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  4. ITALIAN REPUBLIC: HUNDREDS OF ROMA AT RISK OF FORCED EVICTION

ITALIAN REPUBLIC:
HUNDREDS OF ROMA AT RISK OF FORCED EVICTION

© AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL/CLAUDIO MENNA

Update info:
28 Mar 2017
Country:
ITALIAN REPUBLIC
Subject:
Romani families (adults and children) at risk of imminent forced evictions from Gianturco informal settlement
Gender m/f: all
Period:
3 May 2017
Distribution date:
28 Mar 2017
UA No:
063/2017

A community of approximately 1300 Romanian Roma is facing an imminent forced eviction from the informal settlement of Gianturco in Naples, in southern Italy. Around 200 of the Roma will be rehoused by the municipality in a newly built segregated camp in Via del Riposo. The rest risk being rendered homeless. The municipal authorities have so far failed to carry out a genuine consultation to identify adequate alternative housing.

A community of around 1300 Romanian Roma, including hundreds of children, elderly, sick and disabled people, are at imminent risk of losing their homes (according to the municipality 850 people live in the settlement, but the community and NGOs provided a higher estimate). They are currently living in the informal settlement of Gianturco in the city of Naples, southern Italy. Some families relocated to Gianturco in 2011 after the camp they previously lived in was set on fire by unknown attackers, while other families have arrived more recently.

A court order to evict the Roma from the privately owned land was issued in January 2016, calling for the eviction to take place within 30 days. Some of the families were notified of the eviction order, however many of the inhabitants explained that they never received any documentation related to it. The municipality confirmed to Amnesty International that only a number of residents were notified of the legal proceedings by the court. While the municipality managed to negotiate extensions of the eviction deadline with the judicial authorities, on 27 February 2017 the municipality told Amnesty International that no further extensions are possible and the eviction will take place imminently.

Despite having over a year to do so, no genuine consultation was carried out by the municipality to explore all feasible alternatives to the eviction and alternative housing options for all of the inhabitants affected. According to information collected by Amnesty International, the municipality plans to move approximately 200 of the Roma inhabitants to a new segregated camp, currently being built in Via del Riposo, also in the city of Naples, with funds provided by the municipality and the Ministry of Interior. The municipality stated that some small flats confiscated from organised crime networks will be used for rehousing some of Gianturco inhabitants. It is also offering a total of 75,000 euros as temporary support for 25 families to rent privately, subject to certain conditions. However, the municipality has acknowledged that hundreds of people, including children, will not be provided with any alternative housing and therefor are at risk of being rendered homeless.

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ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

The informal settlement of Gianturco hosts between 850 and 1300 adults and children, many living in self-built housing made of bricks, wood and metal sheets. Dozens of families relocated there after the camp they had lived in before was set on fire by unknown individuals in 2011. In fact, the original camp was located in Via del Riposo, where the municipality is currently building a new segregated camp to host some of the families from Gianturco.

In recent months, inhabitants have reported frequent checks and searches by law enforcement authorities in the settlement, resulting in seizure of food stocks and cars, carts, scooters and trolleys the families use to transport recyclable materials collected from town. They have also reported harassment by law enforcement officers who repeatedly told them to leave the camp. The community’s livelihood has been significantly affected by the prohibition by authorities to hold an informal market of used goods in the square of the settlement.

On 27 February 2017, the municipality told Amnesty International that the eviction will take place soon. No specific date has been indicated to Amnesty International, nor the inhabitants. The municipality’s plan for rehousing the community includes:

- A new authorised camp currently being built in Via del Riposo intended to host 36-40 families (approximately 200 people). The authorities have not provided the exact number of families identified to be transferred to the new camp, nor have they provided detailed information on the criteria and process used for their selection. The municipality told Amnesty International that families with children regularly attending school, elderly and particularly vulnerable people would be among the ones relocated to the camp. However, many families have expressed concerns during interviews of not being informed of their future whereabouts after the eviction from Gianturco;

- A total of 75,000 euros is offered by the municipality to 25 Romani families across Naples (not limited to evicted inhabitants of the Gianturco settlement). The offer requires that families sign an agreement committing to attend work programmes, ensuring that their children access education, not remaining in authorized or informal centres and camps for Roma and not committing criminal offences. Many of the Roma expressed worries that they might not be able to benefit from such a scheme as it requires them to upfront the rental costs and later be reimbursed for the expenses, for a maximum of 3,000 euros per family. Many explained that due to their precarious employment situation, the option of privately renting and supporting the related housing costs would be unsustainable for them in their current situation;

- An unspecified number of small flats confiscated from the organised crime networks will also be used for rehousing people from Gianturco. However, no precise details have been offered regarding the number of such places, criteria for the selection of the people and conditions for accessing them.

Amnesty International understands that the outlined housing options do not offer alternatives for all the people currently residing in Gianturco even based on the lower estimated figure of 850 people provided by the authorities. Furthermore, the new segregated camp as the main rehousing alternative for around 200 of the inhabitants is discriminatory and in breach of Italy’s international and regional human rights obligations, including the EU Race Equality Directive.

Italy is party to a range of international and regional human rights treaties which prohibit forced evictions: these are evictions carried out without adequate notice and genuine consultation with those affected, without legal safeguards and without assurances of adequate alternative accommodation. From the evidence collected by Amnesty International, such safeguards do not appear to be in place in the upcoming eviction of inhabitants of the Gianturco settlement, thereby placing the authorities in breach of their obligations under a range of international and regional human rights treaties.

The potential imminent forced eviction and the long term plan to transfer the families to a segregated mono-ethnic camp fly in the face of commitments to end segregation of Roma in camps, undertaken by Italy in its National Strategy for Roma Inclusion, adopted in 2012. Amnesty International has provided extensive evidence to and has repeatedly called on the European Commission to start an infringement proceeding against Italy under the Race Equality Directive for discrimination of Roma in housing, including forced evictions and segregation in camps.

UA: 63/17 Index: EUR 30/5937/2017 Issue Date: 22 March 2017

Take action

Please write immediately in English or your own language:

  • Urging the authorities to halt the eviction process until they have genuinely consulted all affected Roma to explore all feasible alternative housing options and can ensure nobody is rendered homeless following the eviction;
  • Urging the authorities to ensure that any rehousing plans do not result in the creation of new segregated camps and comply with the standards of adequate housing as outlined in international and regional human rights law and Italy’s National Strategy for Roma Inclusion.

PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 3 MAY 2017 TO:
Mayor of Naples
Luigi de Magistris
Comune di Napoli
Palazzo San Giacomo
Piazza Municipio
80133 Napoli
Italy
Fax: +39 08 17955002
Email: urp@comune.napoli.it
Salutation: Dear Mayor

Minister of Interior
Marco Minniti
Ministero dell’Interno
Piazza del Viminale 1
00184 Roma
Italy
Fax: +39 06 46549832
Email: segreteriatecnica.ministro@interno.it
Salutation: Dear Minister

Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country.

Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date.