ERRC Urges End to Anti-Roma Activity Under ‘Unlawful’ Italian State of Emergency

24 November 2011

Rome, Budapest, 24 November 2011: The European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC) today sent a letter to authorities in Italy, welcoming a judgment from the national Council of State that the State of Emergency, in effect in parts of Italy since May 2008, is unlawful. The letter urges the immediate end to all anti-Roma activities organised as part of the State of Emergency.

The Council of State ruled that the State of Emergency was illegal and unfounded. As the judgment renders the State of Emergency immediately invalid, the ERRC called on Italian authorities to stop all measures carried out under the State of Emergency, including: establishing and monitoring camps, conducting a census of persons resident in camps (including minors), taking photos and requesting documents to identify and record residents, expelling persons with irregular status from camps and carrying out forced evictions from informal settlements.

“The State of Emergency erroneously defined the presence of Roma in Italy as a threat to public security, imposing measures to isolate the ‘nomadic’ in camps.” said Dezideriu Gergely, Executive Director of the ERRC. “Now that the State of Emergency has been found unlawful, we hope the Italian authorities will fulfil their obligations under European and international law to ensure the inclusion of Roma in education, employment, housing and health care.”

The ERRC has previously conducted extensive advocacy work in Italy calling for the authorities to:

  • Immediately halt forced evictions, which violate international and domestic law;
  • Stop identity checks and the control of access in formal camps;
  • End the policy and practice of segregating Roma in camps;
  • Destroy records of personal data, including fingerprints and photographs collected through the ethnically-motivated census actions in June to October 2008 and February and March 2009.

For further information, contact:

Sinan Gokçen
ERRC Media and Communications Officer



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