Immigration policy must be based on human rights principles and not only on perceived security concerns

Press release - 558(2008)

Italy: "Immigration policy must be based on human rights principles and not only on perceived security concerns", says Commissioner Hammarberg presenting a special report

Strasbourg, 29.07.2008 - "Concern about security cannot be the only basis for immigration policy. Measures now being taken in Italy lack human rights and humanitarian principles and may spur further xenopohobia,". With these words, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Thomas Hammarberg, published a report based on his special visit to Rome 19 and 20 June. The visit took place following a series of anti-Roma and anti-Sinti protests, which were occasionally very violent, and the rapid adoption or preparation of legislation, which notably aimed to introduce further controls of the freedom of movement of Roma and Sinti, the criminalisation of irregular immigration and additional restrictions on immigration.

The Commissioner voiced strong concern at the "security package" that appears to target Roma immigrants, and at the declaration of states of emergency in three Italian regions. "Roma and Sinti are in urgent need of effective protection of their human rights, including their social rights, such as the right to adequate housing and to education" he said. "Adopting the state of emergency and providing greater powers to the "Special Commissioners" and the police is not the right approach to deal with the needs of Roma and Sinti populations." In forwarding his Memorandum today, the Commissioner expressed his serious concern at the expected extension of the state of emergency to the whole territory.

Mr Hammarberg also criticised the decision to criminalise migrants' entry and irregular stay. He sees this as a worrying departure from established international law principles. "These measures may make it more difficult for refugees to ask for asylum and is likely to result in a further social stigmatisation and marginalisation of all migrants - including Roma," he said.

Commissioner Hammarberg also noted with grave concern that Italy had forcibly returned migrants to certain countries with proven records of torture. Referring in particular to the case of a Tunisian citizen expelled by order of the Minister of Interior, under the law on emergency measures to combat terrorism, Mr Hammarberg again opposed such decisions taken on the basis of diplomatic assurances. He also recalled that when individuals facing deportation have applied to the European Court of Human Rights, states must comply with any request by the Court to suspend deportation pending its examination of the case "The right of individual application is a cornerstone of the European system of human rights protection." he said.

Finally, the Commissioner urged the Italian authorities to proceed promptly to the establishment of an effective national human rights institution, in order to reinforce the system of protection in the country.

The report has been submitted in draft form to the Italian government which in turn responded with comments. The full reply from the government is appended to the final version of the Commissioner's report. It is available on the Commissioner's website.

Fingerprinting of Gypsies legal and not racist, says Italian government

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

The Italian government, despite mounting “pressure”, on an international level, has declared that the fingerprinting of all Roma and Sinti in the various camps in Italy is not racist and the it is well within the law.

Whatever the world opinion may be, as far as Italy and the Berlusconi regime are concerned they do no wrong.

What we must consider here is that, in all honesty, under the Italian laws it appears to be not illegal, nor racist, now, to do his fingerprinting of all Gypsies, as Italy's highest court has, on Berlusconi's behest, declared that all Roma and Sinti to be criminal elements, regardless of age, and has nigh on declared them “outlaws”, much as the German term of “vogelfrei”.

The Berlusconi government invokes that court decision and refers to it and stands by it, no matter what.

The Italian Red Cross continues with its cooperation in this fingerprinting and data collection exercise. Much akin to the actions of the German Red Cross in the time of the Third Reich.

The entire affair smacks so much of what the Nazis did to the German Gypsies, and those in the occupied territories, that it is extremely worrying, in such a way in that I, as a Veshtike Rom of whose family many members have been murdered in Auschwitz and other extermination camps, for no other reason than that of Race, of being Gypsy, am very concerned as to our People in the EU.

Are we headed in the same direction, yet again, in today's Europe, especially the Europe under the European Union “control”? It would appear to be so and no one really is going to do anything about it – so, at least it would appear – and this simply, as far as I see it, because it is “just” Gypsies that are the victims here. Were it Jews or Moslems I am certain things would have been done a long time ago.

Alas, we know anyway, we are but dirty Gyppos and according to the Italians (and other countries in the EU?) we are nothing but criminal elements, including the children, in the same way as our People were regarded by the fascist Germany. Obviously nothing has changed.

