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ERRC on March 5, 2000, that Romani children are commonly removed from their families because “they fail to integrate their children into Italian society by sending them to school” (see European Roma Rights Center interview with Dr Luigi Lusi, March 5, 2000, Rome). Dr Lusi additionally told the ERRC on March 8, 2000, “If a Gypsy parent chooses not to send their children to school, the reasons are obvious: they have sent them out to steal and beg. They do not deserve what our country has to offer.” (see European Roma Rights Center interview with Dr Luigi Lusi, March 8, 2000, Rome). By contrast, Italian families who do not send their children to school are commonly fined 250,000 lira (approximately 125 euros) for truancy under Article 731 of the Italian Penal Code.

82 Case summary based on European Roma Rights Center interview with Ms S.D, January 18, 1999, Pisa.

83 European Roma Rights Center interview with Ms D.P., January 29, 1999, Mestre.

84 European Roma Rights Center interview with Mr I.D., January 18, 1999, Coltano camp, outskirts of Pisa.

85 See Colacicchi, Piero, “Down by Law: Police Abuse of Roma in Italy”, Roma Rights, Winter 1998, pp.25-30 and at http://errc.org/rr_wint1998/noteb1.shtml.

86 European Roma Rights Center interview with Ms M.D., January 29, 1999, Mestre.

87 European Roma Rights Center interview with Mrs Daniell Soustre de Condat, Palermo, January 24, 1999.

88 European Roma Rights Center interview with Ms R.H., January 20, 1999, Rome.

89 European Roma Rights Center interview with Mr F.S., January 20, 1999, Rome.

90 European Roma Rights Center interview with Mr T.J., January 22, 1999, Naples.

91 European Roma Rights Center interviews in Florence, September 1997 and Naples, Crotone, Palermo and Venice, January 1999.

92 European Roma Rights Center interview with Mr I.B., January 23, 1999, Naples.

93 European Roma Rights Center interview with Mr T.N., January 25, 1999, Crotone.

94 European Roma Rights Center interview with Mr R.P., January 25, 1999, Milan.

95 European Roma Rights Center interview with Mr I.B., January 23, 1999, Eboli-Battipaglia industrial zone.

96 Strip-searches may violate international legal provisions guaranteeing freedom from inhuman and/or degrading treatment, the right to respect for one’s private and family life, as well as of the principle of non-discrimination – i.e., inter alia, Articles 3, 8, and 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights respectively.

97 European Roma Rights Center interview with Ms L.L., January 28, 1999, Brescia.

98 European Roma Rights Center interview with Ms M.M., January 20, 1999, Rome and European Roma Rights Center interview with Ms R.H., January 20, 1999, Rome.

99 See European Roma Rights Center interview with Ms Remzija Sulejmanović, November 24, 1998, Torino; she reported to the ERRC that her 14-year-old daughter Patricija had suffered this treatment in 1994. Other incidents of the practice were reported to the ERRC in Milan, Florence and Rome. See also Amnesty International, “Italy: Alleged torture and ill-treatment by law enforcement and prison officers,” April 1995, Appendix p.12.

100 European Roma Rights Center interview with Mr F.S., January 20, 1999, Rome.

101 The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), at Article 14(3), provides, “In determination of any criminal charge against him, everyone shall be entitled to the following minimum guarantees, in full equality: (a) To be informed promptly and in detail in a language which he understands of the nature and cause of the charge against him; [...]”

102 European Roma Rights Center interview with Mr S.H., January 20, 1999, Rome.

103 The United Nations Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment, principle 16(1) states: “Promptly after arrest and after each transfer from one place of detention or imprisonment to another, a detained or imprisoned person shall be entitled to notify or to require the competent authority to notify members of his family or other appropriate persons of his choice of his arrest, detention or imprisonment or of the transfer and of the place where he is kept in custody.”

104 European Roma Rights Center interview with Mr Stefano Montesi, March 15, 2000, Rome. Article 11 of the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR) guarantees the freedom of peaceful assembly. Article 11 protects not only public meetings but also private gatherings as well (see Switzerland 8191/78, (Dec.) October 10, 1979, 17 D.R. 93). Article 11 protects individuals as well as organisations. In attempting to obstruct meetings by Romani and human rights activists, Italian authorities may have additionally committed breaches of Article 9 of the ECHR, protecting freedom of thought, conscience and religion, and Article 10, protecting freedom of expression.

