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September 16, 2019
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Italian police forcibly evict yet another Roma camp

31.3.2018 13:40
Thirteen-year-old Alex and his family were among 1 300 Romani people who were evicted from the Gianturco camp in June 2017. (PHOTO: www.errc.org, Alex Sturrock)
Thirteen-year-old Alex and his family were among 1 300 Romani people who were evicted from the Gianturco camp in June 2017. (PHOTO: www.errc.org, Alex Sturrock)

According to Italian news site La Stampa, Italian police in Beinasco demolished a Roma camp on 7 March, forcing five families to leave their homes. Almost all the camp’s inhabitants had already left the location in recent days, complying with an ordinance issued on 20 December 2017 by the municipality. One elderly woman remained in her home, only to be driven out by bulldozers.

Local authorities had agreed to postpone the destruction of the camp until 5 March, due to harsh weather conditions. On 4 March the Carabinieri, Italy’s military police force, told the inhabitants of the camp that if they did not leave, upon return the police would take the children of the families and place them in social services. Gianluca Vitale, a lawyer negotiating with the authorities in Beinasco, told the European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC) that most of the inhabitants left by the end of the next day.

Maurizio Piazza, the Mayor of Beinasco, campaigned for his position in 2010 and was re-elected in 2014 by promising to destroy the camp, allegedly for security reasons.  According to Piazza, “people in the [camp] have not taken the opportunity to integrate in the best way.  It is a disappointment, but the continued failure to comply with the regulations left us no choice.”

The Roma camp in Beinasco, also known as Borgaretto, was created in 2008 following the forced eviction of another area legally owned by the Roma community in order to build a public road.

The families evicted, including 12 children and adult individuals with medical issues, are now living on the streets around Turin. According to the ERRC, only one child has been able to continue to attend school and is living with his family in a caravan.

On 7 April 2017 Italian authorities illegally demolished another Roma camp, Gianturco, near Naples. The demolition occurred on the eve of International Roma Day, four days before the scheduled eviction on 11 April 2017. That illegal, pre-emptive demolition was organized to forestall attempts by Italian NGOs to prevent the mass eviction of Italian Roma camps. According to Amnesty International, Gianturco was home to up to 1 300 Roma.

Following the eviction on 7 April 2017, the European Commission assured civil society that it was “monitoring the situation concerning Roma housing in Italy and is in contact with the Italian authorities on this matter.” No action has been taken by the European Union to hold Italy accountable yet.

Dorothy Carlos
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Amnesty International, antigypsyism, Civil society, Discrimination, ERRC, EU, European Commission, Housing, human rights, Italy



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