It is time that the Romani People worldwide realized that the Gadje bodies, in the main, are going to do nothing whatsoever that will really benefit us, as individuals and especially as a People, as a Nation. All they do is what will benefit them in controlling us. Time, and I know I keep saying this, that we did things for ourselves. Ourselves Alone!

Ava! Ame Shai!

© M Smith (Veshengro)

We have come out on behalf of the wrong side

When the forces of the United Nations and the European Union/NATO arrived in Kosovo as “peacekeepers” the leading officer, a Brit, remarked something like “Oh my God! We have come out on behalf of the wrong side”. He had realized that the world had been lied to by the Kosovo Albanians.

There was no ethnic cleansing perpetrated against Kosovo Albanians, against the Muslim population of Kosovo, from the side of the Serbs. On the contrary. The shoes, in fact, was on the other foot. It was the “ethnic” Albanians of Kosovo that were doing the ethnic cleansing against Gypsies and also against the Serbs. Their aims was – and still is – a Kosovo for Albanians and in due course the aim is to incorporate Kosovo into a “Greater” Albania. A dream for the Albanians in Kosovo as well as the Albanians of Albania, this “Greater” Albania.

The Kosovar Albanians' aim was to get all Gypsies and Serbs out of “their” Kosovo and then the Serbs were having none of it and retaliated, with arms, against the armed aggression, the Kosovar Albanians of the Muslim faith called “foul” and called onto the world for help, claiming to be the victims of ethnic cleansing.

Though nothing could have been further from the truth the world, at large, bought into that lie and sent out forces against the Serbs in Kosovo.

The ones that suffered most in this ethnic cleansing from the sides of the Albanian Kosovars are the ethnic Gypsy, whether Roma, Egyptians, or Ashkali. They were driven out from their Mahalas and are still in IDP camps.

Those camps, run by UNMIK, are contaminated with lead to such a degree that children and also adults are dying from the effects of lead poisoning or are becoming severely brain damaged. UNMIK is well aware of this bu will not resettle those Gypsies.

All UNMIK is prepared to do is to send the Gypsies back to their old Mahalas – that are still in the hands of the Albanians – and as soon as they return there they are beaten up and shot at again.

What is the United Nations' game as far as the Romani People of Kosovo are concerned? And I am talking here about the initial backing for the Kosovar Albanians as well as the treatment of the Gypsy People in the IDP camps inside Kosovo, as well as the fact that only due to UNMIK's insistence that Kosovo is not dangerous for the Gypsies that none of those have been accepted as official refugees with a right to remain in any of the countries they fled to; those that did not end up in the camps.

The commander of the peacekeepers at his very arrival in Kosovo realized that they had come out to support the wrong side but why is no one doing anything about it?

Why? Because those really only affected, aside from the Serbs, that everyone is trying to hit on the head as well, it would appear, ever since the incidents in Bosnia, are the Roma, Egyptians and Ashkali, that is to say, the “dirty Gyppos”.

The UN is, in fact, aiding and abetting ethnic cleansing of the Gypsy People from Kosovo and their own settlements within that country. What is the agenda?

Food for thought...

© M Smith (Veshengro), July 2008

Gypsy Nation, Arise!

by Micheal Smith (Veshengro)

Arise from the low status where you are being kept by the Gadje but also by exploiters within our own ranks and by laziness, as in the case of some, and made-up laws, as is the case with other.

“Yes! We Can!” shall and must be our slogan and our watchword

“Ava! Ame Shai!” Let nothing prevent us from achieving full potential as a Nation, as a People, as families and as individuals.

Far too many, not to say the great majority, of Amare have the “No Can Do” attitude and sometimes it would seem as if it be actually a “Don't Want To Do” attitude.

Others seem to make it their life's work to work the welfare system wherever it can be done. If they would but expend that time, energy and skills on “proper” work they'd really be able to liberate themselves and would not need state assistance; crumbs, like an Uncle Tom, from the White slave master's table.

So many also work the system while doing their own “self-employed” work of whatever kind. They steal from others doing than and it is not only Gadje they steal from but also from those of the People that do work within the system and pay their way.

