MINELRES: Human Rights Coalition Welcomes CERD Concluding Observations on Italy

minelres@lists.microlink.lv minelres@lists.microlink.lv
Tue Mar 25 16:59:31 2008

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

CERD Issues Strong Recommendations for Improving the Situation of Roma
and Sinti in Italy

Budapest, Florence, Geneva, Mantova, 10 March 2008: Today, the European
Roma Rights Centre (ERRC), the Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions
(COHRE), osservAzione and Sucar Drom welcomed the Concluding
Observations of the UN Committee on the Committee on the Elimination of
All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD) on Italy’s compliance with the
UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. 

In its Concluding Observations, CERD focused significant attention to
the issues raised by the coalition. Specifically, CERD expressed serious
concerns about instances of hate speech targeting Roma by politicians,
and the role of the media in spreading anti-Romani messages. The
Committee also highlighted the “use of illegal force by the police
against Roma, in particular Roma of Romanian origin […] in the course of
raids in Roma camps”, particularly following the enactment of emergency
decrees on the expulsion of EU nationals in November 2007 and January
2008, the continuing segregation of Roma and Sinti in camps for nomads,
as well as discriminatory ordinances and signs which restrict the
freedom of movement of Roma and Sinti in Italy. Finally, the Committee
noted the failure of the Italian government to recognise Roma and Sinti
as a national minority and to adopt a comprehensive national policy for
improving the situation of these communities in Italy. 

The Committee issued a number of strong recommendations for action by
the Italian government, which, to a large extent, mirror recommendations
made by the coalition. As regards the issue of hate speech, CERD noted
that the “State party should increase its efforts to prevent racially
motivated offences and hate speech, and ensure that relevant criminal
law provisions are effectively implemented. […] It also recommends that
the State party take resolute action to counter any tendency especially
from politicians to target, stigmatize, stereotype or profile people on
the basis of race, colour, descent, and national or ethnic origin or to
use racist propaganda for political purposes.” It also recommended that
the media be encouraged to “play an active role in combating prejudices
and negative stereotypes which lead to racial discrimination and that it
adopt all necessary measures to combat racism in the media” The
Committee also requested that the Italian government adopt a code of
conduct of journalists. 

Regarding the prevailing pattern of police ill-treatment and forced
evictions of Roma living in camps, the Committee recommended that the
Italian government, “take measures to prevent the use of illegal force
by the police against Roma, and that the local authorities take more
resolute action to prevent and punish racially motivated acts of
violence against Roma and other persons of foreign origin.” Further, the
Committee condemned the racial segregation of Roma in the field of
housing, and recommended that the government “act firmly against local
measures denying residence to Roma and the unlawful expulsion of Roma,
and to refrain from placing Roma in camps outside populated areas that
are isolated and without access to health care and other basic

Finally, the Committee called on the Italian government to “adopt and
implement a comprehensive national policy as well as legislation
regarding Roma and Sinti with a view to recognizing them as a national
minority and protecting and promoting their languages and culture” and
“strengthen its efforts to support the inclusion in the school system of
all children of Roma origin and to address the causes of drop-out rates

The coalition of human rights organisations had, in the run-up to the
Committee’s 72nd session and review of Italy, submitted a comprehensive
parallel report on the human rights crisis of Roma and Sinti in Italy.
In the run-up to the Committee review, COHRE and the Geneva-based
Anti-Racism Information Service provided training to Italian Roma rights
activists on using the international treaty system, with support from
the Interchurch Organization for Development Cooperation (ICCO). These
activists made oral presentations to the Committee at the February
session in Geneva. The ERRC/COHRE/osservAzione/Sucar Drom parallel
report is available in English. 

The ERRC, COHRE, osservAzione and Sucar Drom call on the Italian
government to take serious actions to implement the CERD recommendations
and to cease immediately the extreme human rights violations currently
happening with alarming frequency in the camps for Roma and Sinti in

The full text of the Concluding Observations is available in English and
in Italian.

For further information, please contact: 

Tara Bedard, ERRC Programmes Coordinator, tara.bedard@errc.org 
Claude Cahn, COHRE Head of Advocacy Unit, claudecahn@cohre.org 
Piero Colacicchi, osservAzione President, pierocolacicchi@tele2.it 
Bernardino Torsi, Sucar Drom President, sucardrom@sucardrom.191.it


The European Roma Rights Centre is an international public interest law
organisation which monitors the human rights situation of Roma and
provides legal defence in cases of human rights abuse. For more
information about the European Roma Rights Centre, visit the ERRC on the
web at http://www.errc.org 

To support the ERRC, please visit this link:

European Roma Rights Centre
1386 Budapest 62
P.O. Box 906/93
Tel: +36.1.413.2200

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