105 See letter from Mr Mario Vallorosi, director of the Immigration Office in Rome, to Mr Sergio Giovagnoli the president of the local branch of ARCI, and to Rome City Council member for social issues, Mr Amedeo Piva, March 16, 2000.

106 See Colacicchi, Piero, “Down by Law: Police Abuse of Roma in Italy”, Roma Rights, Winter 1998, pp.25-30 and at http://errc.org/rr_wint1998/noteb1.shtml.

107 Ibid.

108 The discriminatory treatment of Roma in the judicial system violates Article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), taken together with Article 6 of the ECHR.

109 European Roma Rights Center interview with a police officer whose name is withheld, Rome, January 1999. Persons familiar with the Italian criminal justice process estimate that Roma and non-EU citizens run twice as high a risk to be sentenced to imprisonment, and spend on average 30 percent more time in prison, than non-Romani Italians and EU-citizens convicted for the same offence.

110 Persons living in camps are commonly provided with identity documents stating simply, “without address,” or providing only a collective address for the entire camp.

111 On February 18, 1999, in denying a request for pre-trial release on the part of three Romani men detained on charges of burglary, Investigating Judge Antonio Crivelli in Florence highlighted what he referred to as “the risk of flight due to the fact that they are nomads without stable housing […].” (Document No. 4359/98 RNR; No. 102980/98 R.G. G.I.P.).

112 European Roma Rights Center interview with Ms Razema Hamidović, January 21, 1999, Florence.

113 United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, “Reports submitted by States Parties under Article 9 of the Convention, Eleventh periodic reports of States parties due in 1997, Addendum, Italy”, CERD/C/317/Add. 1, 20 July, 1998, para. 30.

114 See United Nations Human Rights Committee, “Summary records of the 1679th meeting: Italy,” CCPR/C/SR.1679, 28 July, 1998, para. 48 (noting “frequent cases of ill-treatment” […] linked with the problem of racial discrimination.”).

115 According to Italian law, only certain legally recognised relatives are granted the right to visit inmates without a special permission issued by the prison director upon presentation of a certificate concerning relationship to inmate – which, in turn, is to be obtained by the police (Circular of the Department of Penitentiary Administration (D.A.P.), 29 December, 1986 No. 3191/5641, para. 1). Reports indicate that the police often refuse to issue such certificates to Roma living in camps, apparently claiming that assessment of the type of relationship in such situations is impossible.

116 United Nations Committee against Torture, “Concluding Observations of the Committee against Torture: Italy”, A/50/44, paras.146-158, 26 July, 1995, paras. 153-154.

117 Amnesty International, “AI Concerns in Europe: January-June 1995,” September 1995, p.30.

118 City of Roma Advisor for Nomad Affairs Dr Luigi Lusi, interviewed by European Roma Rights Center local monitor Kathryn D. Carlisle, March 8, 2000, Rome.

119 According to the press office of the Italian Ministry of the Interior, in the period of January-May 2000, there was an approximately 18% increase in the number of expulsions from Italy over the same period in 1999. According to the same source, the Ministry keeps no record of the number of Roma expelled.

120 Press release from the Mayor of Rome, March 6, 2000.

121 Dr Luigi Lusi, interviewed by European Roma Rights Center local monitor Kathryn D. Carlisle, March 8, 2000, Rome.

122 Any act by a public authority aimed at separating those who have a family life together amounts to an interference with the rights secured under Article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights. See especially European Commission on Human Rights, unpublished report on Cyprus v. Turkey, Vol. 1, p.163, para. 211.

