ERRC Files Complaints Over Death of 6-Year-Old Romani Girl in Giugliano, Italy

25 March 2024

Brussels, 25 March 2024: The European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC) has formally requested a comprehensive investigation into the tragic death of Michelle, a 6-year-old Romani girl who lost her life due to an electric shock at Giugliano camp in Naples, Italy. The ERRC’s complaint to the Prefect of Naples and Mayor of Giugliano stresses the potential institutional responsibility for the lack of timely provision of services within the segregated Romani camp and possible institutional negligence, safety violations, and inadequate living conditions that contributed to this tragedy happening.

“Romani can, and frequently do, die in segregated and impoverished living spaces across Italy and Europe. The inhuman living conditions that these families are forced to endure eventually comes at the price of serious injury and death. Tragically, it is often children and the most vulnerable who pay the price for the negligence of the authorities and a society which allows human beings to be pushed to the margins. In Italy, the roots of this crisis can be traced back to the placement of Roma in segregated ‘nomad camps’ where they were subsequently abandoned by local authorities. This is the legacy of their racist policies, and it is with them that the responsibility lies” said the ERRC’s President, Đorđe Jovanović.

On 1st March 2024, a complaint was addressed to the Prefect of Naples and the Mayor of Giugliano regarding the terrible housing situation in the Giugliano camp. Over the past 30 years, the community has experienced repeated forced evictions, leading to significantly deteriorating living conditions and dehumanizing circumstances, including the lack of legal access to essential services such as water, electricity, and waste removal. The ERRC has requested a thorough investigation into the circumstances and potential institutional responsibility for the lack of timely provision of services and housing within the community. On March 6th, 2024, a separate complaint was also lodged with the Public Prosecutor at the Court of Naples North, the Public Prosecutor at the Juvenile Court, and the Police calling for an investigation into potential institutional negligence and safety violations that may have contributed to the death of the 6-year-old girl.

Details of the fatal incident:

On 13 January 2024, a tragic incident occurred in the Romani camp in Via Carrafiello di Giugliano, Naples, where a six-year-old girl, Michelle, was electrocuted and died. The incident sparked a public outcry, which was unfortunately overshadowed by allegations of violent behaviour by the distressed family members at the hospital. This quickly became the focus of media attention-turning the tragic death of a child into a matter of public order and security.  

Following Michelle's death, by 25th January, the local police, the Carabinieri, military personnel, and water company employees occupied the camp, removing waste, securing electrical cables, seizing vehicles, and disconnecting the water supply, leaving the 450 Romani residents without access to water.

This press release is also available in Italian.

For more information, or to arrange an interview, contact:

Jonathan Lee
Advocacy & Communications Director
European Roma Rights Centre
+32 49 288 7679

Rosi Mangiacavallo (in Italian)
Human Rights Monitor for Italy
European Roma Rights Centre 
+39 328 9420 715


Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are, however, those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible.


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