Italy reported to the United Nations and to the International Criminal Court of the Hague for crimes against humanity.
Milan, January 23, 2008
In a matter of weeks (on February 20th) the Italian Government will have to appear before the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD). A result EveryOne Group - in collaboration with ERCC (European Roma Rights Centre), La Voix des Rroms, Sucar Drom, Osservazione and other international organizations who are fighting for the rights of the Rroma and Sinti people - obtained after the presentation of the international denunciation for crimes against humanity which accused the Italian central and local authorities of carrying out persecutory measures against the Rroma in Italy.
Yesterday our request was formally accepted, by the International Criminal Court of the Hague too, which has assured us, in a letter addressed to the leaders of EveryOne, the first signees of the document, that it will give the case its maximum attention when assessing it.
CERD will have to ascertain the violations of articles 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 of the “International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.” Italy, in fact, is accused of carrying out a series of measures, both on a national level and on a local level, aimed at hitting the Rrom and Sinti communities on Italian territory - from the 14 security packages to the emergency expulsion decree for EU citizens put forward by Giuliano Amato. The International Criminal Court of the Hague will evaluate the actions carried out by the Italian institutions against the Rroma to determine whether – and to what extent – any crimes against humanity were committed. In the document drawn up by EveryOne Group, which is being examined by the international committees for the protection of human rights, we read: The oppression of the gypsies is taking place in many forms: by denying them the right to be protected as an ethnic minority recognised by international conventions, and by denying them assistance and programmes of integration necessary for obtaining access to the world of labour and decent living conditions. Gypsies are also being persecuted in the only activities which – in the conditions of marginalization they are relegated to – would allow them to survive, such as begging and street peddling (thus pushing them to activities which, if they were a free choice, would be considered unlawful). There have been frequent press campaigns carried out with the aim of criminalizing gypsies [...]; The government has carried out camp clearances similar to pogroms that are razing their makeshift shelters to the ground and turning innocent families out into the street, families who are then forced to undertake tragic “death marches” towards nowhere. The authorities have failed to investigate racial attacks against individuals and Roma families, and has violated the laws that guarantee free movement of citizens of the Union in the territory of the Member States, [...] There has also been an attempt to censor and ignore the laws that protect the gypsies in Italy, among which the Resolution of the European Parliament of November 15th, 2007 regarding the application of Directive 2004/38/CE [...]
The document then analyses the security package passed on December 28th, 2007 – with particular reference to the unlawfulness of the law that foresees expulsion from the country for EU citizens who have no means of supporting themselves (in obvious contrast with the European Parliamentary Directive 2004/38/CE) - the lowering of the average life expectancy for a Rrom to 42, the unmotivated harshness of the authorities and police force during the camp clearances and expulsions. The document then quotes the Italian Constitution, the Universal Declaration for Human Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of peoples, the charters that protect the rights of ethnic minorities (among which the Copenhagen Convention of 1993) and the United Nations Resolutions (particularly the UN Resolution 1992/65, “Protection of the Sinti and Rroma peoples, art 1) and the European Parliament (Resolution 2005/2008/INI). EveryOne Group has detected in the racial and persecutory policies, in the ethnic cleansing and the deportations being carried out by the central and local authorities, evidence of crimes against humanity aggravated by premeditation and reiteration, in spite of the warnings received from the international authorities and the human rights organizations.
The report, which was also presented to the European Court of Human Rights, to the European Council and the European Commission, ends as follows: While condemning the oppression carried out by Italian institutions against the Roma and Sinti people, we point out that in law the definition of “crimes against humanity” covers criminal actions involving violence and abuse against people and ethnic groups, or crimes which can be perceived - for the general censure they arouse - as being perpetrated against humanity. On the basis of the already attested racial and persecutory measures being carried out by Italian institutions towards the gypsies, Gruppo EveryOne asks that those responsible for this persecution be called to testify in an international court for crimes against humanity.
Roberto Malini, Matteo Pegoraro and Dario Picciau, the leaders of EveryOne Group, flanked by important figures on an international level like George Scarlat, Saimir Mile, Marcel Courthiade, Santino Spinelli and many other important activists from EveryOne, hope that finally the Italian Government and local authorities will have to answer before an international court of justice for the discrimination and oppression that is still being carried out towards the Rroma and Sinti peoples. “If the international organizations of justice and protection of human rights act quickly,” say the leaders of EveryOne, “we will be able to prevent the wiping out of an ethnic group that has been present on Italian soil for centuries, the end of its traditions, its culture and its precious contribution to European social and cultural progress, which is as important as it is underestimated”.
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