From the Archives: the Italian file 1997-2000

2014-10-13

By Bernard Rorke

In 2008, the declaration of a State of Emergency to combat the so-called ‘Roma menace’, prompted global media coverage and international criticism. The demonisation of Romani people in this overtly racist and populist get-tough approach served only to exacerbate communal tensions, legitimise human rights abuses, and seriously damage prospects for social inclusion. A quick perusal of ERRC’s archives between 1997 and 2000 reveals that all of this was foreseeable, preventable, and utterly unnecessary.

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Roma: Everybody Knows

2014-10-13

By Marcello Cassanelli

When it comes to Roma, everybody seems to be an authority on the subject. Everybody knows what all Roma look like, that they can’t possibly be blond, that they all hail from Romania (Roma – Romania, of course); everybody knows that they beg, that they don’t like to wash themselves, that they don’t want their children to have a proper education, that they want to live in camps encircled by barbed wire; everybody knows that they don’t want to assimilate, prefer to live as nomads, all the while exploiting Europe's generous welfare States; everybody knows that they practice magic, that they are all gifted musicians and circus people; and – last but not least – that they steal (babies and more).

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Forced Evictions of Roma: What’s occurring with the European Court and Rule 39?

2014-10-13

By Adam Weiss

To outsiders, what happened in Seine-Saint-Denis at 10am on Thursday, 24 April 2014 was routine: another Roma settlement was demolished,  its inhabitants evicted and scattered, some to hotels where they were promised (but did not necessarily receive) accommodation, some to Romania, and others to locations just a few streets away.

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Milan: Camp Life Beyond the Underpass

2014-10-13

By Rosi Mangiacavallo

Today, 9th of June, I was scared. I was in Milan but I did not feel safe. I was walking in via Sacile, a dead end and deserted street. Once I passed the storage area of the fruit and vegetable market, I was the only one person on the street even though it was 11 am. Nothing and nobody was around: no people, no shops nor offices, no sign of public transport... just a pile of garbage where an informal camp was once located, and the railway tracks surrounding Bonfadini formal camp where I was going to meet Gabriella, a camp resident. I walked over an underpass to reach the camp, and was struck by the sheer amount of bulky garbage in front of it. “It has been four years since bulky garbage was collected. You should see how many rats are here!” Gabriella explained when I met her.

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