We must have a new approach to living in this world and while we may want to be apart – something that I completely am in agreement with – we also have to follow the laws of the countries that we live in and if that means paying taxes then so be it. No one likes paying taxes, neither the Rom nor the Gadje but... the accusation from the Gadje to the Rom is always that we, the Rom, steal from the system and that we do not pay taxes – even if we do. We must not give them more ammunition still.

Back to the attitude and to liberation.

Ava! Ame Shai! We can do it. We can help ourselves. We can have our own co-operatives and our own livelihood projects, our own schools and homeschool circles, to raise ourselves up.

But this will only ever work if our People change their attitude. The attitude of “the world owes us a living”, as well as that of “no can do”.

I see too many of ours, especially those in the former Irin Curtain countries, but not only there, where the men sit around all day drinking, smoking and playing cards, while the women and children are sent out begging or stealing or scavenging on the refuse tips. This cannot and must not continue.

Also, the settlements must be cleaned up and made respectable, this also applies to the railer sites in Britain and the USA, even to the official government operated ones in the UK, if we want to be able to advance ourselves. Always there is the talk about how great our laws are as to cleanliness, which they indeed are, but should they not also translate at least to some degree to our immediate surroundings outside out kenna or trailer. A little garden, even in containers, can go a long way, also on government sites.

But, then again, it would appear that the majority do not want to do anything else really – despite the stories the tell the media – and do not want to better themselves. All they seem to want is to be idle and have the welfare state take care of them. Some are so lazy – yes, lazy – that they have leaky roofs at the houses with water coming through everywhere but they cannot, possibly, get up onto that roof and fix it. They wait for some Charity to come along and fix their roofs, their guttering, their drainage, and everything else. Self reliance; what is that? That at least seems to be their attitude.

This attitude is not only found, I would hasten to add, amongst the Roma in the East. Nay, such laziness and dirtiness can also be found, and here I feel physically sick for I have seen some of it, amongst the Sinti and the Romanichals, the latter here in the UK as well as, and especially, in the USA.

We can do it. Honestly, we can. All we need to have is the will and the wish to do it. The wish, the desire and the will to help ourselves and the will to raise ourselves up, as individuals and also and especially as a People.

Dosta penauas!

Ava! Ame Shai!

© M Smith (Veshengro), July 2008

Current plight of the Gypsy in Italy has strong echoes of Mussolini and Hitler

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

The compulsory fingerprinting of Italy's Gypsy population is the latest example of the country's increasingly repressive attitude towards minorities, especially the Roma and Sinti, the Gypsy People and are an ominous reminder of the policies of the former Fascist dictator.

The Interior Minister, Roberto Maroni, a leader of the rabble-rousing Northern League – close allies of Silvio Berlusconi on the government benches – has explained his next step in his assault on the "emergenza di sicurezza", the "security emergency": fingerprinting all Gypsies.

It was the only way, he told a parliamentary committee, for Italy to guarantee "to those who have the right to remain here, the possibility of living in decent conditions."

For this purpose the Roma, all Gypsy – those with Italian nationality and those without, EU citizens and those from outside the Community – will all have their fingerprints taken.

And the rule will even apply to Gypsy children – for reasons that to many of Mr Maroni's supporters must have sounded obvious: "to avoid phenomena," as he put it, "such as begging". The new measures, he said, were indispensable "in order to expel those who do not have the right to stay in Italy".

For anybody not swept up in the wave of anti-Roma fury, the campaign has a strong whiff of Mussolini and Hitler about it.

The task of counting and identifying the residents of Italy, citizens or otherwise, who happen to belong the most despised minority in Europe is, in fact, already under way.

Giovanna Boursier, an Italian journalist, found one small camp where the count had already taken place on the furthest southern outskirts of Milan. "There is not even a bar where one could ask the way," she wrote in Il Manifesto, "but once you scramble up a hill you see the roofs of the huts. There are about 10 of them, along with the caravans, dotted around the outskirts, under flyovers and high-tension wires. Around 40 Roma lived here."

