European Committee of Social Rights finds Italy in Violation of the Revised European Social Charter

13 November 2006

On 24 April 2006, the European Committee of Social Rights ruled that Italy is in breach of three sections of the Revised European Social Charter, following a collective complaint filed by the European Roma Rights Centre in 2004. The Committee, in its ruling, stated that housing arrangements for Roma in Italy are aimed at segregating Roma from the rest of society, and they block integration with the mainstream community. Furthermore, the housing in several Romani settlements is inadequate and unsafe, sometimes threatening the health and the lives of their occupants. In addition, the Italian authorities often carry out forced evictions on the Roma community, destroying their property, using abusive language, and otherwise humiliating the evictees. A large portion of the Romani population in Italy is threatened with forced eviction, and many people are left homeless after eviction. The specific actions that breach the charter are the "insufficiency of camping sites for nomadic Roma" as well as the lack of permanent dwellings and forced evictions.

The Court ruled that Italy is in breach of all three sections of Article 31 of the Charter, which states: "With a view to ensuring the effective access of the right to housing, the Parties undertake to take measures designed: (1) to promote access to housing of an adequate standard; (2) to prevent and reduce homelessness with a view to its gradual elimination; (3) to make the price of housing accessible to those without adequate resources."

(ERRC)

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