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March 23, 2018
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Italy: Children and Pregnant Romani Women Left Homeless

15.6.2017 17:10
Thirteen-year-old Alex and his family were among 1,300 who were evicted from the Gianturco (PGHOTO:, Alex Sturrock)
Thirteen-year-old Alex and his family were among 1,300 who were evicted from the Gianturco (PGHOTO:, Alex Sturrock)

Unlawful demolitions of Romani property in Italy are rendering members of that community homeless, including newborns and pregnant women. Most recently Romani people were driven from the Germagnano informal settlement in Turin two weeks ago, according to the European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC), based in Budapest.

The ERRC is working with Amnesty International to push for “the European Commission to finally launch legal proceedings against Italy to prevent further forced evictions and segregation.” According to the ERRC, the latest report about Italy by the European Commission does not mention issues concerning  Romani people.

In one case, the demolition of Romani houses began when a nine-year old boy was still sleeping in one such dwelling. The ERRC reports that “Witnesses reported that he was saved only when his mother shouted at the bulldozer to stop.”

The incident at Germagnano mirrors a similar forced eviction of the Gianturco settlement that occurred on 7 April 2017. Many Roma throughout Italy fear leaving their communities because they may never be allowed to return to them.

Amnesty International’s public campaign wants Italian authorities to confer with Romani residents in excluded settlements and ghettos in order to create sustainable housing strategies. According to the British newspaper The Independent, Amnesty demands “plans that comply with international and regional human rights standards and are consistent with Italy’s National Strategy for Roma Inclusion."

"The call [for these plans] has already gathered nearly 15 000 appeals that have been sent to the local municipality and the Italian Interior Minister,” Amnesty reported. The ERRC also reported that “Two hundred and fifty forced evictions were carried out against Roma by Italian authorities in 2016 alone.”

Action to improve this situation is meeting with some difficulty, as an estimated 21 900 refugees from Libya arrived in Italy during the first quarter of 2017. In addition to the increasing number of refugees seeking asylum in Italy, The Independent reports that “Italy’s own citizens face hardship amid high unemployment, which currently sits at 11.1 per cent, and the highest public debt in the Eurozone after Greece – about 132 per cent of GDP.”

Djenne Dickens
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Roma, Italy, human rights, Homeless people, Housing


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Tomáš Bystrý: The Czech national anthem gives me chills

21.3.2018 9:11
The ARA ART organization is organizing celebrations of this year's International Romani Day in the Czech Republic and has chosen to focus on the theme of romipen (the Romani world view). Because identity is something that we are all engaged with, this year we will be interviewing people to ask how they perceive their own identity.
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Czech Philharmonic will continue collaboration with Romani musician Ida Kelarová

20.3.2018 16:03
Ida Kelarová, the choir director and jazz singer, tells the Czech News Agency in an interview that the recent recording of the Romani children's choir Čhavorenge is both the high point and just the beginning of the choir's further collaboration with the Czech Philharmonic, which was initiated through their joint summer arts school. "It can be considered that new opportunities will open up with this CD. We may even get invited abroad," she said.
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UN: Slovakia must act to eliminate racism against Roma

19.3.2018 11:15
In response to a submission made by the European Roma Rights Centre late last year of their concerns about pervasive racism in Slovakia, the UN has endorsed such concerns and has made recommendations to Slovakia as to how the country should progress towards being more accepting of the Roma, as well as of individuals who are Muslim or of African descent.
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