Italian Red Cross collaborates in ethnic profiling of Roma in Italy

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Massimo Barra, the head of the Italian Red Cross, insisted that the aim was to integrate Roma people into Italian society. If children were fingerprinted, it would be done "as a game", he said. Mr Barra said the Red Cross "always respects human rights. We are building bridges, not walls."

Who is he trying to kid. The Red Cross, now why should we not be surprised, helping yet another fascist regime.

Europe should but condemn in the strongest possible terms the involvement of the Italian Red Cross in assisting the Italian Government in the ethnic registration and profiling of Roma in Italy, as I do here and I am sure as will many of our readers. However, it is not going to make one iota of a difference to this. All I am seeing, I am afraid to say, is that my predictions and fears are becoming reality.

But then, as I indicated above, why precisely should that surprise us; the involvement of the Red Cross in this. Were they not culpable enough in the Third Reich. They indeed were.

Members of European Civil Society should condemn this action of the Italian Red Cross in the strongest possible terms and apply pressure on the ICRC, the International Committee of the Red Cross to demand that their Italian division withdraw from this involvement.

Not that this is going to happen but.. the inaction shows where they all really stand. As far as we, the Romani, the Gypsy, of Europe, and the world, are concerned, civil society and all its bodies always will stand against us.

The registration of minorities is contrary to European Data and Minority Protection legislation in Italy, and yesterday, the European Parliament itself passed a Resolution against the fingerprinting of Roma in Italy. The only problem with this resolution is that it is about as binding as a raft tied together with rotten ropes which will dissolve in the water.

The announcement that the Red Cross will assist the Italian police in the registration and fingerprinting of Roma in Rome, Naples and Milan was made by Massimo Barra, Head of the Italian Red Cross, in an interview published in The Times on July 5. This was confirmed in a statement by the Italian Minister of the Interior, Mr. Roberto Maroni, published in the S├╝dtiroler Zeitung on July 10, that the government of Silvio Berlusconi is proud of the participation of the Red Cross in the ethnic registration and fingerprinting of Roma.

The fact of the Italian Red Cross assisting a neo-fascistic government in singling out the Romani-Gypsy, for it will not just remain with the Roma – the Sinti of Italy, I am sure, will be the next targets – for registration and profiling is chillingly reminiscent of Red Cross collaboration with the Hitler's Black Legions during WWII in the registration, deportations and destruction of Gypsy life.

The most chilling factor of this, undoubtedly, is that today these actions are being validated by the self-same arguments as those of Nazi Germany, namely that Sinti and Roma, that Romani-Gypsy People, need to be controlled as a measure of “crime-prevention”.

© M Smith (Veshengro), July 2008