Italy: Institutionalising discrimination

Italy: Institutionalising discrimination by Yasha Maccanico

Statewatch Bulletin, Vol 18 no 2 April-June 2008

The racist scape-goating of Roma and Sinti has paved the way for an ominous crackdown by the Berlusconi government with echoes of a terrible past and could lead to a shift to authoritarianism that will be difficult to reverse.


After its clear victory in the April 2008 elections, Italy’s new government has indicated its intent to bring about a radical shift in the treatment of people identified as threats to peaceful co-existence and who are deemed to cause a “sense of insecurity” among citizens. Berlusconi himself announced “zero tolerance for Roma, illegals and criminals” as a priority if he was to win the election in February. In the midst of continuing anti-immigrant rhetoric that has ominously included the new interior minister Roberto Maroni explaining away racist attacks by blaming criminals among the immigrant population for reactions against them, the so-called “security package” was approved on 23 May 2008. It comprised one law decree containing urgent measures that immediately came into force, one legislative decree to be converted into law, and three decrees to introduce changes to provisions governing family reunification for foreigners, recognition of refugee status and the free movement of EU country nationals, and a draft law on the national DNA database. Draft versions of the measures on family reunification, refugee status and the DNA database are set to be unveiled in late July.

The package also entails a proliferation of measures aimed at re-establishing the authority of the state, through tighter control of the territory by the police, and even soldiers on the beat in some cities, the punishment of petty criminal activity (with special emphasis on begging and the sale of counterfeit goods on the streets) and driving after consuming alcohol or illegal drugs, and through the criminalisation and repression of opponents of the governments’ plans (measures adopted in relation to the rubbish crisis in Campania are liable to have repercussions for political activists and protesters in the future).

Whilst, in several of its EU partners, the main talk is about the economy slowing down, with some of them belatedly admitting the existence of a “crisis”, in Italy the focus is firmly on “illegal” foreigners and Roma and Sinti people, in spite of a downturn in the economy and statistics showing that increasing numbers of families have trouble to keep going until the end of the month on their incomes. Once the cause for Italy’s problems has been identified as illegal immigration, the way to counter it is being studied, so as to make the lives of immigrant collectives in Italy difficult, by identifying what they do and finding ways to punish them or people who are deemed to help them through illegal actions, to further isolate them.

Securing a large number of immediate expulsions on vastly expanded grounds appears to be the criteria behind a number of the provisions. Moreover, the provisions signal a shift towards the equating of removed citizens of EU member states to that of expelled third-country nationals. Critics of the measures have questioned its applicability, in view of the sheer number of people who would be criminalised and those who would fall under conditions entailing arrest, detention and expulsion, in terms of manpower (in the police and law courts), facilities and expenditure.

Turning the screw on “illegal” immigrants

Key measures proposed to make life difficult for so-called clandestini (“illegals”) include their wholesale criminalisation by turning their status into a criminal and custodial offence, rather than an administrative one, thus criminalising hundreds of thousands of people at a stroke, although concessions are expected for specific categories such as cleaning ladies and carers, tens of thousands of whom sought regularisation by applying for recognition under the quota system, which remains woefully inadequate. In fact, the places allocated for foreigners to enter Italy to work by setting annual quotas have consistently been underestimated, leaving employers with a need for labour, and offices responsible for dealing with applications being overwhelmed by hundreds of thousands of requests (740,000 applications for the 170,000 places made available in 2007), often from people who are already regularly working in Italy (albeit illegally) and seek to regularise their position.

Asked about the measure, interior minister Roberto Maroni told parliament that the reason for this new criminal offence was “to be able to proceed to immediate expulsions”, particularly in view of the Returns Directive that he describes as “excessively lax” because it imposes a requirement to give immigrants seven days to leave the country of their own accord in compliance with an expulsion order, although it does include the exception whereby an “immediate expulsion” may be carried out “if the expulsion measure is a direct or indirect result of a guilty verdict under criminal law”. Moreover, once the Directive has been transposed, Maroni complains that it will only be possible to expel “those who have been found guilty and Community nationals for serious and imperative public order reasons”, a measure already introduced by the Prodi government at the end of 2007.

