Roma camps destroyed by city authorities in Turin and Rome

Groups protest 'violation of human rights'

Roma camps destroyed by city authorities in Turin and Rome

Turin, September 12 - Two operations to forcibly evict Romani inhabitants from camps in Turin and Rome were carried out on Thursday, human rights groups and city officials said. City-ordered operations to dismantle the via Salviati camp in Rome, where 35 Romani families live, began in the early hours and were carried out by 70 officers from three police units, human rights observers from the European Roma Rights Center, Amnesty International and the association 21 Luglio said. The 120 Roma, living in the Salviati camp since June, recently sent an appeal to Rome's mayor, Ignazio Marino, asking to be allowed to integrate with the rest of the city. "We do not want to live in a ghetto, we don't want to be in camps. We want to integrate," the letter read. A joint letter from the three monitoring organizations said that "the dismantling does not respect standard, guaranteed procedures and continues to repeat human rights violations of the city's (Rome) past administration". "Beyond being a serious violation of human rights, today's dismantling is a undeniable step back in regards to the European Union Framework for Roma Integration Strategies guaranteeing social inclusion of Roma and the elimination of the 'camp' model, to which Italy is a signatory," the note from the human rights groups said. Roma inhabitants from another camp on the outskirts of the Piedmont city of Turin were evicted by city authorities on Thursday. The Cascina Continassa area, inhabited by approximately 100 Roma for over 10 years, will make way for a new training camp for the city's Juventus soccer club that will be closer to the team's lucrative stadium. "The delivery of the area marks a critical step in the redevelopment of this part of the city area that has long been subject to strong degradation. It makes way for the start a major project to revitalize the area and achieve economic benefits," a communication from Turin city authorities said. The Cascina Continassa encampment was attacked and set on fire in December 2011 by a violent mob after a local Italian girl said she had been raped by a Romani man from the camp. The girl later admitted she had been lying and she had not been raped at all.

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