Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

AFRICA NEWS

2014-07-11 21:47 AFRICA NEWS

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Finally, a good use for new app "Yo"

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 11 July 2014 (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 11 July 2014

Read more

REPORTERS

Exclusive: an unlikely victim of the 'War on Terror'

Read more

#THE 51%

Sweden: A Feminist's Paradise?

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Politics: parties under pressure

Read more

FOCUS

In Burma, the rise of radical Buddhism

Read more

ENCORE!

Haute Couture: the hand-stitched clothing made in Paris that sells for the price of small yachts

Read more

  • Putin revives old Cuban flame and eyes Latin American minerals

    Read more

  • Kerry holds all-night talks with Afghan presidential rivals

    Read more

  • Netanyahu resists international pressure to stop air strikes on Gaza

    Read more

  • Ukraine promises retaliation after rebel assault

    Read more

  • Amazon snubs French free delivery ban with one-cent charge

    Read more

  • Cleveland's NBA fans hail 'return of king' LeBron James

    Read more

  • Exclusive: an unlikely victim of the 'War on Terror'

    Read more

  • Magnitude 6.8 quake, small tsunami hit east Japan

    Read more

  • The third-place playoff: the World Cup game no one wants to play

    Read more

  • Suspect in Brussels Jewish Museum shooting drops extradition appeal

    Read more

  • Kurdish forces take over two oilfields in northern Iraq

    Read more

  • Are French high school students getting smarter?

    Read more

  • Italy’s Trentin wins seventh stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • Disgraced Suarez leaves Liverpool for Barcelona

    Read more

  • In pictures: Chanel, Dior and so much more at the Paris couture shows

    Read more

France

Hollande says deported teen can return to France alone

© AFP

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-10-20

President François Hollande said Saturday that a 15-year-old girl who was deported to Kosovo could return to France, but without the rest of her family. The teenager promptly refused Hollande’s offer, saying she could not leave her family behind.

French President François Hollande said Saturday that Leonarda Dibrani, a 15-year-old schoolgirl of Roma gypsy origin at the centre of a high-profile deportation case, could return to France to continue her studies, but without the rest of her family.

“If she makes the request, in view of the circumstances, and if she would like to continue her schooling in France, she will be welcomed back,” Hollande said during a televised press conference in Paris.

The president’s announcement came amid outrage in France over the teenager’s detention during a school trip on October 9. The case has gained wide attention, with fellow secondary-school students organising large protests in France this week in defence of their former fellow student.

The case has split Hollande’s own Socialist government, with Interior Minister Manuel Valls coming under fire for his hard-line stance on forcing Roma to return to their home countries.

Valls triggered an outcry last month when he said that most of the 20,000 Roma living in France had no intention of integrating and should be sent back to their countries of origin.

While Hollande said that "no fault" had been committed by police in Leonarda’s arrest and deportation, he said he would issue an order banning the police from detaining children during any school-related activities.

A government probe into the family's deportation, which was made public earlier on Saturday, found that no laws had been broken in Leonarda's deportation even if the police could have used better judgement.

Leonarda 'will not abandon family'

Leonarda, speaking to reporters in Kosovo, immediately reacted to Hollande’s speech by saying she would not leave her family behind.

“I will not return to France alone, I will not abandon my family,” she declared. “I am not the only one who should go back to school, there are also my brothers and sisters.”

The young girl has five brothers and sisters. Four of them were, like her, born in Italy. The youngest, a 17-month girl, was born in France.

FULL REPORT (FRENCH)

Her father, who has previously pledged to return his family to France by any means necessary, said Saturday there was “no way he would accept the separation of his family”.

Hollande’s press conference did not appear to put an end to the controversy, nor mend divisions within his own Socialist party. Party chief Harlem Désir reacted by saying the Socialists “want all of the family’s children to complete their studies in France”.

The Left Party, co-directed by far-left figurehead Jean-Luc Melenchon, issued a statement saying that forcing Leonarda to make such a decision was "abject cruelty".

"The young schoolgirl has been told by the president to choose between living with her family or returning alone to France to continue her studies," the statement said.

The deportation of illegal Roma immigrants is part of a government crackdown – instituted by the previous centre-right administration of president Nicolas Sarkozy – which has included the dismantling of Roma camps across France.

Opinion polls show that 93% of French people agree that the Roma do not integrate well in France and 77% are broadly supportive of the government’s deportation policies.
 

 

Date created : 2013-10-19

  • FRANCE

    Roma teen's deportation was lawful, French probe says

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    Father of Roma girl expelled from France speaks out

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    Roma schoolgirl's traumatic expulsion shocks France

    Read more

Comments

COMMENT(S)