In one camp the police arrived at dawn, woke everybody up, surrounded the camp and flooded it with lights and then went from home to home, demanding identity documents and photographing them. All the residents were Italian citizens. It made no difference. "This wasn't a census," protested a Gypsy by the name of Giorgio. "This was an ethnic register."

According to information the police numbers in the big cities have been augmented by up to 3,000 troops for this “security emergency”. All I am seeing here, however, is what I predicted some years back; government operated anti-Gypsy pogroms with unofficial backing of the European Union while on the surface the lawmakers speek out against it.

The basic problem of Roma is widespread in Europe: housing, health, education, employment, political representation... But for a long time in Italy the Roma have been a symbol of something that is unwanted.

The Nazis and the Fascists used the same methods of singling them out in the 1930s. It's not surprising that they are frightened.

I also have to add to that that our People, I am sure, have all the right to be frightened with regards to this ethnic profiling and register that is going on in Italy, and by force. What next and where next is my question.

Some 1.6 million Gypsies died in Germany and elsewhere during the Holocaust, a proportionately greater genocide than that suffered by the Jews.

It is a fact that there were concentration camps for Gypsies in Italy during the Fascist period, and it is also a fact that thousands of Gypsies died in them of hunger, cold and over work. Now Italy is about to repeat the performance, it seems.

Camps have also bee proposed not so long ago for the Romani People of Italy. They were called “solidarity villages” and I am sure, seeing how they help with the fingerprinting and profiling, the Italian Red Cross would certainly help there too.

Time w edid a few things ourselves, methinks.

AVA! Ame Shai!

© M Smith (Veshengro), July 2008

European Parliamentarians give their fingerprints in protest of Italy's Anti-Gypsy crackdown

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

More than 100 members of the European Parliament - including party group leaders – added their own fingerprints to a petition protesting against Italy's policy against Gypsies.

While this may be a very nice gesture initiated by Italian Communist MEP Giusto Catania what does he and there others think to achieve with this. This is nothing, really, but a gimmick as most of those parliamentarians are not of the Romani People and it, therefore, is nothing but a publicity stunt to be seen to do something.

The European Parliament has adopted a resolution that asks the Italian government to halt its plans. Euro MPs say it is unacceptable "to violate fundamental rights of the Gypsy People and to criminalise them."

This resolution was, however, passed on such a small margin – with 52 to 48 votes, so we understand – that all it needs is some more EU states, and this surely is going to happen in the not too distant future, to swing to the right and the Romani are once again in real deep trouble.

While no one dares to speak against Jews anymore – and probably rightly so – the Gypsy is still free and fair game to the politicians of that persuasion and the general public at large, and not just in Italy.

Should, as I said, we get a swing of two or three more politicians in the European Parliament and – as that does not really count much – the parliament, I mean – more importantly in the European Commission, that unelected body which is the real power of the European Union and the Council of Europe, then things could really, once again, turn out nasty for the Romani-Gypsy of Europe.

We must prepare to stand against this as a Nation and to this end we must, properly, unite as a Nation, and the medium of the Internet and such can be out greatest asset here. And no, we do not need a standardized Romani Language for this.

Ava! Ame Shai! (Yes! We Can!)

© M Smith (Veshengro), July 2008

Italy Passes Law To Fingerprint All Gypsies

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Racism and anti-immigrant hysteria have been increasing in Italy in recent years. Hate crimes have been on the rise with reports of gangs of right-wing youth attacking Gypsies in Rome, Genoa, Turin, Milan and other cities, and with the Carabinieri and other police units standing idly by and watching if not actually aiding and abetting the perpetrators of those attacks and crimes.

Seventy years ago this month, nearly to the day, Italy's Fascist regime pf the day published a "Manifesto of Race", which paved the way for its notorious racial laws persecuting Jews and members of other supposedly "inferior" minorities, which were directly based on the “Nuremberg Laws” of Hitler's Germany. Now, the country's right-wing government has again stepped up special measures against an entire ethnic group.

