Rome

Italy only EU country to place ethnic Roma in 'State camps'

Rights watchdog ERRC says country 'systematically segregates'

Italy only EU country to place ethnic Roma in 'State camps'

Rome, May 21 - The human rights watchdog European Roma Rights Center (ERRC) said in an article published in the Financial Times on Tuesday that Italy is the only European country where the State "systematically practices, organizes and sponsors segregated camps" for ethnic Roma. "Segregated settlements...constructed and authorised by the authorities are supposed to ensure that camps are built in areas beneficial to the Romani community. In practice, these camps are often isolated and segregated, making it extremely difficult for Roma to access their basic rights to education, employment and healthcare," the ERRC wrote. Camps authorised by the authorities and located on the periphery of cities and towns are home to around one third of the Roma living in Italy, the ERRC said. According to the organization, the number of camps in the capital have grown under Rome Mayor Gianni Alemmano's administration. "Authorities have spent 62 million euros since 2009 on camps, 13 of which were supposed to be completed by 2011, but today there are only eight (organized villages)," human rights association 21 Luglio President Carlo Stasolla said.

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