123 The European Court of Human Rights has held that Article 3 of the Convention, read in conjunction with Article 1, requires States not merely to refrain from torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, but also to “secure” this right by providing protection against ill-treatment by private persons. In Costello-Roberts v. United Kingdom the court held “that the responsibility of a State is engaged if a violation of one of the rights and freedoms defined in the Convention is the result of non-observance by that State of its obligation under Article 1 to secure those rights and freedoms in its domestic law to everyone within its jurisdiction” (Costello-Roberts v. United Kingdom, 19 EHRR 112 (1993), para. 26; see also, mutatis mutandis, the Young, James and Webster v. the United Kingdom Judgement of 13 August 1981, Series A no. 44, p. 20, para. 49 and A v. United Kingdom, Judgment of 23 September 1998, para. 22). Similarly, the United Nations Human Rights Committee has referred to a number of private actions threatening human rights and the State’s duty to deter such activity. In its General Comment of 1992, it clarified that the scope of protection to be undertaken by the State extends to cover torture, or other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment committed by people acting in their “private capacity” (HRC, General Comment 20, Article 7, Forty-fourth Session, 1992, para 2). The General Comment reads in part: “It is the duty of the State party to afford everyone protection through legislative and other measures as may be necessary against acts prohibited by Article 7 [i.e. torture, inhuman or degrading treatment], whether inflicted by people acting in their official capacity, outside their official capacity or in a private capacity” (Ibid., para 2). The Committee also declares that States should indicate the provisions of their criminal law which prohibit and specify the penalties applicable “whether committed by public officials or other persons acting on behalf of the State, or by private persons” (Ibid., para. 13). The references to private capacity and private persons thus leaves no doubt that Article 7 of the Covenant covers non-state actors.

124 See “Snapshots from around Europe”, Roma Rights 2/1999, at: http://errc.org/rr_nr2_1999/snap03.shtml.

125 Case summary based on European Roma Rights Center interview with Mr K.L., January 27, 1999, Milan.

126 Case summary based on European Roma Rights Center interview with Ms L.J., January 24, 1999, Palermo.

127 European Roma Rights Center interview with Mr F.Z., January 27, 1999, Milan.

128 United Nations Human Rights Committee, “Summary Record of the 1679th meeting: Italy”, CCPR/C/SR.1679, 28 July, 1998, para. 27. During the first two months of 1998, the Italian delegation said that eight such incidents had been reported.

129 In its last appearance before the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, members of the Italian delegation stated: “Italian society did not breed sentiments of a racist nature. […] Incidents that could be classified as incidents of “racism” normally fell into different categories. […] The fact of attacking or beating non-Europeans usually had little to do with racial discrimination. In most cases, the behaviour originated in a compelling urge to give reign to the most violent instincts.” (United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, Summary record of the 1075th meeting: Italy”, CERD/C/SR.1075, 6 March, 1995, para. 18). More recently, on May 3, 2000, the Italian delegation told the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights that there was “not so much a problem of discrimination against Roma people as a problem of intolerance. In some towns with a large Roma population, Roma people sometimes jumped the queue to obtain housing, which could cause resentment among the local population.” (See “Summary Record of the 6th Meeting: Italy (E/C.12/2000/SR.6), 3 May 2000”).

130 The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, at Article 5, states: “In compliance with the fundamental obligations laid down in Article 2 of this Convention, States Parties undertake to prohibit and to eliminate racial discrimination in all its forms and to guarantee the right of everyone, without distinction as to race, colour, or national or ethnic origin, to equality before the law, notably in the enjoyment of the following rights: [...] (f) The right of access to any place or service intended for use by the general public, such as transport, hotels, restaurants, cafes, theatres and parks.”

131 European Roma Rights Center interview with Mrs V.H., January 29, 1999, Mestre.

132 European Roma Rights Center interview with Ms M.D., January 29, 1999, Mestre.

133 The Institute of Race Relations, European Race Audit, Bulletin No. 26, February 1998, p.22.

134 The Institute of Race Relations, European Race Audit, Bulletin No. 28, October 1998, p.25.

135 European Roma Rights Center interviews, Florence, January 1999.

136 European Roma Rights Center interviews, Florence, January 1999.

137 See Dragutinovic, Op. cit.

138 Council of Europe, European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI), “Legal Measures to combat racism and intolerance in the member States of the Council of Europe” (1998), p.276.

