Roma: The Undesirables

A film by Camellia Encinas
First broadcast, December 16, 2010 on France 2

In the middle of summer 2010, during the now so-called “Grenoble speech”, President Nicolas Sarkozy triggers a huge controversy by ordering the Ministry for Home Affairs to shut down the unlicensed settlements of Roma people in France.
Public officers are ordered to “evacuate 300 camps or illegal settlements, primarily those of Roma people”, before December, 5th 2010. Women with children begging on the streets, young people trying to wash windshields at traffic lights; Roma people seem to upset everyone. But for whom  are they real trouble? Camellia Encinas and Yuri Maldavsky spent several weeks in a camp where a hundred so Roma people live in the north west of Paris. Their film shows how Roma people have to put up with misunderstanding and the mistrust of others. On camera, some complain about Roma people in general, but admit that they never have had any problems with the ones camping near their homes. The authorities confirm that crime has not increased with their presence. Through Lenin, the patriarch of the camp, and Vasily and Lavinia, young parents, the film crew shows the discrimination Roma people are facing, their constant fear of expulsion, their difficulties to obtaining residence permits even though they are European Union citizens, the lack of available education for children and the restrictions imposed on business owners to legally hire them. Indeed Romanian and Bulgarian citizens in France will not enjoy the same rights as the rest of the European Union until December 2013.