In their election campaign earlier this year, Berlusconi and his allies had already made clear their intention of deporting tens of thousands of Roma back to Romania and former Yugoslavia. In mid-June a March decisions by Italy's highest appeal court was released stating that "it is acceptable to discriminate against Roma" because the court found that "they are thieves", in other words the courts ruled in one foul stroke that an entire Race could be discriminated against as they are all regarded as criminals, criminalizing an entire People. Following the release of the court ruling, Italian Interior Minister Roberto Maroni, announced that a file is to be drawn up containing a DNA data base with digital fingerprints and photos of all Gypsies in Italy regardless of their citizenship. The target for the fingerprinting and such are here especially Gypsy children. Italy has now, so we understand, enacted a law that will require the taking of fingerprints and photos and other data of all Gypsies living in the country.

Unicef has protested that this is discriminatory and a violation of the UN's Declaration of the Rights of the Child but, on the other hand, works hand-in-glove with the Italian government as, as they say, it will be for the benefit of the children if they will be made to go to school and will get benefits. The Italian Red Cross, as we have reported already, also is deeply involved in this operation and all of it is very reminiscent of the 1930's. The Catholic magazine Famiglia Cristiana denounced the move as "an indecent and racist proposal" reminiscent of "when Jewish children were identified with a yellow star on their sleeves".

If the Church and his Holiness is so concerned maybe then He and his Church should issue a decree that would put any Catholic participating in this operation, whether police officer, soldier, or official, under the threat of excommunication. But we hear nothing of this sort being proposed even. Words and prayer do not help. They didn't in the Holocaust and they will not now either. Action is what is needed. When are priests going to be instructed to condemn this from their pulpits in their Sunday homilies? Shame we do not have the likes of the late Archbishop Romero in the leadership of the Holy See. The late Pope John II would not have been sitting idly by saying little.

Other churches are even quieter still than the Catholic Church as are the rest of Europe and the World.

The European Parliament voted July 10th to adopt a resolution calling on member states to "review and repeal laws and policies that discriminate against the Roma on the basis of race and ethnicity. The problem with this resolution though is that it is but a gimmick as it has no teeth whatsoever and is NOT binding in any way, shape or form, allowing the Berlusconi regime to give a two-finger salute to the European Parliament.

More and more it becomes evident that in this issue the European Union is either entirely powerless and a toothless paper tiger and Italy's fascists Il Duce II and his allies are thumbing their noses at the European lawmakers or, and this would appear to be more the case, what we are seeing here is, as I predicted several years ago, as I could see the writing on the wall, just the beginning of what the European Union is, in fact, planning for the Romani People of Europe.

© M Smith (Veshengro), July 2008

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 Südtiroler 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

Gypsies in Italy forced to give fingerprints

Gypsy children dragged kicking and screaming to have their fingerprints (and other biometric data) taken.

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

While the European Parliament has, very narrowly, adopted a resolution calling on Italy to halt its anti-Gypsy actions, the regime of Il Duce II, of PM Berlusconi, goes full steam ahead with the ethnic database on all Gypsies living in camps (I guess any that are known and live in houses will soon be dragged in as well).

While the European Parliament in its resolution called the actions of the Berlusconi regime racist it would appear that no one really intends to do anything about it. Not that I, as a Gypsy, am surprised by this.

While the European parliamentarians in word condemned the actions – as said, with a very narrow margin – of Berluscon's Italy and stated that those acts are against the European Convention on Human Rights it would appear that the Italian authorities are sticking up two fingers towards Brussels (Strasbourg) (always depending where the parliament was sitting at the time) and press on with what they have planned to do.

The database will include, so it is said, the racial/ethnic origin, e.g. which Gypsy group, the religious affiliation and beliefs, and also which school visited and which results reached on leaving school.

If this does not smack entirely of the same kind of registrations that were the precursor to the persecution of the Romani People under Hitler than I do not know.

While the parliamentarians of the European Parliament may make all those noises and pass those resolutions the European Commission and the Council of Europe, the real powers – unelected – behind the European Union, are not going to do anything at all, it would appear. And then again, why should they? Is it not, at least so it would appear to any that are not blind, the full intention of the European Union to act against the “Gypsy problem”, for it is not only in Italy where official anti-Gypsy pogroms and other such actions are taking place. The ghettoisation – forced – in the former Czechoslovakia is but another example, as are the actions, planned and already enacted, of the French government appertaining to the Gypsies in its country and those coming into the country especially.

