The Italian authorities must immediately stop plans to evict Roma families from a camp on the outskirts of Rome, and should instead improve housing conditions there, Amnesty International said yesterday.
Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Europe and Central Asia, Jezerca Tigani, said:
“The serious deterioration of living conditions in the camp, coupled with the repeated message that Tor de’ Cenci would be closed anyway, has rendered the consultation flawed. The only option offered by authorities was the transfer to yet another camp.
“The authorities should refrain from evicting residents who are not willing to relocate, and take steps in consultation with residents to restore adequate housing conditions and infrastructure in the camp.”
A spokesperson from the community told Amnesty International:
“It’s not possible to put us first in a camp, then after three years in another camp, then ten years later in yet another camp. They are playing with us as if we were a football.”
More than 350 people of Roma ethnicity, mostly Bosnian and Macedonian nationals, have been living in Tor de’ Cenci for up to 16 years.
Around 350 Roma people
Over 350 Roma people are facing eviction from the Tor de’ Cenci camp in Italy. Local authorities in Rome are planning to resettle them in a new camp, which would constitute racially segregated housing. Authorities plan to complete the eviction by 10 July.
More than 350 people of Roma ethnicity, mostly Bosnian and Macedonian nationals, have been living in Tor de’ Cenci camp in Rome for up to 16 years. The camp was opened by local authorities in 1995, in an area where residents have access to a range of services, including schools for children. In the past two years, however, local authorities started referring to Tor de’ Cenci as a “tolerated” camp (i.e. a camp which has existed for a long period, but was built irregularly on public or private land), and threatened to close it and transfer its residents to another camp further away from residential areas in the city. Living conditions in Tor de’ Cenci have progressively worsened, as the camp has been effectively abandoned by local authorities in view of its planned closure.
The local authorities plan to resettle the families in a new camp called La Barbuta. This was built in 2011 using special powers granted under the Nomad Emergency – a state of emergency in place since 2008 and ruled unlawful in November 2011 by the Council of State. Compared to the location of Tor de’ Cenci, which is near a residential area, the camp of La Barbuta is located in an isolated area next to Ciampino airport. It is surrounded by fences and security video cameras to monitor movements inside the camp. Local authorities plan to use the camp exclusively to house Roma families currently living in different camps in Rome. If these plans are implemented, the camp will constitute racially segregated housing, prohibited under international and regional laws to which Italy is subject and inconsistent with the National Strategy for Roma Inclusion adopted by Italy in February 2012.
No appropriate procedural and legal safeguards have been followed to ensure that the eviction of Tor de’ Cenci’s residents is carried out in compliance with international and regional human rights obligations. Consultation with Roma families has not been genuine, as it has been carried out under the constant threat of an eviction and there were repeated messages to both the media and the residents that the camp would be closed. This was combined with the serious deterioration of living conditions, and the lack of any other alternatives on offer. Although some families appear willing to move, many others are strongly opposing their resettlement to La Barbuta.
Please write immediately in Italian, English or your own language, calling on the authorities to:
* Halt any plan to close Tor de’ Cenci camp and refrain from evicting residents who are not willing to relocate, and take steps in consultation with residents to restore adequate housing conditions and infrastructure in the camp;
* Guarantee that any current or future re-settlement of individuals living in camps is planned in genuine consultation with all camp residents and with the offer of a range of alternative adequate housing options, including equal access to social housing where appropriate;
* Ensure that La Barbuta camp is not used as a permanent housing facility and is not used exclusively for Roma communities.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 9 AUGUST 2012 TO:
Mayor of Rome
Via del Campidoglio, 1
00186 Roma, Italia
Fax: 0039 06 6710 3590
Salutation: Egregio Sindaco/Dear Mayor