Keyword: Enfants de la Creuse

The long path to reparations for lost children sent to repopulate rural France

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Réunionese child deportees in France during the 1970s (location and exact date unknown). © Jean-Charles Pitou - 'Génération brisée' Réunionese child deportees in France during the 1970s (location and exact date unknown). © Jean-Charles Pitou - 'Génération brisée'

For several decades, it remained one of the most shameful secrets of post-war France: from 1963 to 1982, more than 2,000 children were  deported from the French-governed Indian Ocean island of La Réunion to mainland France in a government programme to repopulate deserted rural areas in the centre of the country. It was only in 2002 that the scandal first came to public attention, beginning a long campaign for justice. That finally resulted in an official commission of enquiry which this week presented its initial findings, when it formally recognised the displaced children’s suffering, including maltreatment and racism. But the victims, a number of whom are now in their 50s and 60s, are still waiting for proper reparation.