MINELRES: Several statements on Roma in Italy

minelres@lists.microlink.lv minelres@lists.microlink.lv
Sun May 25 15:51:23 2008

Original sender: MINELRES moderator <minelres@mailbox.riga.lv>

Dear MINELRES list readers, 

Apparently you, like myself, have received a lot of various statements
on the situation of Roma in Italy related to the policies implemented by
the new Italian government. In order to reduce the amount of reading to
a reasonable size, I made a brief collection of the recent statements
what loked most essential to me. Needless to say, the choice is
subjective, and it was certainly not my intention to anyhow evaluate or
"range" different actors working in the field. 

MINELRES moderator


European Roma Rights Centre <errc@errc.org>

ERRC Calls Italian Government to Stop Anti-Romani Pogroms

On 16 May 2008, the European Roma Rights Centre sent a letter to
high-ranking Italian government authorities demanding intervention
following anti-Romani pogroms taking place in Naples. The letter, sent
to the Italian Prime Minister, the Italian President, the Minister of
Interior, the head of the Italy’s National Office Against Racial
Discrimination and the Public Prosecutor, pointed to similarities
between the recent events in Italy and anti-Romani pogroms taking place
in Romania in the early 1990s, for which the European Court of Human
Rights has ruled against Romania three times since 2005. The ERRC also
highlighted the responsibility of high ranking Italian politicians for
contributing to the current climate of hostility against Roma in Italy.

In its letter, which was also copied to various intergovernmental
institutions, the ERRC urged Italian authorities to: 

1) Provide adequate protection to all Roma in Italy against violence
racist attacks and other discriminatory actions;
2) Firmly denounce the pogroms which have taken place to date; 
3) Ensure adequate and effective investigation of the events in Naples,
Milan and elsewhere, and prosecute to the fullest extent of the law all
responsible persons, including public officials making hostile
statements about Roma which incite racial hatred; and
4) Fully co-operate with intergovernmental institutions, international
organizations and domestic civil society to swiftly and effective end
the human rights emergency of Roma in Italy.

The full draft of the letter is available online at:

For further information, please contact Tara Bedard, Programmes
Coordinator, tara.bedard@errc.org, +36.1.413.2200

Persons wishing to express similar concerns are urged to contact:

Mr Giorgio Napolitano, President of the Republic of Italy
Palazzo del Quirinale
Piazza del Quirinale - 00187 Rome
Fax +39 06 46993125

Mr Silvio Berlusconi, President of the Council of Ministers
Palazzo Chigi, Piazza Colonna 370
00187 Rome, Italy
Fax: +39 06 6779 5342/5326

Mr Roberto Maroni, Italian Minister of Interior 
Ministry of the Interior, Palazzo Viminale
00187 Rome, Italy
Fax: +39 06 46549815

Mr Marco De Giorgi, General Director
Ufficio Nazionale Antidiscriminazioni Razziali (UNAR)
Dipartimento Diritti e Pari Opportunita 
Largo Chigi 19, 00187 Rome, Italy
Fax: +39.06 67792272

Procura della Republica Circondario:Roma 
Piazzale Clodio 
00195 ROMA (RM) 
Via Gregorio VII, 122 (3° piano) 
00167 ROMA (RM) 
Fax: +39.06.39736135 

Mr Jose Manuel Barroso
President of the European Commission
European Commission
1049 Brussels, Belgium
Fax: +32 2 295 0138/39/40

Mr Hans-Gert Pottering
President of the European Parliament
European Parliament,  
Rue Wiertz, PHS 11B011, 1047 Brussels, Belgium
Fax: +32 2 28 49769

Mr Vuk Jeremic
Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia
Chair of the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers
24-26 Kneza Milosa St., 11000 Belgrade, Serbia
Fax +381 11 3618-366

Ms Polonca Koncar
Chair of the European Committee of Social Rights
Secretariat of the European Social Charter, Directorate of Human Rights
Council of Europe, F-67075 Strasbourg Cedex, FRANCE
Fax: +33 3 88413700

Mr Thomas Hammarberg
Council of Europe Human Rights Commissioner
Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights
Council of Europe
F-67075 Strasbourg Cedex, FRANCE
Fax: +33 3 90215053

Mr Miloon Kothari
UN Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing
Office of the United Nations
High Commissioner for Human Rights
UNOG-OHCHR, 1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland
Fax: +41 22 9179006


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
Fax: +36.1.413.2201


European Roma and Travellers Forum <ertf@coe.int>

ERTF Press Release: Anti-Roma violence in Italy: ARE WE BACK TO 1930? 