Notwithstanding the Council statement indicating that the Directive should not be used as an excuse for lowering standards in Member States, it has been used to justify a substantial increase in the maximum length during which migrants may be held in detention centres (re-named identification and expulsion centres) nine-fold from two to eighteen months. The ordinary detention period is doubled from 30 to 60 days, after which a judge may repeatedly extend it on request from the questore (administrative police chief in a given town) by a further 60 days until the new 18-month limit “if the detained subject has not made an identification document available” that is valid for travelling abroad.

On the other hand, measures are introduced to nullify the Directive’s impact where safeguards or guarantees for “illegals” are concerned by transforming the nature of the legal system, penalising people for who they are rather than what they do. This is the direction in which the aggravating circumstance that is envisaged for migrants in an irregular situation who commit criminal offences moves, through a one-third increase in their sentences as a result of their status that belies principles of equality before the law, as well as ensuring that most offences will result in long enough sentences being passed for them to be expelled immediately. In order to ensure that this is the case, the minimum sentence that automatically entails expulsion has been lowered from ten to two years. Failure to comply with a removal or expulsion order will result in imprisonment for between one and four years, whereas it was previously an administrative offence. Moreover, the increased sentences for migrants residing illegally in Italy may also result in their exclusion from any alternative sentencing or tariff discounts that would shorten their term of imprisonment.

Nowhere is the contradictory approach of the governing coalition more apparent than in its efforts to limit the right to family reunion. While in the general political debate in Italy, they have been staunch defenders of the “Family”, conceived in a traditional and religious manner, in opposition to legal rights being granted to unmarried or same-sex couples, in the case of migrants, they are attempting to make the rules for families to re-unite (legally) as stringent as possible, as if to indicate that the problem of “illegal” entrants is accompanied by a problem of “legal” entries, which must also be reduced. Thus, measures are envisaged to reduce the possibilities of legal entry for family reunion, excluding sons and daughters who are adults, parents who are over 65 if they have other children who can support them in their countries of origin, unless they are medically certified to be unable to do so for serious health reasons. The delay in obtaining citizenship following marriage is raised from six months to two years, and if someone’s status as a relative cannot be conclusively certified on the basis of documents produced by competent foreign authorities, it may be certified by diplomatic or consular offices following DNA tests that applicants must pay for. This appears to run against the goals that are cited as the reason for these developments, as the presence of families, stability and integration may be conducive to more responsible behaviour than if migrants are lone individuals.

Housing is another field in which strict controls are envisaged, as migrants necessarily need a place in which to live unless they are to sleep in the streets, and any accommodation they rent directly will be illegally let if they do not possess the required residence permit. Landlords letting homes to foreigners residing illegally in Italy will be guilty of a criminal offence entailing prison sentences of between six months and three years, followed by confiscation of the home once a final verdict against them has been issued, extending the scope of measures to counter conducts that are deemed to aid illegal residence and furthering the social isolation of “illegals”.

Money transfers are another area in which heightened controls are envisaged, requiring money transfer service providers to check and photocopy the identity card of people using the service. If the person is foreign, their residence permit will also be required, and in cases in which it is not available, information about the service provided must be given to local authorities responsible for public security and a copy of the person’s identity card must be sent to them, within 12 hours. The copies of customers’ documents thus acquired, must be filed away and made available on any occasion in which public authorities in charge of security request them by the money transfer service providers, or their license will be withdrawn. The practice of prior identification for a variety of services is thus growing after it was introduced for the use of terminals in Internet cafés by law decree 144/2005 to counter international terrorism, and to purchase tickets for football matches through a decree to counter violence in stadiums of February 2007.

Moreover, the measure on money transfers runs against recent developments such as proposals in Spain to facilitate and reduce taxes on money transfers to countries of origin and declarations highlighting the importance of remittances from abroad to improve conditions in migrants’ countries of origin. Thus, with regards to policies for the promotion of development and highlighting the positive value of remittances, the Action Plan that emerged from the EU-African ministerial conference in Rabat on 10-11 July 2006 stated in its point 1.g:

Reducing – by working with banking and mutuality institutions as well as transfer operators – the costs of savings transfers of migrants to their countries of origin while respecting the private nature of remittances, reinforcing their potential for development and ensuring they are as productive as possible.

