Italian Policies are Violating Human Rights of Roma

15 May 2013

Rome, 15 May 2013: Italian policies towards the Roma and Sinti violate the basic human rights of thousands of families, and do not encourage their social integration. Associazione 21 luglio and the European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC) are drawing attention to the ongoing problem today, on the International Day of Families promoted by the United Nations.

The Authority Guarantor for Childhood and Adolescence and the regional councillor of Lazio. made a surprise visit to two formal camps today, accompanied by a delegation from Associazione 21 luglio and the ERRC.

According to research from the ERRC, more than 4000 Romani people live in formal camps in Milan and Rome. These segregated settlements are constructed and authorised by the authorities. Municipalities are supposed to ensure that the camps are built in areas beneficial to the Romani community: areas that avoid urban marginalisation and which facilitate access to education, health and social services. In practice, these camps are often isolated and segregated, making it extremely difficult for Roma to access their basic rights to education, employment and healthcare. 

According to data collected by Associazione 21 luglio, in Rome, since the Nomad Plan was launched in July 2009, authorities have spent more than 62 million Euros under the plan. The plan orginallyy envisaged the definitive closure of 101 informal settlements and the relocation of 6,000 Roma to 13 formal camps in 2011. Almost four years later, there are only eight formal camps. Moreover, informal settlements have quintupled to more than 500, although 536 forced evictions have been carried out.

“So far the ‘Nomad Plan’ has led to overcrowded formal camps, a much worse education situation for children – as a consequence of the distance from the schools – an increase in the insecurity level in the camps and social marginalisation” said  Carlo Stasolla, President of Associazione 21 luglio. “This Plan represents today an institutional violation of human rights, a violation which is not acceptable, and which  has led to dramatic levels of suffering for Roma”.

“We call upon the Italian authorities, both local and national, to find a solution which goes beyond the system based on camps and which actively promotes the integration of Roma,” said Dezideriu Gergely, Executive Director, ERRC.

By putting into effect the National Strategy for the inclusion of Roma, Sinti and Caminanti, for which Italy officially committed itself before the European institutions, Italy has the chance to find a new path and to implement new policies directed towards the Roma population, which would contribute towards fighting widespread stereotypes towards these communities.

For further information:

Sinan Gökçen
Media and Communications Officer
European Roma Rights Centre
sinan.gokcen@errc.org
+36.30.500.1324

Danilo Giannese
Communications Officer
Associazione 21 luglio
Tel: +39 329.7922222   +39 06.64491242
Email: stampa@21luglio.org


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