Monday, July 6, 2009
RESPONSE TO THOMAS HAMMARBERG
The following is a response from EveryOne Group to the statement of Thomas Hammerberg.
Mr. Hammerberg's statement is below in the previouse blog entry.
Milan, 06 July 2009
The situation of the Roma People in Italy
To Mr. Thomas Hammarberg, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights
Dear Mr. Hammarberg,
In response to the recent interview with Klaus Davi for the KlausCondicio Youtube canal, we fully share in your concern for the situation of the Roma People in Italy. There is right cause for alarm. Since January forced evictions have continued unabated: families thrown out onto the street, children often illegally separated from their parents, barracks and personal belongings destroyed, social and medical care denied. After each eviction, the children (those left with their mothers), the women, including pregnant mothers, and the ill have had to look for alternative shelter under bridges, in abandoned buildings or makeshift barracks that are as unsafe as they are unhealthy. The men are often rounded up and taken to police headquarters for “controls” where they are brutally interrogated; the women remain with the children, exposed to violence and retaliation. Following the most recent evictions, the majority of the Roma families have returned to Romania or fled to Spain, Greece or France. Some have cancer, others have disabilities or heart disease—all have had to forego medical treatment and return to die in their country of origin. Episodes of spontaneous abortions subsequent to the evictions have been reported*.
We have made physical, moral and economic efforts (including selling personal belongings and real estate) to try to help these families buy the medications and goods they need to survive or to assist them in renewing their documents or undertaking the return trip to Romania. Promises of assistance from public agencies to help cover travelling expenses went unfulfilled. Instances of forced separation of children from their mothers are known. During a police action in Pesaro, we drove around the city in trucks to collect mothers dying of thirst who had fled the police to avoid being separated from their children. A tragedy was averted when Roma parents threatened to set themselves on fire if their children were taken away.
These events testify to the insidious persecution by public authorities of the few Roma families remaining in Italy: their permits have expired, they have no money to return to Romania, they are denied even basic human rights. They are maltreated, falsely accused of crimes, hunted down and driven out of the cities, beaten and insulted.
We invite you to visit our web site where you will find updated information and can contact several of the victims (telephone numbers can be provided on request) who will tell you about their personal experiences with the ethnic racism that is spreading in Italy.
Your words and appeals to the Italian authorities are highly commendable. But Italy is in the grips of rampant xenophobia. Admonishments, resolutions and advice from international organizations have proven ineffective against the rising tide of racism. We will continue to do what we can to reduce the tragedy of Roma persecutions that world looks upon with indifference.
Roberto Malini, Matteo Pegoraro, Dario Picciau, Glenys Robinson, Steed Gamero, Fabio Patronelli, Katalin Barsony, Nico Grancea, Ionut Ciuraru, Mariana Danila, Danciu Caldarar, Mauro Zavalloni - EveryOne Group
www.everyonegroup.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted by Morgan at 11:28 AM