European Roma and Travellers Forum 
Press Release 

Strasbourg, 19 May 2008: Today, in a letter addressed to the European
Union and the European Parliament the European Roma and Travellers Forum
expressed concern over the violent attack on the informal settlements in
Italy in which hundreds of Roma have been forced to run off for fear of
their life. 

“The recent events in Italy remind us of  the Nazi and Fascist periods
in the early 1930s, when Roma/Sinty and Jews were singled out for
discrimination and persecution leading finally to the genocide of
millions of innocent people” said Mr. Kawczynski, President of the
European Roma and Travellers Forum.  

The European Roma and Travellers Forum calls upon the European Union and
the European Parliament to take immediate and concrete actions for the
protection and equal treatment of all EU citizen. 

Italian politicians and the media are blaming immigrants of Roma origin
for the increase of criminality act in the country. Mr. Kawczynski
maintains that “Criminal elements can be found in every sector of the
population irrespective of ethnicity and social class. This does not
mean that the whole sector – in this case the Roma - are criminals.
Singling out the Roma community as main reason for the increase of
criminality in Italy can only contribute toward increasing the tension
and higher number of violent attacks”.

*  *  *

The European Roma and Travellers Forum (ERTF), which has a partnership
agreement with the Council of Europe and a special status with this
institution, is Europe’s largest and most inclusive Roma organisation.
It brings together Europe’s main international Roma-NGOs and more than
1,500 national Roma organisations from most of the Council of Europe
member states. 

For further information please contact: 

European Roma and Travellers Forum 
c/o Council of Europe 
F – 67 075 Strasbourg 
Tel.: 00 33 3 90 21 53 50 
Email: ertf@ertf.org or ertf@coe.int 


European Network Against Racism <georgina@enar-eu.org>

Brussels, 19 May 2008

Stop to anti-Roma violence in Italy!

The European Network Against Racism (ENAR) strongly condemns the violent
attacks on Roma settlements in Italy last week and urges all relevant EU
institutions to take action to denounce these events. Last week, a
number of Roma settlements around Naples and Milan were set on fire by
inhabitants following reports of a Roma girl allegedly having attempted
to steal a baby.

ENAR is seriously concerned by the political and media discourse used in
Italy to build a “Roma emergency”. The Italian authorities are
conducting arbitrary detentions and expulsions, making provisions for
discriminatory anti-Romani and anti-Romanian laws and measures and
openly inciting its population to racially motivated violence. The
Italian Interior Minister Mr. Roberto Maroni on 11 May stated that “all
Roma camps will have to be dismantled, and the inhabitants will be
either expelled or incarcerated”. It seems also that the Italian
government is about to adopt a new security decree to control or expel
immigrants, especially the Roma.

These measures and the current xenophobic discourse are propagating
prejudice and encouraging the double identification Roma/criminals. A
recent opinion poll showed that 70% of Italians would like to “expel”
the Roma from Italy, regardless of the fact that a little more than 50%
of them are Italian nationals and 20% are EU citizens.

Presenting the Roma as a threat to public security stigmatises an entire
ethnic minority and goes against the very principles and values upon
which the European Union is founded. ENAR therefore urgently calls on
the Italian authorities to stop making anti-Roma discourses and to take
all the necessary measures to ensure the protection of the Roma
community. ENAR also urges all EU institutions to condemn and take
action against the anti-Roma hate speech and discriminatory actions
taken by Italian authorities.

ENAR President Mohammed Aziz said: “We are extremely worried by the
anti-Roma and anti-immigrant rhetoric currently being used in Italy,
resulting in the introduction of discriminatory measures and in fuelling
racist sentiment. Italian and EU politicians must stand up to the EU
commitment to fundamental rights and focus on promoting the social
inclusion of Roma and implementing anti-discrimination policies.”

