Milan

Census of Roma people coming up - Salvini (5)

'Unfortunately, you have to keep the Italian Roma at home' - min

Census of Roma people coming up - Salvini (5)

Milan, June 18 - Interior Minister Matteo Salvini said Monday that the government intends to hold a special sort of 'census' of Roma people in Italy. The new League/5-Star Movement (M5S) executive has said it wants to close all illegal Roma camps in Italy. "I'm having them prepare a dossier on the Roma question in Italy at the ministry because after (former Minister Roberto) Maroni, nothing has been done and it's chaos," Salvini told TeleLombardia. "(There will be) reconnaissance on the Roma people in Italy to see who, how, how many, re-doing what was called the census. "We'll have a register". The minister said that Roma people who do not have the legal right to be in Italy will be deported via an agreement between States, adding that "unfortunately, you have to keep the Italian Roma at home". The president of an association that defends the rights of the nation's Roma and Sinti communities said Salvini's plan is illegal. "The interior minister does not seem to know that a census on the basis of ethnicity is not permitted by the law," said Carlo Stasolla, president of the Associazione 21 Luglio. "Besides data and figures about who lives in the formal and informal settlements already exist and the few undocumented Roma are effectively stateless, and therefore cannot be expelled. "We also recall that Italian Roma have been present in our country for at least half a century and sometimes they are 'more Italian' than many of our fellow citizens". Caretaker Democratic Party (PD) leader Maurizio Martina described Salvini's proposal as "abhorrent". "It is the latest act in an escalation of dangerous, unacceptable messages," Martina told ANSA. "I think he should stop because it is not possible for a great European country like Italy to go through provocations every day that do not resolve any problems but feed a spiral of propaganda that is very dangerous". Ex-premier and PD bigwig Paolo Gentiloni also expressed concern about Salvini, who has spearheaded the League-5-Star Movement government's tough stance on migrants. "Yesterday the refugees, today the Roma, tomorrow guns for all," Gentiloni said via Twitter. Matteo Orfini, the president of the centre-left party, proposed that: "if we really want to have a census, I'd start with racists and fascists". Salvini also said Monday that he will meet Pope Francis shortly. "I'll probably have the honour of meeting him this week," said Salvini, who is also deputy premier in the new Italian government and leader of the League party. "It's a reason for joy". Earlier this month Salvini denied permission for the Aquarius NGO-run migrant-rescue ship with over 600 people aboard to dock at an Italian port. The Aquarius arrived in Valencia on Sunday escorted by two Italian ships. The pope has repeatedly called for asylum seekers to be welcomed with open arms. "The pope rightly speaks to the soul, he speaks of the supreme good of everyone," Salvini said. "Those of us who are smaller guarantee rights to refugees, but we say there isn't room for those who aren't escaping war". Salvini said at the weekend that "we are no longer the doormats of Europe" on migrants after the Aquarius case. He also said that Spain should take in "another 66,000" migrants. "Finally the Germans, the French, the Belgians, the Dutch and even the Spanish are listening to us," said Salvini, who is also deputy premier and leader of the League party. The minister said he would seek to increase deportations of migrants whose asylum requests are rejected and work on a plan for Africa featuring development interventions to reduce migrant flows.

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