Another significant aspect of the provisions is the way in which the right of free movement of community citizens is curtailed. The last “security decrees” approved by Romano Prodi’s centre-left government in November 2007 and January 2008 in response to social alarm about crimes committed by foreigners and Romanians in particular, stipulated that EU nationals could be expelled on the basis of a wide interpretation of what a “threat to public security” consists of, and identifying foreigners from other EU countries as subjects liable to present such a threat (see Statewatch Vol 18 no 1).

The renewal of the decree also introduced the possibility of expelling citizens from other EU countries on the basis of a suspicion of involvement in terrorist activity. The grounds to be considered a “threat to public security” have been expanded to include anyone who fails to register in the anagrafe (register of residents) “in any case”, something that will almost inevitably be applicable to any “illegal”, all the more so as new obstacles are being introduced with regards to registration in the aforementioned register. These include an inspection to ensure that a foreigner lives in suitable accommodation and has a sufficient certifiable income to support him or herself, conditions that even some Italians may be unable to fulfil.

With regards to asylum, only three months after the legislative decree to modify Italian asylum procedure came into force, it is proposed to reform it so as to guarantee the expulsion of asylum applicants when their application is first refused, something that would be equivalent to the ruling out of appeals, as they would have to be filed from the country from which they seek protection. The Consiglio Italiano per i Rifugiati criticised the proposed measures, noting that European statistics indicate that 30% of successful asylum claims are granted on appeal. It also expressed its wish that the reform be shelved, as it would also entail the denial of freedom of movement in the national territory for asylum seekers and the detention of many potential refugees in detention centres, as would happen in cases where they have received an expulsion order before having claimed asylum, a circumstance that is reportedly not uncommon, for example in the southern island of Lampedusa.

More powers to local councils and mayors

On the surface, the attribution of increased powers to guarantee public order and public security in their territory to local authorities and mayors would appear uncontroversial, but events during the last year have shown how they are liable to be a means for councils to place further obstacles beyond those adopted nationally in the way of migrants. Article 5 of the decree allows them to issue orders in the field of public order and security, to carry out public security and judicial police functions and to monitor anything that is relevant for public order and security, informing the prefetto (police chief in a city). They must also ensure the co-operation of local police forces with the state police force and supervise the handling of records concerning civil status and residence (such as the anagrafe, see above), as well as having the discretion to adopt urgent measures “for the purpose of preventing and eliminating serious dangers that threaten public safety and urban security” – a possible reference to expulsions, explaining the reasons for doing so and informing the prefetto in timely fashion, so as to establish the instruments required for their implementation. When orders concern specific people who fail to comply with a given order, the mayor may act to enforce the order, through operations that the individuals concerned will have to pay for. The interior minister may issue guidelines for the exercise of these functions by mayors.

One approach to the “problem” adopted in northern Italian regions by centre-right and Lega Nord local councils who felt that the national legislation and government’s efforts were inadequate, was that of placing a bureaucratic and administrative cobweb in the way of migrants, for example by making it difficult for them to register in the local anagrafe (see above). Registration is compulsory for people staying for longer than three months, and a key step towards obtaining access to social and health services, rights and other services including schooling for children. The effects of these obstacles often spills beyond their supposed scope, namely that of “illegals”; thus, measures have been envisaged that target children, who cannot be construed as “illegal” by law, as well as EU nationals, who supposedly enjoy a right of free movement. An order (circular no. 20) issued by Milan city council’s infant services section on 17 December 2007 impeded the registration of children in kindergardens if their parents did not possess a valid residence permit. The order was eventually ruled illegal on 11 February 2008 by a Milan court (see Statewatch news online, February 2008) for violating a child’s fundamental right to education when it was challenged by a Moroccan mother in a Milan court.

