Annual Report 2013
The state of the world's human rights

2 May 2013

Italy: Supreme Court strikes down the ‘Nomad emergency’ for good

Italy: Supreme Court strikes down the ‘Nomad emergency’ for good
A boy watches an excavator destroy homes during the Casilino 900 forced eviction under Italy's "Nomad emergency" in 2009.

A boy watches an excavator destroy homes during the Casilino 900 forced eviction under Italy's "Nomad emergency" in 2009.

© Christian Minelli


“The Nomad emergency ushered in an all-time low in Italy’s discriminatory treatment of Roma. We are delighted that the country’s highest court has finally upheld the rights of Romani people
Source: 
Jezerca Tigani, Deputy Europe and Central Asia Programme Director at Amnesty International

Italy’s Supreme Court today declared the so-called “Nomad emergency” unlawful and unfounded, a move Amnesty International has hailed as a key victory in the struggle to end discrimination against Roma communities around the country.

The Court’s decision upheld a November 2011 ruling against the state of emergency declared by the government in May 2008, which has led to widespread human rights violations and increased discrimination against Romani people. 

Roma were targeted in an unlawful census based on ethnicity and deprived of safeguards against forced evictions, which resulted in thousands being made homeless in several Italian cities. They were also increasingly segregated in camps set up by the authorities.

“The Nomad emergency ushered in an all-time low in Italy’s discriminatory treatment of Roma. We are delighted that the country’s highest court has finally upheld the rights of Romani people,” said Jezerca Tigani, Deputy Europe and Central Asia Programme Director at Amnesty International.

In February 2012 the Italian government appealed against the November 2011 Council of State ruling, while also continuing practices which violated Roma’s rights. The Supreme Court’s latest decision brings this legal challenge to an end.

Amnesty International urges Italy’s authorities to prioritize the respect and fulfilment of human rights for Romani communities.

“The new Italian government must act on this decision and end forced evictions, segregation in camps and exclusion from social housing,” added Jezerca Tigani.

The organization also calls on the authorities to provide effective remedies for all the negative effects that followed the implementation of the “Nomad emergency”.

Background

On 21 May 2008, the Italian government used law 225/1992 to declare a state of emergency in relation to the settlements of “nomad” communities in Lombardy, Campania and Lazio and later extended it to Piedmont and Veneto.

The Council of Ministers claimed that the state of emergency was declared to address a “situation of grave social alarm, with possible repercussions for the local population in terms of public order and security”. Special powers were conferred on delegated commissioners to solve the emergency, including by derogating from ordinary laws.

Issue

Demand Dignity 
Discrimination 
Economic, Social and Cultural Rights 
Roma Rights 

Country

Italy 

Region

Europe And Central Asia 

Campaigns

Demand Dignity 

@amnestyonline on twitter

News

16 October 2014

Repressive and discriminatory legislation enacted over the last 18 months in Uganda has led to increasing state repression, violence and homophobic and gender-based... Read more »

17 October 2014

Prisoner of conscience and torture victim Ángel Amílcar Colón Quevedo has been released from prison after five years in pre-trial detention, in a move that is welcome but... Read more »

20 October 2014

A politically motivated ban imposed on a Pakistani TV channel critical of the government constitutes a violation of the right to freedom of expression, said Amnesty... Read more »

20 October 2014

An Amnesty International investigation into allegations of execution-style and other deliberate killings by pro-Russian separatists and pro-Kyiv forces has found evidence... Read more »

17 October 2014

Testimonies gathered by Amnesty International indicate that Egyptian security forces used excessive force to crack down on recent student demonstrations at Alexandria... Read more »