A United Nations human rights body rebuked France on Friday for its crackdown on Roma and urged the government to try to integrate members of the EU's biggest ethnic minority rather than send them to eastern Europe.

The 18 independent experts voiced concern that some of the hundreds of Roma flown to Romania in recent weeks under what France calls a voluntary repatriation programme had not been fully informed of their rights or freely consented.

(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Jonathan Lynn and Noah Barkin)