Jan 3, 2015 3:22 PM

Gypsy infant refused burial in France gets grave

The Associated Press

PARIS (AP) An infant Gypsy girl who died suddenly will now have a resting place after one mayor refused to allow her to be buried in his town south of Paris, where the parents live in a camp.

The girl's funeral will be held on Monday in a nearby town 10 days after her death

"I didn't hesitate a shadow of a second," Wissous Mayor Richard Trinquier told BFM-TV on Saturday.

He said that not to provide a grave for the child who died in a hospital, reportedly of sudden infant death syndrome, is "humanly unthinkable."

News that the child was refused burial in Champlan was met with outrage from humanitarian associations, particularly those who help France's approximately 20,000 Gypsies, as Roma also are called.

Champlan Mayor Christian Leclerc told the daily Le Parisien earlier this week that priority for the few available grave sites goes to those paying taxes. He wasn't available on Saturday for comment.

The young infant, whose exact age wasn't immediately clear, was rushed to Corbeil-Essonne Hospital early Dec. 26, according to Marie-Helene Brelaud, of the Solidarity With Roma Families association.

"The parents told us this is racism. They were incredulous," Brelaud said on BFM.

The infant's parents live in a camp lacking basic amenities like running water in the Champlan district, a situation typical for Roma, who travel west from eastern Europe and whose presence in France has become a political issue. Roma camps are periodically razed. In 2013, the number of people evicted equaled the number still here, according to government figures.

Offering a burial site is the "minimum of humanity one can expect," ecologist lawmaker Francois de Rugy told BFM.

"In the face of death, everyone should be equal."


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