MINELRES: ERRC: Italy Systemically Frustrates Right to Adequate Housing of Roma

minelres@lists.microlink.lv minelres@lists.microlink.lv
Wed May 3 22:25:04 2006

Original sender: European Roma Rights Centre <errc@errc.org>

European Committee of Social Rights Finds Three Distinct Violations of 
Revised European Social Charter

"Campland" Policies Condemned by Europe's Premiere Social Rights Body

24 April 2006, Rome, Strasbourg, Budapest: In a decision made public
today, the European Committee of Social Rights has ruled that, by policy
and practice, Italy systemically violates the right to adequate housing
where Roma are concerned. The decision is based on a Collective
Complaint brought by the European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC) with partner
organizations against Italy under the Revised European Social Charter

Housing arrangements for Roma in Italy aim at separating Roma from the
mainstream of Italian society and holding them in artificial exclusion.
As such, they block possibilities for integration and subject Roma to
the very serious harm of segregation on racial grounds. In a number of
Romani settlements in Italy, very extremely inadequate housing
conditions prevail, threatening the health and even the lives of their
Romani inhabitants.

In addition, Italian authorities regularly and systematically subject
Roma to forced evictions from housing. During eviction raids,
authorities arbitrarily destroy property belonging to Roma, use abusive
language, and otherwise humiliate evictees. In many cases, persons
expelled from housing have been rendered homeless as a result of actions
by police and local authorities. In some instances, in the course of
such evictions, Roma have been collectively expelled from Italy. A very
significant part of Italy's Romani population lives under constant
threat of forced eviction.

The ERRC Collective Complaint alleged breaches of the Revised European 
Social Charter's Article 31 read together with or independently of the 
Charter's Article E non-discrimination guarantees. Article 31 of the 
Revised Charter states:

"With a view to ensuring the effective access of the right to housing,
the Parties undertake to take measures designed:
(1) to promote access to housing of an adequate standard;
(2) to prevent and reduce homelessness with a view to its gradual
(3) to make the price of housing accessible to those without adequate

Ruling on the ERRC Complaint, the Committee held:
* Unanimously that the insufficiency of camping sites for nomadic Roma
constitutes a violation of Article 31(1) of the Revised Charter, taken
together with Article E;
* Unanimously that forced eviction and other sanctions constitute a
violation of Article 31(2) of the Revised Charter, taken together with
Article E;
* Unanimously that the lack of permanent dwellings constitutes a
violation of Articles 31(1) and 31(3) of the Revised Charter, taken
together with Article E.

The Collective Complaint, lodged in June 2004 by the ERRC, working
together with a number of local partners, is the result of six years of
documentation work undertaken by the ERRC into the human rights
situation of Roma in Italy.

On the occasion of the decision, Piero Colacicchici, Director of 
OsservAzione - Centre for Action Research Against Roma and Sinti 
Discrimination, said, "With this decision, our years of work to
challenge the segregation of Roma in the field of housing in Italy is
finally vindicated."

ERRC Programmes Director Claude Cahn said, "It now falls to the Italian 
government to make clear what measures it will undertake to finally
begin to undue the damage caused by these racist policies."

The decision by the Committee is available by contacting the offices of
the ERRC.

The ERRC Collective Complaint and other materials related to the
complaint are available at: http://www.errc.org/cikk.php?cikk=2117

Further information on the ERRC Collective Complaint against Italy is 
available from the ERRC:
Claude Cahn: (36 20) 98 36 445, 
Savelina Danova-Russinova: (36 1) 41 32 215, 
Tara Bedard: (36 1) 41 32 246, 

Further information on the housing rights situation of Roma in Italy is
also available by contacting: Nando Sigona, osservAzione, 
(+44) 07913440315, postmaster@osservazione.org
Lorenzo Monasta, osservAzione, 
(+39) 3394993639, lmonasta@compuserve.com


The European Roma Rights Center (ERRC) is an international public
interest law organization engaging in a range of activities aimed at
combating anti-Romani racism and human rights abuse of Roma, in
particular strategic litigation, international advocacy, research and
policy development, and training of Romani activists. For more
information about the European Roma Rights Center, visit the ERRC
website at http://www.errc.org.

European Roma Rights Center
1386 Budapest 62
P.O. Box 906/93
Phone:+36 1 4132200
Fax:+36 1 4132201

OsservAzione is a non governmental organisation engaging in a range of
activities aimed at combating anti-Romani racism human rights abuse of
Roma and Sinti in Italy.

via dell'osservatorio 39
Phone: +39 3394993639

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