European Court issues emergency measure to stop Italy from evicting Roma family
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Corriere delle Migrazioni, Torino, sgombero bloccato, 24 March 2015, available at: http://www.corrieredellemigrazioni.it/2015/03/24/torino-sgombero-bloccato/.