It would appear to anyone not familiar with the current caleandar and its dates that we are in the Europe of 1938 rather than 2008. History is repeating itself and, because it is just Gypsies that are being rounded up, no one is actually going to do anything.

The problem is also that the resolution of the European Parliament, which calls for Italy to stop its anti-Gypsy actions, is not binding on the government of Italy. In other words, it is but rhetoric and words and the parliamentarians know and knew that full well when they went for this and the gimmick of giving their own fingerprints.

The Italian foreign minister and former EU justice minister, Franco Frattini,called the reactions of the EU as politically motivated.

There are currently some 700 Gypsy camps in Italy, the majority near Rome, Naples, or Milan and in those reside thousands of Sinti and Rom, and all of them will be the target for those anti-Gypsy measures of the regime of Berlusconi. Il Duce would be proud of him and Adolf Hitler even more so. I am sure Heinrich Himmler would have elevated him to a general in the SS.

If the Sinti of Italy think that they are safe and that this is only going to affect the Roma then they better think again. And if the rest of the Romani, in the EU and elsewhere, think that it may not happen to where they are, a rethink, I would advise, to be necessary too.

We are alone in this world as a People, and we ourselves alone can only do something. It is time that we did.

AVA! Ame Shai!

© M Smith (Veshengro), July 2008

European Union adopts resolution to call on Italy to stop Gypsy crackdown

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Italian interior minister Roberto Maroni argues that the measure is designed to 'prevent phenomena such as begging'.

But critics believe, rightly so, one can only add, that the Gypsy minority is being unfairly targeted by the new, right-wing government led by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

On the other hand, as a Romani myself, I have to agree though that there is a problem with a number of Roma groups (and no, I am not having a go at the Roma again – only at laziness and such), in that the men idle doing nothing while the force the women and children to go out to beg and, also, dare I say, pickpocket, shoplift, etc. Though being Gypsy I cannot and will not ever condone such kind of behavior. I would only ever condone “theft” if it was for survival, and that then with reservations.

The European Commission has called for an investigation into the measures of the Italian government. So, I assume we shall hear from them in about four years time or so after millions of Euro have been wasted on such a study and report.

Meanwhile, the European Parliament has just adopted a resolution that asks the Italian government to halt its plans. Euro MPs say it is unacceptable "to violate Gypsies' fundamental rights and to criminalise them."

The Italian MEP Monica Frassoni of the Green Party believes the authorities have already begun creating files on Gypsies living in camps around major cities. She warns that this violates EU laws.

We all know, Miss Frassoni, that this violated EU law. What the Romani People would like to know is what actual steps of intervention – not just rhetoric – the European Union and its Commission and Parliament are actually going to take to stop this NOW.

"The point is that the Italian government has issued a decree obliging all people living in camps - so normally gypsies - to be filed and to say where they come from and what ethnic origin they have. Even which religion they have, which is absolutely forbidden normally by our laws.

It actually means you are creating a database based on ethnic origins. This is why we are putting so much focus on this: because there is a direct contradiction with European legislation."

How nice... we know that.

European Justice Commissioner Jacques Barrot stresses that Italy has promised to send a detailed report on its plans by the end of July.

"It's important for me that there is an extremely precise and clear investigation," he says. But the Commissioner also says he's been given assurances by minister Maroni that the United Nations children's agency, UNICEF, backs the controversial plan.

That's because fingerprinting should help to make sure that Roma children go to school and receive social welfare.

If this is true, that is to say that UNICEF, a United Nations body, backing this action then we, the Rom, must come to realize that the UN nor the EU will ever be on the side of the Romani and that, as I have predicted already a number of years ago, we, the Gypsy People, the Romani, are again the target of actions against us by government decree, and in this case from on very high (no, o Devel has nothing to do with that).

Senior Juan de Dios Ramírez-Heredia, president of the Romani Union of neighbouring Spain and first ever Romani who served as a Member of the European Parliament, however, says the measures are first and foremost linked to promises to crack down on crime.

