Roma bury infant after ‘refusal’ by mayor

A Roma community yesterday buried a dead infant in a Paris suburb after questions erupted over where she should be laid to rest, raising national concerns about discrimination.

About 200 family members and townspeople attended a funeral Mass yesterday. A hearse then took the small coffin to the town of Wissous for burial.

Wissous offered a gravesite for the baby after the mayor of the town where she had lived, Champlan, reportedly refused a burial, with the mayor reportedly saying priority should be given to taxpayers.

Under heavy criticism, the mayor, Christian Leclerc, has since strenuously denied this, saying he had been a victim of a misunderstanding.

With fury mounting and even the prime minister describing the refusal as an “insult” to France, Leclerc offered his condolences to the family and said they could bury the baby in his town of Champlan.

However, the family refused his offer.

A top government official said he would investigate.

The case has called attention to discrimination against France’s estimated 20,000 Roma. Most live in makeshift camps with few basic amenities.Another two-month-old Roma baby died in a shack near the train station of Lille amid freezing temperatures on Thursday.


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