COMUNICAT DE PRESA
Top Romanian students and researchers, through the League of Romanian Students Abroad (LSRS), express a profound uneasiness regarding the current situation of the Roma community in the French Republic. The tactics used in the “voluntary” deportation of Roma minority groups of Eastern European origin reflect negatively on France’s image, above all. At the same time, LSRS calls the public’s attention to the long-term social implications of these actions, which have been characterized by the international press, UN and EU representatives, the Council of Europe, the Vatican, and international human rights groups as having the potential to ignite, perpetuate, and strengthen racist and xenophobic attitudes among the French population.
The French government noted that deportations are not new and that in 2009 more than 10,000 foreign citizens—mainly of Romanian and Bulgarian origin—have been expelled from France. LSRS does not advocate against French law, which imposes limits on Romanian and Bulgarian citizens’ stay in France. The League is however profoundly alarmed by the seemingly-random selection of Romanian and Bulgarian Roma as “scapegoats” for much broader issues of public order, especially because this sub-group represents less than 10% of all nomadic populations currently residing on French territory.
The League of Romanian Students Abroad has more than 300 members in top French institutions of higher education such as École Normale Supérieure, École Polytechnique, Université Pierre-et-Marie-Curie, Université Louis Pasteur Strasbourg I, Sciences Po Paris, Université Joseph-Fourier, Grenoble I and Université Paris-Sorbonne. Many of these Romanian students are world-class scholars and researchers, who have chosen to study in France because of a centuries-old tradition of cultural closeness and frienship between the two countries. Presenting the current expulsions as solutions to French problems of public order and the artificial and unwarranted association of criminality with Romanian citizens is not in the spirit of this tradition. Furthermore, these actions damage Romania’s image in France, Europe, and the world at large, and have the potential to generate discrimination against all Romanian citizens.
The League of Romanian Students Abroad considers that there are no ethnic, racial, or nationalist solutions to issues of public order and that minority-related problems have to be addressed in an atmosphere of tolerance and non-discrimination. Given the current situation in the French Republic, LSRS petitions the Romanian state and the Romanian community in France to monitor these expulsions closely for potential breaches of international law and human rights abuses against Romanian citizens. Furthermore, LSRS encourages the Romanian civil society and all Romanian student and youth organizations world-wide to protest against this state of affairs, which perpetuates, unjustly, a negative image of Romania and its citizens.
The League of Romanian Students Abroad is the first and only organization that provides a representative forum for all Romanian students and graduates of foreign universities, promoting a strong solidarity among its members, as valuable representatives of Romania, and a positive attitude regarding the prospects of their return to Romania in the long run. The main goal of LSRS is to defend and promote the academic, professional, social, and cultural interests of its members and to facilitate their contribution to Romania’s future development.
League of Romanian Students Abroad