Anti-Gypsyism in Italy

Brussels, Tuesday, 08 November 2007

European Roma Information Office (ERIO)

Xenophobic hysteria fueled by irresponsible politicians endangers the very values of open society. Collective reprisals not acceptable in a modern democracy.

The emergency decree adopted last week by the Italian government facilitates expulsion of (Romanians, Roma) aliens without sufficient procedural guarantees. We are concerned that the application of the decree is violating European and international human rights standards and urge the Italian government to revoke the emergency decree.

We are deeply concerned with the xenophobic campaign currently developing in Italy targeting Romanians – and in particular Romanian Roma -and call on the Italian government to act in accordance with its obligations under European and international law.

We condemn those politicians and media outlets that have had a role in fuelling the unprecedented outburst of xenophobic and racist hatred. We caution those of dangers posed by collectively blaming entire communities of people for the crimes perpetrated by some individuals.

As regards the decree adopted by the Italian government we expect no less then full compliance with European and international human rights law. We call on the Italian authorities to show restraint in the application of the decree and avoid practices such as racial profiling and collective reprisals during its implementation.

By singling out Romanian citizens – including Roma - for expulsion, Italian politicians, through their declarations, confirm suspicions about the racist and xenophobic nature of the expulsions campaign initiated by the Italian government. We are appalled by the intolerant nature of such declarations, which do not fit the values of a European Union.

We strongly believe that the so-called “security measures” and “expulsions” are not the answer to the problems the Roma community in Italy faces and that social inclusion and anti discrimination policies are the only viable way for curbing poverty and exclusion.

We would like to remind the European Commission and Council, of our common letter, proposing the development of a Community Framework Strategy for Roma Inclusion.

We herby urge the Italian Government to revoke the decree until sufficient procedural guarantees are made available.

We urge the Italian authorities to remedy any acts of discrimination, particularly in the application of criminal law, acts of collective or arbitrary individual expulsion and eviction from housing.

We urge high-ranking politicians to speak out against the current anti-Romani and anti-Romanian mood developing in Italy.


The European Roma Information Office (ERIO) is an international advocacy organization, which promotes political and public discussion on Roma issues by providing factual and in-dept information on a range of policy issues to the European Union institutions, Roma civil organizations, governmental authorities and intergovernmental bodies.

The ERIO cooperates with a network of a large number of organizations and acts to combat racial discrimination and social exclusion through awareness raising, lobbying and policy development.

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