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French human rights Defender could take action in Roma baby case

media Jacques Toubon, the French human rights Defender in October 2014. AFP/Berrand Langlois

The French human rights Defender Jacques Toubon said Sunday he was “devastated” by the case of a Roma baby who was denied burial in the cemetery of Champlan near Paris and announced he may look into this issue.

“From a human standpoint I am overwhelmed, astounded by this news”, Jacques Toubon told French radio France Inter. “At the same time, as the human rights Defender I need all the information to make a judgment in this kind of situation,” he said.

The human rights Defender “will apply the same method he has always used – gather the information and the viewpoints of everyone – and maybe take action”, he said, adding that the question of “discrimination with regards to death” had already been dealt with by the Defender in the past.

“It’s clear that there are matters of law in this case”, Toubon insisted, suggesting he would investigate.

Champlan’s Mayor, Christian Leclerc sparked outcry by refusing to bury a Roma baby who had died the day after Christmas in the town’s cemetery because of “a lack of space”.

The human rights Defender has several means of action including the implementation of “restrictive measures” to “recommend the administration to impose sanctions against any natural or legal, private or public person, subject to official authorisation or supervision, who would be the source of a discrimination,” according to the official website.

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