The founder of Reporters Without Borders and current mayor of Beziers refuse to help educate Syrian refugees.
The founder of Reporters Without Borders, Robert Menard, has sparked outrage after refusing on Wednesday to allow Syrian children to study in public schools in the city of Beziers, where he is the mayor.
“There are a certain number of Syrian families that arrived, that broke doors, that installed themselves here … and now I have a certain number of associations … (that demand) I allow the children (of the Syrian families) in our schools, of course I won’t!” said the mayor during a televised interview.
Menard’s latest remarks come after he himself took up the task of evicting Syrian migrants in his city last week. A video of him carrying door-to-door evictions with a translator and a handful of armed policemen was posted by the mayor’s office on Youtube.
“You are not welcome in this city,” he tells a Syrian refugee, who entered an abandoned apartment.
The mayor, accompanied by armed policemen, aggressively tells another refugee that he has to leave immediately and if he refuses, the police will take him out.
“We cannot accept that people behave this way … They exploit (these people) politically,” he explains to other local government authorities accompanying him at the end of the video.
Menard has also been widely criticized for using a picture of Syrian refugees boarding a train in Macedonia for the front cover of the local government’s magazine, with the title “They are here!”
Le JDB, le numéro 1 des journaux municipaux, qu’on lit même à Paris. pic.twitter.com/e6hVLkxWrs
— Robert Ménard (@RobertMenardFR) September 10, 2015
The misuse of the photograph elicited the news agency AFP and its photographer to sue Menard for 60,000 Euros (US$68,517).
The organization he founded, Reporters Without Borders, has become famous for its freedom of the press reports which specifically targets countries such as Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia.
Since 2008, the United Nations’ Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has twice sanctioned the organization for its lack of ethics.