ERRC Housing Complaint against Italy Declared Admissible by International Body
11 March 2005
On December 6, 2004, the European Committee of Social Rights declared admissible a collective complaint against Italy, lodged in June by the European Roma Rights Center, contending that by policy and practice, Italy racially segregates Roma in the field of housing. ERRC documentation in Italy reveals that housing arrangements for Roma in Italy aim at separating Roma from the mainstream of Italian society and holding them in artificial exclusion. In a number of Romani settlements in Italy, very extremely inadequate housing conditions prevail. In addition, Italian authorities regularly and systematically subject Roma to forced evictions from housing, calling seriously into question Italy's compliance with a number of international laws. During eviction raids, authorities arbitrarily destroy property belonging to Roma, use abusive language, and otherwise humiliate evictees. In many cases, persons expelled from housing have been rendered homeless as a result of actions by police and local authorities. In some instances, in the course of such evictions, Roma have been collectively expelled from Italy. A very significant part of Italy's Romani population lives under constant threat of forced eviction. In 2005, the Committee will proceed to review Italian housing policies as they relate to Roma in order to determine whether they comply with Italy's obligations under the Revised European Social Charter. The ERRC's collective complaint is the result of six years of documentation work undertaken by the ERRC and local partners into the human rights situation of Roma in Italy.