Those promises were a key element, he said, of the campaign that swept Mr Berlusconi back into power earlier this year. The Prime Minister even made an explicit connection between rising crime rates and the large number of Roma living in Italy.

"He won by exploiting public fears about the growing insecurity in Italy. This fear was channelled towards Gypsies, because we are an invisible minority."

Mr Heredia added that society's weakest always "end up paying the price of an extreme anti-immigration policy."

Ms Frassoni says that it is now the EU's duty to act.

"I am not even sure that will be enough, but the EU is a community of rights and values and we must do this or be shown to be totally useless."

Dear Miss Frassoni, what are you proposing the EU is going to do for they will do nothing. And we, the Romani, must have come to realize this by now.

In fact, the way it would appear, the EU will not act against Italy (except with a few little words to show the rest of the world) because the EU has plans for the Gypsy. Plans similar, it would appear, to those that Germany under Hitler and even before already had for the Romani. I leave the reader to come to his or her own conclusions from the historical data available.

Time, amare Rom, to do our own thing. Time to come to realize that none of the “white” man's organizations will do anything for us. Time to stand up and be counted (no, not by the Carabinieri) and stand against this as a Nation, as a People.

A People United Can Never Be Defeated!

AVA! Ame Shai!

© M Smith (Veshengro), July 2008

ERIO welcomes launch of new Social Agenda by European Commission


Brussels, July 2nd, 2008: European Roma Information Office (ERIO) welcomes the launch of the new Social Agenda by the European Commission.

This document includes a report on the inclusion of Roma in the European society that could be seen as a first step in the direction of a substantial and consistent European Strategy for Roma.

The report could also offer a good basis of discussion to prepare for the European Roma Summit that will take place in Brussels on September 18th, 2008.

Awareness raising is fundamental to tackle the growing prejudice against Roma in Europe. Ivan Ivanov, ERIO Executive Director, commenting on the Social Agenda stated that: “As the recent Eurobarometer survey on discrimination shows, once again Roma are the most discriminated minority in Europe. Alarming levels of prejudices among Italians and Czech can easily be explained by the racist attitude of its politicians. Therefore we need urgent action and we hope that the Member States will cope with their resposibilities and use all the instruments at their disposal to improve the level of protection and integration of Roma in their societies”.

ERIO also welcomes the Commission proposal for a horizontal directive that will complete the anti-discrimination protection beyond the workplace: this directive would include age, sexual orientation, disability and faith. Gender and ethnic origin are already covered (although not always in an effective way, as the last Fundamental Rights Agency report showed) by another directive. This new directive would ensure equal treatment in the areas of social protection, including social security and health care, education and access to and supply of goods and services which are commercially available to the public, including housing.

Birthday party snub sparks debate

Another good reason for, where it is permitted, to homeschool.

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

An eight-year-old boy has sparked an unlikely outcry in Sweden after failing to invite two of his classmates to his birthday party.

The boy's school says he has violated the children's rights and has complained to the Swedish Parliament.

The school, in Lund, southern Sweden, argues that if invitations are handed out on school premises then it must ensure there is no discrimination.

The boy's father has lodged a complaint with the parliamentary ombudsman.

He says the two children were left out because one did not invite his son to his own party and he had fallen out with the other one.

The boy handed out his birthday invitations during class-time and when the teacher spotted that two children had not received one the invitations were confiscated.

"My son has taken it pretty hard," the boy's father told the newspaper Sydsvenskan.

"No one has the right to confiscate someone's property in this way, it's like taking someone's post," he added.

A verdict on the matter is likely to be reached in September, in time for the next school year.

Sweden has, as we all know, a very strange set of laws in this department and tries to be so advanced that it is in fact making a mockery of itself.

While this country throws an tantrum when a child snubs his classmates as regards to invites to a birthday party it does not have such an exemplary record, for instance, when it comes to the Romani where, in fact, the race relations are rather strained despite their great mantle of openness and, while it is true that they have taken in a fair number of Romani refugees and such, the general relations from state and public towards Romani People is no better than in other countries where such strange laws do not exist.

© M Smith (Veshengro), July 2008