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'Nazi' comment angers French officials

Sept. 9, 2010 at 11:57 AM

PARIS, Sept. 9 (UPI) -- French officials say they're angry about a comment comparing its Roma deportation policy to rhetoric used by the German Nazis and fascists.

The issue involves a comment by Thomas Hammarberg, the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe, Radio France Internationale said Thursday.

France has deported hundreds of Romanian gypsies called Roma, claiming they are violating immigration laws. In a comment on the Internet site Twitter, Hammarberg said "the current political rhetoric against the Roma is similar to the words used by the Nazis and fascist regimes. Politicians must show more responsibility."

Pierre Lellouche, France's European Affairs Minister said he is "surprised and shocked" by the comment, and he wants an explanation.

France has been criticized for its treatment of Roma by a U.N. racism panel and other human rights groups, RFI said.

Lellouche and Immigration Minister Eric Besson were to visit Romania Thursday to discuss France's deportation policies.

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