Thursday Oct 24, 201310:16 PM GMT
Deported Roma schoolgirl rejects French president’s offer
Leonarda Dibrani, the 15 year-old Roma schoolgirl whose deportation from France sparked a huge outcry, holds a doll at her temporary home in Mitrovica on October 19, 2013.
Leonarda Dibrani, the 15 year-old Roma schoolgirl whose deportation from France sparked a huge outcry, holds a doll at her temporary home in Mitrovica on October 19, 2013.
Sun Oct 20, 2013 1:9AM
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A Roma schoolgirl, who was deported by France earlier this month, has rejected French President Francois Hollande’s offer to return alone and finish her studies.


Fifteen-year-old Leonarda Dibrani was expelled along with her parents and five siblings on October 9 after they lost their battle for asylum in France.

"If she makes a request, and if she wants to continue her studies, she will be given a welcome, but only her," Hollande said live on television on Saturday.

Later in the day, Dibrani spoke about the issue and rejected the offer made by Hollande that she could return to France but without her family.

"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," the girl said.

Dibrani, who is now staying in Kosovo, also complained at the way French police treated her.

“It’s not their job to pull a 15-year-old girl out of the bus by the hand in front of all my classmates. I am ashamed because everyone looked at me strangely,” she said.

The teenager’s expulsion has outraged many people in France and sparked public protests against the European country’s harsh immigration policies.

Meanwhile, the French government published a report, calling the decision to deport the girl legitimate, but the report criticized her detention by the police.

Hundreds of French students have staged protests in Paris and other cities against the deportation, and the manner in which she was sent out.

The Roma who are a major subgroup of the Romani people are historically known as Gypsies. They live primarily in Central and Eastern Europe and face discrimination across the continent.

GHK/GJH/AS
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