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October 22, 2018
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Italian court orders withdrawal of textbook promoting anti-Romani prejudice

13.3.2015 20:53, (ROMEA)
A Romani camp in Italy (PHOTO:  Amnesty International)
A Romani camp in Italy (PHOTO: Amnesty International)

A court in Rome has found the publisher of a textbook for law students guilty of promoting prejudices against Romani people. Two separate initiatives promoting the rights of Romani people and a female Italian citizen of Romani origin have drawn attention to the case.

The British daily The Guardian reports that the textbook defined "goods of suspect origin" as those sold by “panhandlers, Gypsies and well-known persons with a criminal record”. The court agreed with the claim that the example was discriminatory and supports the prejudice that Romani people are thieves.

The publisher must remove the textbook from the market and pay EUR 1 000 to the Romani woman who said it insulted her personal dignity. Prejudices against Romani people are very widespread in Italy and turn up in the media there as well.

An example is the recent remark made by the Italian right-wing MEP Gianluca Buonanno, who said in a debate with a pro-Romani activist on a popular television talk show that Romani people are the "dregs" of society who use children as thieves. More than 100 000 Romani people live in Italy, roughly 8 000 of whom live in poor conditions on the outskirts of Rome in permitted camps that are comparable to ghettos.

The Guardian reports that, according to the Associazione 21 Luglio human rights organization, Italy is the only country in Europe that has created official camps for Romani people. The organization says these camps have become ghettos of segregation preventing Romani people from becoming integrated into society.

min, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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