A French mayor has granted a burial place to a baby Roma girl, after the family were refused permission in a neighboring town. Staunchly conservative mayor Richard Trinquier said it was a question of humanity.
Trinquier, who is mayor of the town of Wissous, said on Saturday that it would be "humanly unthinkable" not to provide a grave for two-month-old girl, identified only as "Maria Francesca."
"I didn't hesitate a shadow of a second," Trinquier (pictured above) told French broadcaster BFM-TV.
He told the AFP news agency that it was a "question of humanity," after the girl's family was refused permission in Champlan, where they live on a camp for members of the Roma community. Marie Francesca died of sudden infant death syndrome on December 26.
"The pain of a mother who carried a child for nine months, and lost her after two and a half months must not be worsened," said Trinquier, who in the past has hit the headlines for making provocative conservative statements.
'Priority to taxpayers'
Christian Leclerc, the mayor of Champlan which lies some 23 kilometers (14 miles) south of Paris, and three kilometers from Wissous, said the cemetery had "few available plots" and that space was expensive. He was quoted by the daily newspaper Le Parisien as saying that priority was given to "those who pay their local taxes."
Leclerc, who is not affiliated to any French party but describes himself as conservative, has faced strong criticism for the decision. Roma families in the community have called it "scandalous."
The family's camp in Champlan is without basic amenities such as running water, a situation typical for many of France's Roma. Roma camps in the country are periodically razed under an official legal requirement, and families with children evicted.
rc/bk (AFP, AP, dpa)