Italy’s housing policies are just another example of the discrimination that Roma people suffer across the EU, with their rights to adequate housing, education and sanitation often being shamefully compromised. It is appalling that, even in the area of social housing allocation, Roma are treated like second class citizens
New Amnesty International report on Roma discrimination in Italy
(Brussels, 30 October 2013) A two-track assisted housing system in Italy’s capital is condemning thousands of Roma to live in segregated, sub-standard accommodation in camps on the outskirts of Rome, Amnesty International has found.
The organisation’s new report Double Standards: Italy’s housing policies discriminate against Roma unmasks how Rome’s social housing system denies access to Roma people. It addresses the failure of the national government to ensure equal access to adequate housing for all, in breach of international human rights law and EU anti-discrimination legislation.
“Italy’s housing policies are just another example of the discrimination that Roma people suffer across the EU, with their rights to adequate housing, education and sanitation often being shamefully compromised”, said Nicolas Beger, Director of Amnesty International’s European Institutions Office. “It is appalling that, even in the area of social housing allocation, Roma are treated like second class citizens”.
In a meeting with Amnesty International on Monday, the new administration of Rome indicated a willingness to repeal the discriminatory instruction preventing Roma in camps from accessing social housing. This would be an important step in the right direction. The municipality of Rome must follow this up with concrete plans to mitigate the segregation and poor living conditions of those in camps in the short term and develop longer term plans to end the parallel housing system condemning thousands of Roma to a life in camps. Further, the Italian government must review housing legislation and practices and remove any obstacles that discriminate against Roma in access to housing.
The organisation repeats its call urging the European Commission to open infringement procedures against Italy and other member states where Roma are systematically discriminated against.
“It is crucial that member states comply with the EU’s Race Equality Directive to ensure that Roma communities can enjoy the same rights as anyone else. The European Commission must take its role seriously and use all the tools available to prevent this ongoing violation of fundamental rights”, added Beger.
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