Italy’s Formal Camps don’t Work – New VIDEO from ERRC

10 December 2013

Budapest, Rome, Naples, 10 December 2013: Formal camps for Roma in Italy are expensive and ineffective – however Italian authorities have not dropped their plans to build more, using millions of EU funds. The ERRC is aware of plans for two new camps in Naples, and is calling on authorities to reconsider this decision.

Building formal camps is a failed policy that violates the rights of Roma. Camps are usually situated far out of town, may have strict security and typically make it harder for Roma to go to school or find work. The camps contradict Italy’s own strategy on Roma inclusion, and segregate Roma from the non-Roma population. Many Roma are moved to formal camps from informal settlements closer to the city centre. The Italian institutions’ approach is based on a fundamental flaw which considers Roma as nomadic, even though the vast majority are not.

In Naples, according to a recent report Segregare costa, the only existing formal camp is already characterised by the usual – social and physical – segregation that is common in all Italian formal camps.

Nonetheless, the municipality still has plans to build new formal settlements: ‘Cupa Perillo’ in Scampia will host some of the Roma who have been living in a nearby informal camp for more than 30 years. The project is included in the regional park projects, financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) (Fondo Europeo Strutturale di Sviluppo Regionale - FESR). The new camp will accommodate some 350/380 people and it will cost more than 7 million EUR. The other, new settlement of "via delle Industrie" was planned under the unlawful State of Emergency. 10 million EUR was allocated, and the City of Naples is in process of taking over responsibility for building it.

According to Naples’ researcher, Francesca Saudino, “The failure of the formal camps’ policy and all mono-ethnic and segregating housing solutions in Italy is now definitive. Naples’ municipality should keep this in mind and act accordingly with the National Strategy for the Inclusion of Roma, Sinti and Caminanti and the European framework.”

Earlier this year, the ERRC carried out research on formal camps in Milan and Rome. It found a Roma population isolated from the city, and struggling to make a life. It also showed the contradiction between integration efforts and creating “segregated camps.”
Our film on Rome’s formal camp highlights some of the issues and aims to give a voice to unheard Roma who see their lives segregated by Italian institutions. 

”Formal camps don’t benefit anyone. They don’t benefit local authorities, who waste millions of Italian public and EU funds segregating Roma. And they certainly don’t help Roma, who are forced out of the society and relegated by the State to a costly, lawless bubble that continues to exclude future generations and that does not bring any positive change,” said Dezideriu Gergely, the ERRC’s Executive Director.

Our factsheet on camps and press release are also available in Italian.

For more information, contact:

Sinan Gökçen
Media and Communications Officer
European Roma Rights Centre
Tel. +36.30.500.1324

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