The local council of Cittadella (Padua) required certification of employment, adequate income or financial assets not to become a burden for the social services to allow registration in the anagrafe, and was granted powers to order the residence whose details were provided to be inspected to ensure that the details given were true and the dwelling place was neither unfit for habitation nor overcrowded. A minimum of 28 square metres was required for one person, 38 for two, lowered to 14 metres per person if there were three or more people. The fact that prices in the flat rental market may make these requirements difficult to comply with was not contemplated – many Italians are unable to leave their parents’ until several years after they reach adulthood, even when they work. Other requirements, depending on the circumstances of residence, would involve presenting an employment contract, authorisation from the immigration desk, certification of the attribution of a tax identification number or registration in one’s professional association, in the case of self-employed or free-lance workers. To register, EU nationals looking to reside in Cittadella without working or undergoing professional training, had to demonstrate the availability of sufficient resources to maintain themselves and any family members present, quantified at €5,061.68 for two persons, and twice as much for groups of three and four, and so on. Medical insurance was a further requirement introduced in these cases.

The new right-wing Rome mayor Gianni Alemanno of Alleanza Nazionale (AN) has announced a so-called Patto per Roma Sicura (Pact for Safe Rome) to tackle the capital’s security problems. It is set to include the “regulation” of wholesale businesses, a priority because there has been a proliferation of Chinese shops carrying out this activity, many of them in the Esquilino neighbourhood. It is also expected to envisage the presence of military personnel (preferably carabinieri involved in military tasks or specially trained volunteer soldiers) patrolling the streets with powers to identify and to seize people or vehicles on grounds including to prevent or impede behaviour that may endanger people or sites subjected to surveillance, taking them to carabinieri stations for verifications and any judicial police tasks that may need to be carried out. The guidelines for their deployment, detailed in the conversion with amendments of the decree of 23 May 2008 into law, indicates that they may be no more than 3,000 nationwide, subject to authorisation for “specific and exceptional crime prevention requirements when greater control of the territory may be desirable”. One wonders whether the current situation in the capital would fit the bill, considering that street-sellers are deemed to be a serious nuisance undermining passers-by’s sense of security.

Roma camps equated to a natural calamity

The Berlusconi government’s first Council of Ministers on 21 May 2008 also declared a “state of emergency” lasting over a year (until 31 May 2009) in the regions of Lazio, Lombardy and Campania in relation to the settlements of “communities of nomads” due to the “presence of numerous irregular third-country nationals and nomads who have settled permanently” in these areas (emphasis added). Their precarious, makeshift, nature is deemed to have caused “great social alarm, with the possibility of serious repercussions in terms of public order and security for the local populations”. To be overcome, the situation is deemed to require the adoption of extraordinary measures that are usually reserved for cases involving severe natural disasters, and the derogation of a number of laws to enable the newly appointed special commissioners (the prefetti of Rome, Naples and Milan, granted wide-ranging powers, each of whom is allotted 1 million Euros in funding) to resolve the crisis. As detailed in a memorandum sent by a number of Italian and European organisations including the Associazione di Studi Giuridici sull’Immigrazione (ASGI) and the European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC) to the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) concerning breaches of the International Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, the derogations include:

the powers of the state authority to compel a person to identify themselves to the public authority, as well as to allow data-basing of photometric and other personal information; the powers of mayors in matters that are within the state’s competence; the rights of citizens to respond to a measure taken by the public administration; expropriation for public utility; specific procedures that must be followed in public building work interventions (including demolitions); the entire Consolidated Act concerning health laws; norms on the exercising of traffic police services; and, as a final norm with general value, all the other laws and other regional provisions closely related to the interventions envisaged by this ordinance

In particular, derogations from ordinary administrative procedure are a cause for concern, as they exclude the duty to notify a subject affected by a measure taken by the public administration in advance, to issue a communication explaining the measure’s scope, to make the acts concerning the measure available, and to argue one’s case or submit documentation concerning the measure. Effectively, this legitimises practices that have been already been taking place nationwide for some years, well before the change of government, whereby forced evictions have been carried out without complying with requirements contained in international instruments of which Italy is a signatory, such as advanced notification, contingency plans for alternative accommodation and for such operations not to be conducted at night or in adverse weather conditions.

