roma live in France. But Alina, a young Roma, told Life Links:"We're not accepted by society." Our reporter Gönna took to the streets of Paris to ask: What do you think about Roma?
If you could pick any country to live in, France might be high on your list. But while it might seem a heavenly destination for a lot of people, for many Roma it is a place where they face some of the worst discrimination in Europe. The country has been fiercely criticized for its policies regarding Roma, with Amnesty International documenting cases earlier this year where police were said to have evicted communities from their camps using excessive force. And when our reporter Gönna asked people on the street what they thought about Roma, she was shocked by their comments: “People weren’t hesitant to tell you their opinions, even though they were clearly racist. There were some who had a more positive view, but the majority of the people I met expressed these common stereotypes.”
The debate over how French see Roma is nothing really new. Only this summer a Roma boy, 16-year-old Darius, was abducted and brutally tortured in a Paris suburb. French President Francois Hollande condemned the near fatal assault. But real changes in the public mindset are yet to happen.