Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Writer Grass calls Germany's Roma deportations "a scandal"
Nov 2, 2010, 16:29 GMT
Berlin - Nobel literature laureate Guenter Grass accused Germany Tuesday of an 'appalling breach of human rights,' saying its repatriations of the Kosovo Roma were a greater 'scandal' than French deportations of gypsy people.
The leftist writer made the charge in an open letter to Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere.
He was protesting at Germany sending back 8,500 Roma who arrived as refugees from Kosovo in the 1990s now that their permits have expired.
Berlin has denied that it plans mass deportations, but says it will continue, as in the past, to send them home gradually.
Grass in turn accuses the government of planning deportations that would put French expulsions of Roma to Romania 'in the shade.'
'While the whole of Europe stares and France and is enraged at the treatment of the Roma expellees and refugees from poverty from Romania, a deportation operation on a huge scale from Germany into Kosovo is under way,' he wrote in the letter.
Grass, 83, called the repatriations 'a scandal for Germany and a blot on European peace.' He added that Germany was sending into poverty abroad children born on its soil who had lived in the country for 15 years.
'No housing, no food, no social contacts, no schools, no work: that's the reality for people kicked out into Kosovo,' he said.
'It is high time to act. This injustice grows from day to day,' he said. 'In the name of the foundation, I appeal to the German federal and state governments to alter this decision.'
Grass and his wife Ute helped set up the Foundation for the Roma People in 1997. Grass, author of The Tin Drum, won the Nobel for literature in 1999.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy sparked a major political row in September when he justified roundups at Roma encampments by saying Germany was planning similar deportations. Roma in Germany generally live in public housing estates rather than squatter encampments.
Posted by Morgan at 3:14 PM