Roma: Hammarberg urges Italy towards shift in focus

A “shift in focus,” from forcible evictions and expulsions to social inclusion and anti-discrimination, is needed in Italy towards Roma and Sinti people.

The declaration is a key finding of a report on Italy published today by Thomas Hammarberg, the Commissioner for Human Rights.

He states: “Recent evictions of Roma and Sinti, sometimes in violation of human rights standards, have had a negative impact on the enjoyment not only of the right to housing, but also other human rights, including children’s right to education.

“The Italian authorities should act in accordance with international and Council of Europe standards in the field of housing and evictions, and bring the situation fully into line with the revised European Social Charter.”

Hammarberg’s report reveals his alarm at evidence of racist violence and xenophobic political discourse against Roma and Sinti.

He states: “It is necessary to improve the handling of racist offences and to combat racially-motivated misconduct by the police. In particular, the system for monitoring racist incidents and offences should be made more flexible and victim-friendly.

The commissioner is also concerned by the country’s treatment of migrants. He writes “Increasing arrivals from Northern Africa have also exposed a dire need for Italy and Europe to do more to ensure that the rights of migrants, including asylum seekers, are respected: first and foremost when it comes to their rescue at sea, but also their reception, integration and a number of legal procedures.”

Thomas Hammarberg’s report on italy

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