With an emergency decree Italy authorizes racism, spying and ethnic persecution

With an emergency decree Italy authorizes racism, spying and ethnic persecution

by EveryOne Group

Rome, February 9th, 2009: The Italian institutions have approved with an emergency decree the presence of anti-Roma and anti-foreigner patrols, the filing of the homeless and ghetto-camps. The “security package” encourages doctors to report “illegal” immigrants. In the meantime ten Tunisian refugees awaiting deportation have attempted suicide on Lampedusa. EveryOne Group: “The “Padane” patrols are the equivalent of the Blackshirts whose aim is racial persecution. Extreme Right ideology prompted by racial hatred triumphs, while we are amazed at the insubstantiality of the protests coming from the democratic parties against such injustice. It is no longer a matter of politics, it is endless horror that mainly affects women, children and the most vulnerable. Urgent and determined intervention from the international institutions has now become necessary”.

Racist and xenophobic actions and policies have established themselves in Italy at all levels, and it is to be pointed out that the Italian institutions are now ignoring all the international laws against discrimination and in defence of human rights when issuing laws and decrees. On Friday 6th February, 2009 the Italian Senate approved the new emergency decree known as the “security package”. We are talking about a series of discriminatory and persecutory measures that will affect the Roma people, immigrants and the homeless. After the protests last year from all over the world against the ethnic filing of the Roma put forward by Minister Maroni, (a member of the anti-immigration Northern League Party) the same measure has returned again in a different form. The security package foresees, in fact, the filing of all citizens without a fixed address, with details of their ethnic group. The records of the homeless will be kept at the Interior Ministry and according to reliable sources it will also foresee the taking of fingerprints and maybe even the person’s DNA. We must remember that during the years of the racist laws, the Nazi party set up a register of “asocial” citizens, including the “gypsies” and the homeless.

What is more, the security package also authorizes the presence of “Padane” patrols. Like the Arrowed Cross in Hungary, the Brownshirts in Germany and the Blackshirts in Italy, we are talking about voluntary militia legally authorized to work alongside the police force in the operations of hunting out and reporting people who are considered a security problem. Even before they were authorized, the Padana patrols were the protagonists of violent actions against the Roma people and immigrants, including the arson attack on the Roma settlement in Opera (Milan) in2007. Between November 2005 and June 2007 the so-called “Black Panda Gang” made up of private citizens and members of the police force, were guilty of many cases of beatings, violence and kidnapping carried out against illegal immigrants. Many of those violent police officers are still on duty, others have been sentenced. Many cases of ill-treatment have been reported in Monza, Lecco, Varese and in other cities in northern Italy: cases of torture, rape and the stealing from young Roma of money obtained from begging. Two “patrols” who carry out these crimes are known as the “Company of Death” (who wear green shirts) and the “Barboso Gang” (who according to the victims wear police uniforms). Officially founded in 1990, the Padane patrols follow the philosophy contained in the slogan coined by the Leghista Mario Borghezio: “Sticks against immigration”. Three years later Gianfranco Miglio, the ideologist of the Northern League and supporter of the anti-immigrant patrols, stated that “Lynching is the highest form of justice”.The associations defending the rights of the Roma people and immigrants have received dozens of reports of abuse carried out by these patrols. Often these patrols are copied by groups of racists – such as GAPE in Tuscany – who have been the protagonists of attacks in which Roma citizens have died a terrible death: we remember the fire of Livorno in which four young children perished.Since the emergency decree was approved, parties and racist groups have started to recruit members. There is a real danger that the 176,000 Italian racists active with violent slogans and statements against the Roma people on Facebook – only a part of the Italian xenophobic and Neo-Nazi movement – will join the patrols in order to carry out these “authorized” ethnic purges.Before the accusations of the victims, the militia will be covered by the institutions, and their testimonies will be considered on the same level as those of “public officials”. The decree has also cancelled out the law that says doctors do not have to report the immigrants who turn to them for health treatment, and it asks hospitals and clinics to report “illegal” immigrants - in violation of the Hippocratic Oath. The renewal of the foreigners’ residence permit will now cost up to 200 euros: an exorbitant sum that will hit already discriminated against immigrants, people who are often already reduced to slavery by the power Italian law grants their employers. While the Senate was approving the racist package, in Lampedusa a group of Tunisian refugees faced with deportation attempted suicide by hanging themselves with their own clothes. As for the running of the Roma settlements, Milan has officialized the new “security package” which transforms every camp into an authentic “closed” ghetto with 24-hour police surveillance, and where Roma citizens are deprived of any rights. Deputy mayor, De Corato, after confirming with satisfaction the responsibility of the Milanese authorities in the humanitarian tragedy of the “clearance of over 100 camps, some of which of large dimensions” has announced for 2009 “the demolition of squatter buildings and settlements in private areas” and “more rigid regulations” against the Roma community. We must emphasise that in the city of Milan alone, there have been hundreds of episodes of violence against women from the Roma ethnic group. They have often been thrown out onto the street on their own (or with small children) following camp clearances while their men, who could have protected them, were taken off to police HQ to have their documents checked. “We are asking the EU and UN institutions, the democratic nations and the human rights organizations to join us in our campaign against the persecution of the Roma people and immigrants in Italy”, say the worried leaders of EveryOne Group, Roberto Malini, Matteo Pegoraro and Dario Picciau. “After the ethnic purge that wiped out or forced the majority of Roma to flee Italy, after the countless violations of human rights and tragic violence, Italy is now taking the European Union back to the times of the Brownshirts, the ghettoes and collaborationism. It has become necessary to take up a position of responsibility and intervene with determination to prevent these intolerant and uncivil measures being spread in the form of ideologies and “infecting” other Members States. The recent past has taught us that resolutions and warnings have had no effect, while the directives have been constantly sidestepped or ignored, and gone unpunished. Inertia is dangerous, and the presence of racist and xenophobic leaders in the European Parliament itself (even on the Civil Liberties Committee), and the re-emergence of intolerant and anti-Semitic ideologies, is symptomatic of a phenomenon that causes anguish and offers, instead of a Europe of human rights, the most sinister of ghosts”.

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