A girl holds up a sign reading "Welcome to Rome -sign the petition against the Nomad Plan" at an event in Tor de’ Cenci camp, Rome, Italy, July 2012. © Amnesty International
Forced evictions, segregation and discrimination; there really is no place like home for thousands of Roma living in camps in Italy.
Having to live in squalid camps with little or no access to water and electricity is a reality for many Roma. Instead of supporting the men, women and children to live in more decent conditions, Italian authorities are forcibly evicting them, often at such short notice that they are unable to collect their belongings. Families are often evicted without any offer of alternative accommodation, forcing them to build a new shack somewhere else or end up homeless.
Other times, Roma are moved into “official” camps in isolated areas. Segregated from everyone else, surrounded by fences and cameras, these families experience great difficulty accessing even basic services such as schools, shops and health care.
These are both forms of discrimination, and discrimination is prohibited by international law.
In February 2012, the Italian government submitted a national strategy to the EU Commission, pledging to stop segregation and promote the inclusion of Roma. Six months have passed and the authorities have failed to keep to their word.
As head of the government, Prime Minister Mario Monti is responsible for ensuring that the strategy is implemented. Call on Monti to remember the pledge his government made to respect the rights of Romani children, women and men.
It’s time we stand up and say no to forced evictions and segregation.