Annual Report: Italy 2013

Report
May 23, 2013

Annual Report: Italy 2013

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Republic of Italy

Head of state Giorgio Napolitano

Head of government Mario Monti

Roma continued to be discriminated against, ethnically segregated in camps, forcibly evicted and left homeless. The authorities regularly failed to protect the rights of refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants. Attempts to introduce the crime of torture and establish an independent national human rights institution failed again. No systemic measures were taken to prevent human rights violations by police and ensure accountability. Violence against women, including killings, remained widespread.

Discrimination

Roma

The government failed to address adequately the ongoing human rights violations of Roma, especially in access to adequate housing. Several hundred Roma were forcibly evicted with many being left homeless. Authorized or “tolerated” camps continued to be closed without adequate legal safeguards and procedures. The authorities failed to improve the very poor living conditions in most authorized camps. Conditions in informal camps were even harsher, with little access to water, sanitation and energy. Local authorities continued to exclude many Roma from social housing, preferring instead to perpetuate policies of ethnic segregation of Roma in camps.

The National Strategy for the Inclusion of Roma presented in February remained largely unimplemented. The UN CERD Committee in March and the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights in September reiterated their criticisms of the authorities' failures to ensure the rights of Roma. The government failed to provide reparations to Roma whose rights were violated during the state of emergency declared in 2008 in relation to “nomad” settlements in five Italian regions, which remained in force until November 2011, when it was declared unlawful by the Council of State. Instead, the government appealed against the Council of State ruling in February, alleging that the court went beyond its powers of scrutiny. The case was pending before Italy's Supreme Court at the end of the year. In May, the Council of State declared that – pending the Court's decision – certain activities initiated during the emergency could be completed.

  • The Rome authorities continued to implement their “Nomad Plan”, which resulted in several forced evictions of informal, “tolerated” and authorized camps and the resettlement of many Roma in segregated authorized camps. The residents of Tor de' Cenci camp were forcibly evicted in two operations on 25 July and 28 September, without adequate prior consultation and despite the opposition of NGOs, the Catholic Church and the national government. In June, the municipal authorities opened a new segregated camp in an isolated location at La Barbuta, near Ciampino airport. NGOs started legal proceedings in March before Rome's civil tribunal, to have the housing of Roma at La Barbuta ruled as discriminatory. About 200 residents from Tor de' Cenci camp were transferred to La Barbuta.
  • Racist threats, intimidation and incitement to violence against Roma took place in May in the town of Pescara, following the killing of a football supporter reportedly by a Romani man. Romani families reported being afraid to go out and take children to school. Soon after the beginning of the unrest, the Mayor of Pescara made discriminatory remarks against Roma, mentioning the need to review their access to social housing.

Rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual , transgender and intersex people

The Supreme Court confirmed that same-sex couples had a right to family life including, in certain circumstances, to treatment consistent with that of married opposite-sex couples. However, it also ruled that a marriage contracted abroad by same-sex couples had no standing in the Italian legal system.

Refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants

Many refugees and asylum-seekers, including minors, continued to face economic hardship and destitution, prompting some courts in EU countries to halt their returns to Italy under the Dublin Regulation. The authorities frequently failed to address their needs and protect their rights.