Romani Emergency Shelter Closed in Rome: Families Pushed onto Streets as Winter Begins to Bite

28 October 2016

Rome, Budapest, 28 October 2016: A majority Roma shelter located at Via Amarilli in Rome will be officially closed by 31 October 2016. This comes after officials from Rome Municipality announced the closure and the subsequent eviction of the majority Roma shelter on the 5 October. Associazione 21 Luglio and the ERRC see this as yet further evidence that "the City of Rome persists with forced evictions and segregation based on ethnicity."

Earlier this week Associazione 21 Luglio and the ERRC sent a joint letter to Laura Baldassare, the Town Councilor, to express concerns about the way in which the closure of the shelter was communicated to Roma families living there. According to the data collected by the two organizations, no written order to provide alternative accommodation was issued and only some families were in a position to accept the limited alternative housing solutions offered by the municipality.

The two organizations state that "the closure of the shelter has the characteristics of a forced eviction", and therefore these operations constitute a human rights violation as well as demonstrating a casual disregard for the international obligations to which Italy is bound. The President of the ERRC, Dorde Jovanovic stated this week:

“The Italian government needs to properly address the situation of the Romani community in Italy by implementing durable solutions to comply with the National Strategy for the Inclusion of the Roma, Sinti and Caminanti. It is of utmost importance to address the housing situation of the Roma by implementing desegregation measures and adequate housing to comply with international standards”.

The Department for Social Policies have offered relocation to the settlements of “Camping River and Salone”, and the Roma-only shelter located at Via Toraldo. It is evident that instead of proceeding to the gradual closure of institutional slums, the Municipality’s policies persevere in maintaining and legitimising these places of shame and segregation.

These policies continue to maintain housing and social segregation along ethnic lines and move away from Italy’s commitments outlined in the National Strategy for Inclusion of the Roma, Sinti and Caminanti. These actions are directly contributing to further social exclusion, and disregard national and international standards on the right to housing. Transfers from one segregated camp to another are in fact an impediment to the process of overcoming ethnic slums and are economically and socially unsustainable.

In light of the above,  Associazione 21 Luglio and the ERRC have asked the local authorities to urgently restart consultations with families who are still waiting relocation taking into account their specific needs.

Associazione 21 Luglio stated this week that "instead of closing the institutional slums, as promised during the election campaign and as written in the Local Government Program, the municipality continues to concentrate Roma families in a position of economic and social fragility. By October the plan for overcoming camps had been promised in Rome; until now there has been perfect continuity with the past and we have only seen millionaires’ calls, forced evictions and actions to continue housing segregation."

For more information contact:

Jonathan Lee
Communications Officer
European Roma Rights Centre
+36 30 500 2118

Elena Risi
Press and Communications
Associazione 21 Luglio
+39 388 486 7611


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