Head of government Silvio Berlusconi
Death penalty abolitionist for all crimes
Population 59.9 million
Life expectancy 81.1 years
Under-5 mortality (m/f) 5/3 per 1,000
Adult literacy 98.9 per cent
Unlawful forced evictions of Roma community continued throughout the year. Efforts by the authorities to control migration jeopardized the rights of migrants and asylum-seekers. Italy continued to deport people to places where they were at risk of human rights abuses. US and Italian agents were convicted for their part in the US-led programme of renditions (unlawful transfers of terrorist suspects between countries). Deaths in custody were reported and allegations of torture and other ill-treatment by law enforcement officials continued to be made.
Roma continued to be denied equal access to education, housing, health care and employment. The authorities introduced new legislation which could result in discriminatory activities.
Roma – forced evictions
Unlawful forced evictions of Roma drove them further into poverty. Both Roma with Italian citizenship and those of EU or another nationality suffered the adverse effects.
- On 31 March, Milan authorities forcibly evicted a community of about 150 Roma living under the Bacula overpass in the north of the city. Only four families, approximately 30 people, were provided with adequate alternative accommodation. The majority of Roma living in Bacula camp had been previously forcibly evicted from other camps in Milan in 2008.
- On 11 November, city authorities forcibly evicted a community of about 350 Romani people from Via Centocelle camp, in Rome. All the community's shelters were destroyed and the municipality offered short-term shelter to approximately 70 people. Members of the community were not notified of the eviction, contrary to domestic law, which states that authorities should notify each individual, or publish an order or notice. As the order was not formalized in this way, the community could not challenge it through the courts, and stop or postpone the eviction.
In August, new legislation (Law 94/2009), part of the so-called "security package", enabled local authorities to authorize associations of unarmed civilians not belonging to state or local police forces to patrol the territory of a municipality. In recent years there have been documented attacks by self-organized groups against Roma and migrants. The implementation of such provision may result in discrimination and vigilantism.
Migrants' and asylum-seekers' rights
In January, Italy was criticized by the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention for the way migrants and asylum-seekers, including minors, were routinely detained without any individual consideration of whether their detention was necessary, and frequently without any basis in domestic law. Asylum-seekers were prohibited from leaving the reception centres where they were detained until they received a formal confirmation of the submission of their asylum claim; completing registration formalities could take up to a month. Forced expulsions, without consideration of individual protection needs and circumstances, persisted.
New legislation adopted as part of the so-called "security package" (see above) established the criminal offence of "irregular migration". Criminal proceedings against asylum-seekers for entering the country illegally would only be suspended once a claim for international protection was lodged, and dismissed if international protection was granted.