MINELRES: Human Rights Groups Urge European Commission to Commence Infringement Proceedings against Italy

minelres@lists.microlink.lv minelres@lists.microlink.lv
Mon May 18 20:22:33 2009

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

Human Rights Groups Urge European Commission to Commence Infringement
Proceedings against Italy 

Brussels, Budapest, Florence, New York, 5 May 2009: Under the guise of
conducting a census for humanitarian reasons, Italy is consistently
violating the fundamental rights of Roma and Sinti enshrined in EU law,
according to letters submitted to the European Commission by rights
groups yesterday. In the letters, directed to European Commissioners
Spidla and Barrot, the European Roma Rights Centre, osservAzione and the
Open Society Institute requested that the Commission launch infringement
proceedings addressing Italy’s non-compliance with the EU Race Equality
Directive and the EU Data Protection Directive. 

Eleven months after the Italian government enacted its “Declaration of
the state of emergency with regard to settlements of nomad communities
in the territories of Campania, Lazio and Lombardia regions” and
supporting regulations, the Government has focused its “emergency
response” on the coercive documentation of Roma and Sinti in numerous
camps, taking their photographs and their fingerprints, engaging in
house searches without a court order, and in some cases using the
information gathered to deport those who cannot demonstrate a right to
live in Italy. 

The Italian Government has consistently held that no database has been
created and that the census was carried out in accordance with national
and international laws and regulations concerning the protection of
privacy. The submitting organisations supported their requests with a
jointly prepared memorandum outlining in detail the process of census
implementation and its violation of protection regulations set out in EU
law including threats, intimidation and other forms of coercion,
significant shortcomings concerning adequate information provision and
informed consent, and widespread photographing of Roma and Sinti.

Commenting on the real intention of the census, the submitting
organisations noted increased law enforcement and immigration controls,
as well as the growing threat of forced eviction for many Roma and

The full text of the memorandum, as well as the letters to Commissioner
Spidla and Commissioner Barrot are available at:

Joint memorandum concerning Italy infringement to Commission 
Letter to Commissioner Spidla 
Letter to Commissioner Barrot 

For further information, please contact:

Sinan Gokcen, ERRC, sinan.gokcen@errc.org, +36.1.413.2200
Luis Montero, OSI, Luis.Montero@osf-eu.org, +44 7798737516
Piero Colacicchi, osservAzione, pierocolacicchi@tele2.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

This message was sent using Endymion MailMan.
http://www.endymion.com/products/mailman/ http://www.microlink.com/