139 Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), states: “Everyone has the right to education.” The right to education is elaborated in a number of international laws and instruments, including the Convention of the Rights of the Child. Article 29(1) of the Convention states: “States Parties agree that the education of the child shall be directed to: (a) the development of the child’s personality, talents and mental and physical abilities to the fullest of their potential; (b) the development of the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and for the principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations; (c) the development of respect for the child’s parents, his or her own cultural identity, language and values, for the national values of the country in which the child is living, the country from which he or she may originate, and for civilizations different from his or her own; (d) the preparation of the child for responsible life in a free society, in the spirit of understanding, peace, tolerance, equality of sexes, and friendship among all peoples, ethnic, national and religious groups and persons of indigenous origin; (e) the development of respect for the natural environment.” The international community has repeatedly enshrined in law the principle that education, as a fundamental right, shall be free of discrimination. Article 5(e)(v) of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD), for example, states that “States Parties undertake to eliminate racial discrimination in all its forms and to guarantee the right to everyone, without distinction as to race, colour, or national or ethnic origin, with respect to the right to education and training.” Article 2 of Protocol 1 to the European Convention of Human Rights states: “No person shall be denied the right to education. In the exercise of any functions which it assumes in relation to education and to teaching, the State shall respect the right of parents to ensure such education and teaching in conformity with their own religious and philosophical convictions.” Italy ratified Protocol 1 on October 26, 1955.

140 European Roma Rights Center interview with Mrs M.V., January 18, 1999, Florence.

141 Of the 365 students, 62% were enrolled for only one year, 21.6% for two years, 9% for three years, 4.4% for four years and 2.1% for five. See Piasere, Popoli, Op. cit., p. 204.

142 Ibid., p.206.

143 See Save the Children, “Denied a Future? The Right to Education of Roma, Gypsy and Traveller Children”, First Draft, March 2000, p.103.

144 Ibid., p.103.

145 In its Concluding observations concerning Italy, the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child expressed concern “that sufficient measures had not been taken to assess and provide for the needs of children from vulnerable and disadvantaged groups, such as […] children of foreign and Roma origin.” Among its suggestions and recommendations, the Committee stated that “[f]urther measures should […] be taken to prevent a rise in discriminatory attitudes and prejudices towards particularly vulnerable children such as […] Roma children and foreign children. The Government should consider adopting a more active stand and coherent policy with respect to the treatment of these children and to create an environment favourable to their fullest integration into Italian society.” (United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, “Concluding observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child: Italy”, CRC/C/15/Add.41, 27 November, 1995, paras. 11 and 17).

146 European Roma Rights Center interview with Simona Mattera, ex-elementary school teacher in the City of Rome public school district, March 23, 2000.

147 Piasere, Popoli, Op cit., pp.186-187.

148 Recent proposals by Rome City Council Member Mr Amadeo Piva and City Advisor for Nomad Affairs Dr Luigi Lusi envision that more hard tactics are what is needed to bring Roma into the school system. Dr Lusi told Ms Kate Carlisle, local monitor for the ERRC: “Parents will have to sign a form promising to send their children to school. If the children are found truant, then the Gypsies will be sent away.” (See Dr Luigi Lusi, interviewed by European Roma Rights Center local monitor Kate Carlisle, March 8, 2000, Rome).

149 The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, at Article 23, provides for the right for all to work. Article 7 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights states that everyone has the right to work, including to “[...] just and favourable conditions of work [...]”. Paragraph 2 of Article 23 of the Universal Declaration states: “Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.” Article 23(3) states: “Everyone has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.” The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) elaborates these fundamental rights. At Article 6, the CESCR states: “The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the right to work, which includes the right of everyone to the opportunity to gain his living by work which he freely chooses or accepts, and will take appropriate steps to safeguard this right. The steps to be taken by a State Party to the present Covenant to achieve the full realization of this right shall include technical and vocational guidance and training programmes, policies and techniques to achieve steady economic, social and cultural development and full and productive employment under conditions safeguarding fundamental political and economic freedoms to the individual.” Article 2(2) of the CESCR provides: “The States Parties to the present Covenant undertake to guarantee that the rights enunciated in the present Covenant will be exercised without discrimination of any kind as to race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.”

