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Italy must change policies marginalizing Roma, says Amnesty

12/09/2012

Government is 'not upholding' international obligations

Italy must change policies marginalizing Roma, says Amnesty

(ANSA) - Rome, September 12 - Italy must urgently change "discriminatory laws, policies and practices that marginalize the country's Roma," said a report released by human rights watchdog Amnesty International on Wednesday. Italy's Roma (sometimes called Gypsies) are still segregated and without prospects for integration, according to the report On the Edge: Roma, Forced Evictions and Segregation in Italy. The Italian government is not "fulfilling its international obligations and commitments to the European Commission," said Amnesty Chair Italy Christine Weise. Though Premier Mario Monti's government does not use the "derogatory language" of their predecessors, when it comes to a transition from words to deeds, "no real difference can be detected", says the report. The majority of Roma in Italy live in state-funded or improvised camps and risk forced eviction without housing alternatives. "Roma in Italy remain trapped in bureaucratic hurdles ensuring they won't qualify for the scarce social housing," said Weise. "Regardless of promises to promote equal treatment and improve Roma's living conditions, included in the National Strategy for Roma Inclusion that the Italian government presented to the EU in February 2012, hundreds of Romani people in Rome and Milan have been forcibly evicted and left homeless this year," said the report.