The European Network Against Racism (ENAR) is a network of European NGOs
working to combat racism in all EU member states and represents more
than 600 NGOs spread around the European Union. Its establishment was a
major outcome of the 1997 European Year Against Racism. ENAR aims to
fight racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, to promote
equality of treatment between EU citizens and third country nationals,
and to link local/regional/national initiatives with European

For further information, contact:

Georgina Siklossy, Communication and Press Officer

Phone: 32-2-229.35.70 - Fax: 32-2-229.35.75

E-mail: georgina@enar-eu.org - Website: www.enar-eu.org


European Roma Information Office <ivan.ivanov@erionet.org>


Brussels, May 21st, 2008

The European Roma Informaiton Office (ERIO) fully supports Commissioner
Vladimir Spidla's condemnation yesterday of the “atrocities against the
Roma” committed in Italy over the past weeks and confirms Mr Spidla's
remark that this is not “an isolated case”. ERIO also supports Mr.
Spidla’s call on all Member States to guarantee the safety of Roma and
the respect of human rights.
Mr. Ivan Ivanov, ERIO executive director, calls on the Italian and other
Member States’ governments to make every effort to enforce the European
legislation against discrimination and to made full use of the funds
that the EU provides for a better integration of Roma people in the
society, notably for decent housing and access to health services,
education and employment.
ERIO therefore endorses Commissioner Leonard Obran’s recent call on
Italy to fully use the social funds available for this purpose. Italy
has only used ˆ3.2 million on integration projects, compared to the ˆ4.4
spent in the Czech Republic and the ˆ7.5 million used in Poland, two
countries where the Roma situation has not reached the alarming
seriousness that it has in Italy.
Hungarian Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Livia Jaroka's stated
that "the situation of the Roma is terrible everywhere in Europe, not
just in Italy. All governments are to blame, of right and left, because
they have not succeeded in promoting the integration of the Roma in
In this regard, ERIO hopes that the discussion on Roma at the European
level will go on beyond the extraordinary debate that took place
yesterday during the European Parliament plenary session. Mr Ivanov
hopes that awareness on the dramatic situation of Roma people, raised by
last weeks’ violence against them, will encourage European and national
decision makers to adopt long term policies to fully integrate Roma.
Recalling the responsibilities of politicians from all levels and all
countries to counter the alarming growth of right-wing extremism and
racism, those responsible for anti-Roma violence must be prosecuted.
Such violent acts are strongly encouraged by the dangerous populist
attitude of some politicians and government representatives,
particularly in Italy.
Finally, ERIO expresses extreme dismay and concern at the suggestion of
far right Italian MEP Luca Romagnoli to “create a Roma state in the
East, where Roma could govern themselves autonomously”. Such proposals
are reminiscent of those made by the Nazis and can not be accepted in a
democratic Europe.
The European Roma Information Office (ERIO) is an international advocacy
organization, which promotes political and public discussion on Roma
issues by providing factual and in-dept information on a range of policy
issues to the European Union institutions, Roma civil organizations,
governmental authorities and intergovernmental bodies.
The ERIO cooperates with a network of a large number of organizations
and acts to combat racial discrimination and social exclusion through
awareness raising, lobbying and policy development.
Ave. Edouard Lacomble 17 
Brussels 1040 
Tel:      0032(0)27333462                      
Fax:     0032(0)27333875       
For more information:
E-mail: ivan.ivanov@erionet.org


RomNews Network Newsletter <director@romnews.com>

RNN EXCLUSIVE - Videos of EP Session on Italy and Roma, Historical facts
on Italy and Roma during the Nazi Period, etc.

Italy Progroms update visit www.RomNews.com


Statement of the European Commission on the Situation of the Roma in
Italy and following discussion

Vladimir SPIDLA - European Commission - Opening speech 1

Vladimir SPIDLA - European Commission - Opening speech 2

Vladimir SPIDLA - European Commission - Closing Remarks

Victoria MOHACI - Member of the European Parliament -

Livia JAROKA - - Member of the European Parliament -

Umberto GELLDONI and Roberto FIORE - Member of the European Parliament -

Els DE GROEN and Marco PANNELLA - Member of the European Parliament -

Adrian SEVERIN - Member of the European Parliament -

New Videos on Tube from Italy:

Police in Castel Romano - http://de.youtube.com/watch?v=0S_sOm6wmRQ

Discrimination in the schools of Rome -

"fire in Castel Romano" - http://de.youtube.com/watch?v=AO8Yri3Ska8

"roma settlement in rome" -  http://de.youtube.com/watch?v=2DC86jEx3lE

Published Materials, by the Council of Europe, on Italy and the Roma in
the Nazi Period





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