150 European Roma Rights Center interview with Mr E.B., January 23, 1999, Eboli-Battibaglia.

151 European Roma Rights Center interviews, January 25, 1999, Crotone.

152 European Roma Rights Center interviews, January 23, 1999, Cosenza.

153 European Roma Rights Center interview with Mr M.M., January 29, 1999, Mestre.

154 European Roma Rights Center interview with Mr A.M., January 23, 1999, Roppoli, Cosenza.

155 European Roma Rights Center interview with Mr R.P., January 23, 1999, Roppoli, Cosenza.

156 Council of Europe, European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI), “Legal Measures to combat racism and intolerance in the member States of the Council of Europe” (1998), p. 261.

157 Ibid., p.263.

158 Legislative Decree No. 286 (“Testo unico delle disposizioni concenenti la disciplina dell’immigrazione e norme sulla condizione dello straniero”), formerly Law No. 40 of 6 March, 1998. See Arts. 43 and 44.

159 The law does not authorise the imposition of criminal penalties in the event of a finding of unlawful discrimination.

160 While Article 1 of “Progetto di legge” No. 169, the initial proposal, submitted by Deputies Corleone, Boato and Ruffino, made explicit reference to the linguistic and cultural rights of the Romani minority, the version voted on by the Chamber on June 17, 1998, and transmitted to the Senate on June 18, 1998 (“Disegno di Legge” No. 3366), deleted any reference to Roma. The law in its adopted form states, at Article 2, “[...] the Republic protects the language and culture of Albanians, Catalans, Germans, Greeks, Slovenes and Croatians, and of those who speak French, Franco-Provincial, Friulian, Occitanian and Sardinian.” There is currently no law in Italy which expressly protects the linguistic and cultural rights of the Roma minority. As of August 1, 2000, Italy had not ratified the Council of Europe’s European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages.

161 See United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, “Reports submitted by States Parties under Article 9 of the Convention, Eleventh periodic reports of States parties due in 1997, Addendum, Italy”, CERD/C/317/Add. 1, 20 July, 1998, para. 26.

162 See Council of Europe, European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI), “ECRI’s country-by-country approach: Volume III” (15 June, 1998), p.33.

163 Legislative Decree No. 286 (“Testo unico delle disposizioni concenenti la disciplina dell’immigrazione e norme sulla condizione dello straniero”), formerly Law No. 40 of 6 March, 1998. Some who successfully sought to delete from the bill voting rights for legal non-citizens suggested that such a provision would contravene the Italian Constitution, which grants the right to vote to Italian citizens only. See Constitution, Article 48(1) (“All private citizens, male or female, who are of age, are entitled to vote”). However, this did not prevent Parliament from including in the final version of the adopted legislation a grant of voting rights to non-Italian EU citizens.

164 The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) noted in its most recent report on Italy, that, “[d]espite [a] relatively well-developed legal framework, Italy seems to face some problems with implementation of legislation in force, and ECRI feels that it is precisely this aspect of implementation which should be examined.” (ECRI, “ECRI’s country-by-country approach”, Op. cit., p.34).

165 ECRI, “Legal Measures” Op cit., p.263.

166 See for example ECRI, “ECRI’s country-by-country approach” Op. cit., p. 34 (“there appears to be no case-law” concerning the anti-discrimination provisions of the labor law, Section 15(2) of Act No. 300 of 1970 (“Workers’ Statute”)).

167 United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, Summary record of the 1075th meeting: Italy”, CERD/C/SR.1075, 6 March, 1995, para. 20.

168 United Nations Human Rights Committee, “Summary record of the 1680th meeting: Italy”, CCPR/C/SR.1680, 24 September, 1998, para. 70. In its Concluding Observations concerning Italy, the Human Rights Committee expressed concern “at the increase of incidents of racial intolerance,” and recommended that “all measures by way, for example, of legal constraint and education be continued to eradicate this phenomenon.” (United Nations Human Rights Committee, “Concluding Observations of the Human Rights Committee: Italy”, CCPR/C/79/Add.94, 18 August, 1998, para. 18).

* This article first appeared in Business Week on June 19, 2000.


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