MINELRES: UNITED: Hate Crimes - The Italian way to create security?

minelres@lists.microlink.lv minelres@lists.microlink.lv
Sat May 17 10:12:04 2008

Original sender: UNITED for Intercultural Action

Hate Crimes - The Italian way to create security?

The recently redeemed Italian government of Romano Prodi passed earlier
this year an emergency decree that
- allows the deportation of migrants from other EU countries
- limiting procedural safeguards of deportations and
- introducing administrative detention for European citizens if they are
considered a threat to public safety

The decree was issued after the alleged murder of an Italian woman by a
Romanian of Roma origin. Mr. Frattini, ex Commissioner for Justice and
Civil Liberties at the European Union declared: "What has to be done is
simple. Go into a nomad camp in Rome for example, and ask them: 'Can you
tell me where you live?' If they say they do not know, take them and
send them home to Romania. This is how the European directive works. It
is simple and safe. Romania cannot say they will not take them back,
because it is an obligation that is part of being a member state of the

On 13th April 2008 Silvio Berlusconi swept back to power for the third
time, after the Italian general election gave him and his centre-right
allies an overwhelming lead in the Senate as well as in the Chamber of
Deputies. Immediately after his election victory he already warned
Italians of tough times ahead and announced more hard-line policies and
practices towards immigrants to combat associated crimes.

Yesterday, Thursday 15th May, the Italian police proudly broadcasted
that they arrested nearly 400 people in a successful crack down on
'illegal immigration' throughout the whole country. This 'cleaning
action' in mostly migrant shantytowns in major urban areas across the
country can be seen as consequential result of Italia's backslide into
the far right in its government. The main focus of Italian concern about
immigrant crime lies with the Roma, general known as "nomads".

Mr. Berlusconi's party, The People of Freedom (Il Popolo della Liberta)
party, promotes on their campaign homepage that they would empty illegal
camps, and remove nomads who have no legal residence or means of

During the 'anti-immigration' operation of the Italian police in 15
regions, from North-Italy to Naples, 383 persons were arrested, 268 of
it were foreigners. 177 persons are accused of thievery, 111 are accused
of illegal immigration, 92 are accused of drug trafficking and 3 are
accused of prostitution. 53 of the arrested persons were deported
immediately and 65 of them were transported to detention camps.

"The anti-immigrant sweep was a positive thing because that's what
people want," said Umberto Bossi, the minister of institutional reforms
and federalism. "People ask us for safety, and we must give it to them."

In Naples Roma camps had to be evacuated, because mobs of local people
started to attack the camps after a 16-year-old Roma girl was accused of
trying to kidnap a baby. From 14th to 15th May local vigilantes burned a
Roma camp near Naples to the ground. It was the sad result of this
week's constant assault of Roma camps around Naples, mostly by youths on
scooters and motorbikes using iron bars and throwing Molotov cocktails.

These massive assaults against Roma people don't accrue coincidently,
but are the devastating result of hate speeches of politicians,
xenophobic media coverage and authorities and discriminative laws that
are stigmatising an entire ethnic minority. For example Milan introduced
a special commissary for the Roma issue creating the basis for a pogrom
against the Roma and migrant communities in Italy - Rome and Naples aim
to follow up on this policy. These alarming developments even activated
the Council of Europe and Thomas Hammarberg, Commissioner for Human
Rights, came to the conclusion:

"The decision to institutionalise a body like the national commissary to
control the Roma emergency is based on prejudices and it propagate these

More information under:

OSCE - Press release

European Roma Information Office

Migration Policy Group - Segregation of Roma Children in Education

ASGI - Rom e Sinti - Contributo di Fulvio Vassallo Paleologo

Related Articles:

The Independent - Italian tolerance goes up in smoke as Gypsy camp is
burnt to ground

BBC News - Italy police to protect Gypsies

BBC News - Italian police swoop on migrants

Int. Herald Tribune - Italian minister wants to bring back border checks

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