samedi 19 octobre 2013

France goes on her knees... and still gets humiliated

Under fire from the far left and members of his own party, Socialist President Francois Hollande said Saturday that Leonarda , a 15-year-old girl whose controversial deportation sparked mass student
protests, can return to France. But the rest of the family cannot come with her.

Leonarda Dibrani, however, refused his generous offer. She said she would not return without her family, who are Roma, or Gypsies.
The uproar began earlier this week when it became public that 15-year-old Leonarda was detained in front of her classmates by police as she got off a bus from a school trip and as detained and expelled as an illegal immigrant.

On Thursday and Friday, thousands of teenagers took to the streets to protest the expulsion, and students gathered again Saturday on the steps of the Opera house at Place de la Bastille. They are demanding the she returns and Interior Minister Manuel Valls should resign. They are also calling for French law to be changed so minors who are in school cannot be expelled, and their families can remain, too.
The ministry probe found that police had gone to the family home in the morning of October 9 to deport all members, but found the teenager was not there as she had slept at a friend's house before the trip.

Schools in France, are considered places of sanctuary, and French law bans any intervention on minors while they are at or near school. Many thought that principle had been breached. The case has also opened a wider debate on France’s immigration policies.
Apparently fearing that conclusion wouldn’t put the issue to rest, Hollande went on national television Saturday to walk the line between maintaining a tough stance on illegal immigrants and showing compassion for girl caught up in the storm. He said considering the circumstances of the girl's detention, she could come back to France to go to school, if she wishes. But only she can come back.
"If she makes a request, and if she wants to continue her studies, she will be given a welcome, but she only"
In Mitrovica, Kosovo, where the family is now living, Leonarda told reporters she would not come back without her family. In an emotional scene in front of cameras, she said in fluent French :
“Mr. Hollande has no heart for my family? He has no pity? I will not go alone to France, I will not abandon my family. I'm not the only one who has to go to school, there are also my brothers and sisters"
Her father Resat, 47, has threatened to return to France illegally and even said the family had already packed their bags.
"My children were integrated in France, we continue to fight as my children are strangers here"
Leonarda’s mother, Dzemila Dibrani said :
“We thought that Hollande was a just person to protect a family. To give him my daughter, that is not possible.”
Hollande also said local authorities would be told that such detentions cannot happen while children are in the care of their schools, whether inside the building, at the exit, on a bus or in after-school activities.

Although polls show that 74 per cent of the French don’t think the family should be allowed to return to France, the case has threatened to destabilize the Hollande government.
The case was further complicated by revelations that Dibrani's father had lied about his family's Kosovo origins to have a better chance to obtain asylum.

Leonarda’s parents and five brothers and sisters had lived in France for four years while their asylum bid was processed. It was eventually rejected in the summer.

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