EU: Condemn discrimination against Roma in Italy’s new security package

EU: Condemn discrimination against Roma in Italy’s new security package

(Brussels, 15 May 2009) The EU should urgently take steps to ensure that Italy’s new ‘security package’ draft law does not discriminate against minorities living in Italy, in particular the Roma and Sinti communities, says Amnesty International.

In a letter addressed to the European Commission (available here) Amnesty International expressed its concern that certain provisions in the draft law may not be compatible with European law and could disproportionally affect Roma communities.

“The EU needs to condemn any discriminatory provision that not only violates EU law but puts the most vulnerable in society at risk” said Nicolas Beger, Director of Amnesty International’s EU Office. “Roma communities, homeless people and migrants could be prevented from accessing basic healthcare and education” he explained.

According to the new law, persons without a fixed abode would have to register at the Ministry of Interior and no longer in the municipality where they live. As residency in the territory of a municipality is a precondition for obtaining access to basic services, those who live in mobile homes or who are homeless risk being denied their economic and social rights and may be prevented from voting.

“The EU cannot disregard the creation of racially-based policies in any of its member states and must keep a close eye on the legislation process” said Beger. “The principle of non-discrimination as enshrined in international and European law must be respected” he added.

For further comment/background and interviews:

     Amnesty International EU Office (Brussels):
     Tel: 32-2-5021499
     Fax: 32-2-5025686
     Email: [email protected]