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ITALIAN REPUBLIC: Council of Europe Committee takes important steps to protect Roma from forced evictions

12 Jul 2019
[International Secretariat]
Region: ITALIAN REPUBLIC
Topic: Indigenous people Minority group

Responding to the decision by European Committee of Social Rights to request the Italian state to take immediate measures to protect the housing rights of Roma, Lucy Claridge, Director of Strategic Litigation at Amnesty International said:

“We wholeheartedly welcome this important step by the Committee and urge the Italian government to comply and end the ongoing and discriminatory destruction of Roma camps and forced evictions which trample procedural safeguards and fail to provide families with adequate, alternative housing.

“It is very significant that our complaint has not only been accepted but that the Committee also decided to take the exceptional step to request immediate measures ‘to eliminate the risk of serious and irreparable harm’ to people who have been evicted.

“It is scandalous that in the 21st century, in one of Europe’s biggest economies, some of the most marginalized individuals and families continue to experience such appalling living conditions and endemic discrimination.

“Despite the fact that forced evictions of Romani people are unlawful, Italian authorities continue to carry out forced evictions that have left entire communities homeless. We are hopeful today’s decision will put an end to this disgraceful practice.”

BACKGROUND

In response to the ongoing scandal of the housing situation of Roma in Italy, Amnesty International filed a complaint on 18 March 2019 with the European Committee of Social Rights. The complaint was the first ever to be filed by Amnesty International under the Committee’s collective complaints procedure.

Drawing on years of research by the organization, especially in the cities of Rome, Milan and Naples, the complaint presented comprehensive evidence alleging how the housing situation of Romani communities in Italy amounts to a series of breaches of the European Social Charter, which is binding upon Italy. These include widespread forced evictions; the continued use of segregated camps featuring substandard housing and lack of equal access to social housing.

5 July 2019
AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL QUOTE

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