Jueves, 16 de mayo, 2024

Today’s unanimous decision by the Council of Europe’s European Committee of Social Rights that Italy seriously and systematically breached the European Social Charter with respect to the housing situation of Romani communities must herald a change in Italy’s discriminatory housing policies, Amnesty International said.  

“Today’s decision confirms what has long been known and repeatedly called out: that Roma communities in Italy have faced and continue to face widespread, systemic and long-standing discrimination and unequal treatment with regard to housing,” said Elisa De Pieri, Amnesty International’s Regional Researcher. 

This decision must finally draw a line under decades of discrimination

Elisa De Pieri. Amnesty International Europe Researcher

“Romani communities have been subjected to ethnically segregated living conditions in substandard homes, largely excluded from social housing and exposed to widespread forced evictions that left thousands homeless.” 

The European Committee of Social Rights’ decision was in response to a complaint filed by Amnesty International on 18 March 2019, which drew on more than a decade of research conducted by the organisation and partners into the housing situation of Roma, especially in the cities of Rome, Milan and Naples.

The Committee ruled that Italy was in breach of its obligations on all the counts raised, despite the limited and patchy progress the Italian government presented during the proceedings. It found that forced evictions remain a ’current practice’ which the government has admitted, and that Italy has failed to adopt a legal framework to ensure remedies when they occur. It also said ‘in practice segregation of Roma, Sinti and Caminanti communities continues to exist’.    

Italy will now be required to take steps not only to ensure adequate, non-segregated and non-discriminatory housing for Roma, but to also provide remedies enabling some form of long-awaited justice for those who have experienced discrimination and segregation. 

“Thousands of people from communities whose precarious living conditions Amnesty International have documented for more than a decade, continue to experience the types of violations raised in our complaint. This decision must finally draw a line under decades of discrimination,” said Elisa De Pieri.

“Authorities must also do all that is needed to tackle the deeper causes of anti-Roma racism and put, once and for all, an end to ongoing human rights violations against Roma.” 


Amnesty International’s complaint filed before the European Committee of Social Rights on 18 March 2019, documented forced evictions, the continued use of segregated camps featuring substandard housing and lack of equal access to social housing.  

The Committee, which is the monitoring body of the European Social Charter, a treaty guaranteeing fundamental social and economic rights, declared the complaint admissible. In so doing the Committee on its own initiative, took the rare step ordering the Italian authorities to take immediate measures to stop forced evictions. 

At the time Amnesty filed the complaint, around 26,000 Romani people lived in segregated and substandard settlements and centres in Italy. Currently, more than 15,000 Roma are still living in formal and informal settlements and continue to experience ethnically segregated and discriminatory living conditions in substandard homes. Informal settlements remain vulnerable to forced evictions, which have not been outlawed contrary to international law. 

During the last two decades Italy has found to be in breach of its human rights obligations with respect to the Roma community on numerous occasions by various UN, EU and Council of Europe human rights bodies.

Regularly updated information on the situation of Roma living in formal and informal settlements is available at Associazione 21 luglio Il Paese Dei Campi – Mappa 

See – https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/campaigns/2016/04/roma-on-the-margins-housing-rights-denied/ 

Full text of the complaint filed by Amnesty International and other related documentation on the situation of Roma housing is available here.