Annual Report: Italy 2011

May 28, 2011

Annual Report: Italy 2011

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  • In January, Rome local authorities started to implement the "Nomad Plan", following the declaration in 2008 by the central government of the "Nomad emergency", which authorizes prefects to derogate from a number of laws when dealing with people who are deemed to be "nomads". The Plan proposed the eviction of thousands of Roma and their partial resettlement into refurbished or new camps. Its implementation perpetuated a policy of segregation and resulted in poorer living conditions for many, due to delays in the building of new camps or in the adaptation of existing ones. Despite some improvements, the level of consultation by the authorities with the affected families remained inadequate.
  • In Milan, local authorities pursued forced evictions relentlessly and without a strategy in place to offer alternative accommodation to those affected. Some Romani families were assigned social housing pending their eviction. The allocation, initially withdrawn by local authorities due to political considerations, was confirmed by a court decision in December which also found the conduct of the authorities discriminatory. An appeal against it was pending at the end of the year.

Rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people

Violent homophobic attacks continued. Due to a gap in the law, victims of crimes motivated by discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity were not given the same protection as victims of crimes motivated by other sorts of discrimination.

Asylum-seekers' and migrants' rights

Asylum-seekers and migrants continued to be denied their rights, particularly regarding access to a fair and satisfactory asylum procedure. The authorities failed to adequately protect them from racially motivated violence and, by making unsubstantiated links between migrants and crime, some politicians and government representatives fostered a climate of intolerance and xenophobia.

UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, and NGOs continued to express concern that the agreements between Italy, Libya and other countries to control migration flows were leading to hundreds of asylum-seekers, including many children, being denied access to procedures to claim international protection. Asylum applications in Italy continued to fall dramatically.

  • In October, 68 people rescued at sea were forcibly returned to Egypt within 48 hours, allegedly without having been given the opportunity to apply for international protection. The 68 people were on a boat carrying 131 people that was intercepted by the Italian authorities near the coast of Sicily. The total number included 44 minors, and 19 people who were arrested for abetting illegal migration.

In January, two days of violent clashes between migrant workers, local residents and the police in the town of Rosarno led to over 1,000 migrants (most of whom had permits) fleeing or being removed from the area by law enforcement agencies. The clashes started after a migrant worker was injured by gunshots from a moving car, as he and others were walking home after working in the fields. In April, a judicial inquiry into the causes of the riots led to over 30 people - Italian and foreign nationals - being arrested for the exploitation and enslavement of the migrant workers employed in the agricultural sector in the area. The inquiry was still ongoing at the end of the year.

Counter-terror and security


In December, the 2009 convictions of 25 US and Italian officials involved in the abduction of Abu Omar from a Milan street in 2003 were upheld by the Milan Court of Appeal. The 23 convicted US officials were tried in their absence. The Court sentenced the accused to up to nine years' imprisonment. After his kidnapping, Abu Omar was unlawfully transferred by the CIA from Italy to Egypt where he was held in secret detention and allegedly tortured. The Court confirmed the dismissal of charges against five high-level officials of the Italian intelligence agency, based on reasons of state secrecy.

Guantánamo detainees