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Sarkozy's party furious over UN racism report

media About 100 Roms were cleared from this camp near Lille Reuters

France's ruling right-wing UMP party has lashed out at a UN committee that accuses the government of failing to stem a rising tide of racism in the country. Members of  the UN’s Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (Cerd) come from countries which do not respect human rights and are “100 leagues from reality”, party leaders said Friday.

The committee's report denounced  a “lack of political will” to end an allegedly increasing number of racist and xenophobic incidents.

But members of the party hit back with an attack on the countries of origin of committee members.

UMP Dominique Paillé deputy spokesperson told RTL radio that he was “surprised by the attitude of the committee” and notably of “its composition ... which includes people from countries which absolutely do not respect human rights”.

UMP MP Christian Vanneste declared that the committee's make-up "renders it suspect" on France Info radio

"Not every country that is on it is an example of living democracy or of respect for minorities," he said. "Algeria, Russia, Romania, which treat Roms very badly - you see the state they're in when they get here."

Vanneste also cast doubt on the democratic credentials of Pakistan and Turkey.

The report also criticised President Nicolas Sarkozy’s recent declarations concerning the Roma population in France, as well as his plan to strip criminals of foreign origin of French citizenship.

A Roma camp in Anglet, where 1,000 people have lived in 274 caravans since 1 August, was evacuated Friday morning in an emergency procedure at the request of the mayor, the day after Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux revealed that 40 Roma camps have been closed in a fortnight.



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