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European Court issues emergency measure to stop Italy from evicting Roma family

25 March 2016

Rome, Budapest, 25 March 2016: A disabled Romani woman and her daughter stopped their eviction by getting the European Court of Human Rights to issue an emergency measure moments before closing for the holiday weekend. The women, who have lived with other family members for years in a “temporary” segregated, Roma-only shelter run by the City of Rome, were threatened with eviction last week. Now in a decision made within 24 hours, the European Court of Human Rights told the Italian Government not to evict the family.

The shelter is one of two notoriously segregated places where Roma are housed separately from non-Roma in Italy. Last year the Italian courts condemned the City of Rome for operating a segregated camp for Roma far from access to the city.1 The City of Rome is currently looking to close a large number of shelters (for Roma and non-Roma alike), but in general non-Roma are offered some form of economic support to ease them into the private rental market while Roma are not.2  The women facing eviction in this case told the European Court of Human Rights that it was discriminatory to turf them out while offering them no help.

The European Court of Human Rights can indicate “interim measures” on an emergency basis in order to stop an “imminent risk of irreparable damage”.  The Court usually only indicates such measures to stop people being expelled from Europe to countries where they face ill-treatment.  The Court is increasingly being asked to grant interim measures to stop evictions, but will only do so in particular circumstances. For example the Court refused to grant such a measure to stop refugees being evicted from their camp in Calais.

Victims of rights violations can only go to the European Court when they have no effective means of recourse before national courts.  The women successfully argued that the Italian courts did not provide any effective means for them to challenge the eviction. This time last year the Court issued a similar measure to stop an eviction of Roma in Turin.3

The applicants are being supported in this case by the NGOs European Roma Rights Centre, Associazione 21 Luglio, OsservAzione, and lawyers Salvatore Fachile and Loredana Leo from Associazione per gli Studi Giuridici sull’Immigrazione.

Further information:

Szelim Simándi


  1. Associazione 21 Luglio, Associazione per gli Studi Giuridici sull’Immigrazione, European Roma Rights Centre, Open Society Foundations, Municipality of Rome condemned for La Barbuta Camp: for the first time in Europe an official Roma-only settlement ruled discriminatory, 10 June 2012, available at: http://www.errc.org/article/municipality-of-rome-condemned-for-la-barbuta-camp-for-the-first-time-in-europe-an-official-roma-only-settlement-ruled-discriminatory/4369.
  2. Romatoday.it, Residence, chi non ha accettato il 'buono' resta senza casa: "Rilascio o sgombero", 18 March 2016, available at:  http://www.romatoday.it/politica/residence-lettere-sgombero.html.
  3. Corriere delle Migrazioni, Torino, sgombero bloccato, 24 March 2015, available at: http://www.corrieredellemigrazioni.it/2015/03/24/torino-sgombero-bloccato/

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ERRC submission to the European Commission on Roma Inclusion in enlargement countries (May 2017)

25 May 2017

Written comments by the ERRC to the European Commission on enlargement component of the EU Roma Framework.


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Roma Rights 1 2017: Roma and Conflict: Understanding the Impact of War and Political Violence

16 May 2017

The impact of conflict on minority populations merits special attention, especially if those minorities have long been marginalized, viewed by the warring parties with a mixture of ambivalence and contempt, and deemed to be communities of little consequence in the peace-building processes that follow the conclusion of hostilities. This issue of Roma Rights Journal takes a look at the fate of Roma during and after conflicts.

Sometimes Roma have been the direct targets of murderous aggression or subject to reprisals. Then there have been the many times where individual Roma actively took a side, but too often the roles played by Roma, Travellers and other minorities were elided from the dominant national narratives that followed.

In many conflicts, caught between warring groups with no foreign power or military alliance to champion their claims, Roma found themselves displaced, despised and declaimed as bogus refugees, nomads and “mere” economic migrants in the aftermath.

As long as Europe’s largest ethnic minority is written out and rendered invisible in the histories of Europe’s wars and conflicts; and excluded from the politics of reconstruction and peace-making, the continent’s self-understanding will remain fatally flawed.

Editors: Marek Szilvasi, Kieran O’Reilly, Bernard Rorke

Roma Rights 1 2017 (PDF)

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