Earlier this week, I was appalled by a video footage of French police officers enforcing a forced eviction of African immigrants, predominantly women and children, from a housing camp in a suburb in Paris, France. The video, reportedly shot on 21 July 2010, shocked rights advocates worldwide, and is clearly a testament to abysmal failure of French authorities to provide immigrants with a basic need - shelter.
The following amateur video reveals what happens when a democracy fails to provide adequate housing to a vulnerable group of natural persons, irrespective of their origin. WATCH...
It is true that some of the women roughly evicted by police from La Courneuve neighborhood are undocumented immigrants, but it is also true that many are legally residing in France and the government has an obligation to provide adequate housing to all individuals within its borders.
As you would expect, many have blamed the immigrants for carrying children on their backs during a protest. Some have even suggested that the women used children as "human shields" - completely ignoring the fact that these women are homeless and have no decent shelter to leave their children.
Did the police use excessive force in executing the eviction of these African immigrants?
There is no denying that immigrants are a particularly vulnerable group of people in desperate need of protection. Unfortunately, more often than not, what they get is untold violation of their ever dwindling basic rights in the countries where they seek protection and a better life.
French authorities have failed to provide immigrants with the basic right to housing . Hence, in a desperate attempt to provide shelter for their families, immigrants pitch tents in the "roughest neighborhoods" in Paris and beyond.
It remains to be seen whether the forced evictees in the above video would be provided adequate housing in France or return to camps after such a traumatic encounter with French law enforcement officers.
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