The statement of ERIO concerning the aggressive racial attacks against Roma
people in Italy|
The European Roma Information Office ERIO express its deep concern on the
aggressive racial attacks against Roma people in Italy by members of the
Italian society and on the passive position held by the Italian authorities.
ERIO asks the Italian government to take urgent measures to stop Anti-Roma
attacks and ensure security and protection to Roma communities.
The latest violent cases against Roma carried out by non-state individuals
as well as by police forces are clear signs of an organized anti-Roma action
On May 11 the Roma camp in via Novara, in Milan was put on fire with
several Molotov cocktails bottles thrown by extremist groups.
On May 13 anti-Roma riots exploded in the Ponticelli area in Naples, and
several hundred Roma had to flee from their camps because of the violent
attacks from angry local Italian citizens. These attacks were provoked by
the alleged attempt of a Romani girl to kidnap a six-months old baby from
its Italian parents.
On May 12 and 13 a large scale arbitrary arrests of more than 400 Roma, that
were registered and fingerprinted and obviously prepared for deportation,
took place in Florence.
All these events and other incidents in different regions of Italy which
took place last week are results of a long time tension between local
Italians and Roma people, fostered by anti-Roma statements from high level
politicians and State representatives. Italian decision makers and right
wing extremist try to justify their anti-Roma attitude by an individual case
transformed in collective responsibility.
Therefore, the European Roma Information Office calls the Italian government
to take urgent measures to stop Anti-Roma attacks and ensure security and
protection to Roma communities.
Ivan Ivanov, ERIO executive director, invites “the Italian police
authorities to investigate and take legal action against those responsible
for the violent attacks against Roma”.
Roma community in Italy is mainly made up by European citizens. Therefore
they should enjoy the same rights and protection against discrimination like
other European citizens residing in Italy.
So, while designing its immigration regulations, Italian government has to
make sure that this legislation is in conformity with: the European
Directive 2004/38 against discrimination, the Race Equality Directive
2000/43 EC , the EU Migration Package which will be adopted soon and other
European human rights documents subscribed by Italy. Mr. Ivanov added that
“the immigration package which is under elaboration in Italy should not
lead to discrimination because the measures taken so far have
disproportionate impact on Roma”.
Italian government has urgently to adopt policies for the smooth integration
of Roma communities and ensure for them equal access to education,
employment, housing, health care and public services. In order to do this,
Italy shall use the European funds provided for Roma integration.
European Roma Information Office also ask the European Commission to ensure
that the principle of equal treatment is strictly followed by each Member
state, to adopt a horizontal approach concerning Roma’ situation in Europe
and to propose as soon as possible a specific European Roma policy.
“Europe has to tackle anti-Gypsysm and discrimination in different policy
fields – said Mr. Ivanov – including measures for Roma’s integration, to
establish effective monitoring in order to ensure full implementation of the
anti-discrimination legislation at national level, and to guarantee the
respect of human rights and equal treatment of Roma in accordance with the
European legislation and basic principles”.
On the other hand, ERIO welcomes the today initiative of the European
Parliament to debate on the situation of Roma in Italy and other EU
ERIO asks MEPs to find concrete proposals for the solution of the crises.
ERIO also suggests to set up meetings with representatives of the Italian
Parliament to discuss possible legislative measures concerning the living
conditions of Roma.