ERRC Calls Italian Government to Stop Anti-Romani Pogroms

19 May 2008

On 16 May 2008, the European Roma Rights Centre sent a letter to high-ranking Italian government authorities demanding intervention following anti-Romani pogroms taking place in Naples. The letter, sent to the Italian Prime Minister, the Italian President, the Minister of Interior, the head of the Italy's National Office Against Racial Discrimination and the Public Prosecutor, pointed to similarities between the recent events in Italy and anti-Romani pogroms taking place in Romania in the early 1990s, for which the European Court of Human Rights has ruled against Romania three times since 2005. The ERRC also highlighted the responsibility of high ranking Italian politicians for contributing to the current climate of hostility against Roma in Italy.

In its letter, which was also copied to various intergovernmental institutions, the ERRC urged Italian authorities to:
1) Provide adequate protection to all Roma in Italy against violence racist attacks and other discriminatory actions;
2) Firmly denounce the pogroms which have taken place to date;
3) Ensure adequate and effective investigation of the events in Naples, Milan and elsewhere, and prosecute to the fullest extent of the law all responsible persons, including public officials making hostile statements about Roma which incite racial hatred; and
4) Fully co-operate with intergovernmental institutions, international organizations and domestic civil society to swiftly and effective end the human rights emergency of Roma in Italy.

The full draft of the letter is available online at: View it (Acrobat pdf format)!

For further information, please contact Tara Bedard, Programmes Coordinator, tara.bedard@errc.org, +36.1.413.2200

Persons wishing to express similar concerns are urged to contact:

Mr Giorgio Napolitano, President of the Republic of Italy
Palazzo del Quirinale
Piazza del Quirinale - 00187 Rome
Fax +39 06 46993125

Mr Silvio Berlusconi, President of the Council of Ministers
Palazzo Chigi, Piazza Colonna 370
00187 Rome, Italy
Fax: +39 06 6779 5342/5326

Mr Roberto Maroni, Italian Minister of Interior
Ministry of the Interior, Palazzo Viminale
00187 Rome, Italy
Fax: +39 06 46549815

Mr Marco De Giorgi, General Director
Ufficio Nazionale Antidiscriminazioni Razziali (UNAR)
Dipartimento Diritti e Pari Opportunità
Largo Chigi 19, 00187 Rome, Italy
Fax: +39.06 67792272

Procura della Republica Circondario: Roma
Piazzale Clodio
00195 ROMA (RM)
Via Gregorio VII, 122 (3° piano)
00167 ROMA (RM)
Fax: +39.06.39736135
procura.roma@giustizia.it

Mr Jose Manuel Barroso
President of the European Commission
European Commission
1049 Brussels, Belgium
Fax: +32 2 295 0138/39/40

Mr Hans-Gert Pöttering
President of the European Parliament
European Parliament,
Rue Wiertz, PHS 11B011, 1047 Brussels, Belgium
Fax: +32 2 28 49769

Mr Carl Bildt
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sweden
Chair of the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers
Swedish Government Offices
SE-103 33 Stockholm, Sweden
Switchboard +46 8 405 10 00

Ms Polonca Koncar
Chair of the European Committee of Social Rights
Secretariat of the European Social Charter, Directorate of Human Rights
Council of Europe, F-67075 Strasbourg Cedex, FRANCE
Fax: +33 3 88413700

Mr Thomas Hammarberg
Council of Europe Human Rights Commissioner
Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights
Council of Europe
F-67075 Strasbourg Cedex, FRANCE
Fax: +33 3 90215053

Ms Raquel Rolnik
UN Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing
Office of the United Nations
High Commissioner for Human Rights
UNOG-OHCHR, 1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland
Fax: +41 22 9179006

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