Identifying the inhabitants of the camps “including minors”, and of “family units”, is one of the priorities set out in the orders, a measure presented as a way to guarantee respect for fundamental rights and people’s dignity, to implement humanitarian and immigration provisions and apply instruments to guarantee access to essential social care and health services, while taking into account the protection of minors from individuals or criminal organisations that supposedly take advantage of the uncertainty in terms of identity to carry out illegal trafficking activities and serious forms of exploitation. The terminology used would be worthy of a study in itself, due to the way in which discriminatory, punitive and intrusive measures and practices are portrayed as benevolent, as also happened following the European Parliament’s approval of a resolution condemning the census and fingerprinting of Roma and Sinti. Other tasks entrusted to the commissioners include the monitoring of authorised camps and the localisation of illegal ones, the adoption of administrative or judicial removal or expulsion orders where applicable against the people identified therein, identifying possible sites for new authorised camps and the adoption of measures to enable the clearing and subsequent recovery of sites occupied by illegal camps. Interventions for social integration and to assist schooling for children are also envisaged, as are others for countering illegal commerce, begging and prostitution.

International criticism

The Resolution approved by the European Parliament on 12 June 2008 includes the following points:

1. Urges the Italian authorities to refrain from proceeding to the collection of fingerprints of Roma, including minors, as this would clearly constitute an act of discrimination based on race and ethnic origin forbidden by the art. 14 of the European Convention of human rights...;

2. shares the concerns of UNICEF underlining that it is inadmissible, with the aim of protecting children, to violate their fundamental rights and to criminalize them... the best way to protect the rights of Roma children is to guarantee access to education, housing, health care, in the framework of inclusion and integration policies, and to protect them from exploitation;

3. shares the views of the Commission that such acts would constitute a violation of the prohibition of direct and indirect discrimination, particularly as foreseen in the EU directive on race and ethnicity and enshrined in articles 13, 12 and 17 to 22 of the EC Treaty.

Moreover, and most significant in relation to the approach adopted by the government towards Roma and Sinti [but also migrant] communities, it notes that “policies enhancing exclusion will never be effective in combating crime and will not contribute to prevention and security”.

The international outcry resulted in a slight shift in the rhetoric from the government surrounding these measures, from a clearly aggressive stance to a new emphasis on guaranteeing the human rights of children from nomad camps. On May 19, interior minister Maroni had stated that “All Roma camps will have to be dismantled right away, and the inhabitants will either be expelled or incarcerated”, while Milan’s deputy mayor Riccardo de Corato suggested that a quota was required to limit the number of Roma in Milan, and Davide Boni, an official in the Lombardy region, argued that “All gypsies must go”. The emphasis shifted to justifying the measures on the basis of the protection of children, with Maroni and former EU JHA Commissioner Frattini (now the foreign affairs minister) at the forefront. Frattini was particularly forceful in presenting the humanitarian case (see Statewatch news online, July 2008), expressing his belief in the benefits of identification, “the first way to protect a minor is to give him an identity and a document”, without which a “Roma child has no right to health or schooling”. In an emotional aside, he added that without these “it is impossible to rescue these little innocent souls from the hands of paedophiles and child traffickers”, before upping the stakes by suggesting that "a European database with the names, fingerprints, DNA indicators of all these [Roma and Sinti] children" is necessary "to make their lives safer".

However, it is difficult to support this view when one of the many evictions that have taken place, in Campo Boario in Testaccio in Rome on 6 June 2008, resulted in the eviction of 120 people (80 adults and 40 children), when some of the children were part of a project to promote their education and attended a nearby school, an experience that was curtailed by the eviction, without the provision of alternative housing arrangements, a circumstance that is not unusual (similar incidents happened in Turin and Florence). The residents of Campo Boario were later also reportedly evicted from the banks of the Tiber river.

Months earlier, in Milan in March 2008, the Italian police had evicted a camp in Bovisa with the declared intent of forcing the Roma to return to Romania. The anti-Roma rhetoric voiced by political and media elements, which has been relentless since a murder committed by a Romanian Roma in Rome in late October 2007 (see Statewatch news online, November 2007), has also led to criminal incidents such as the burning of a Roma camp in Ponticelli in Naples on 13 May after it was alleged that a Roma girl had tried to kidnap a baby in a house in the area that she had broken into. Around 800 people had to flee for their lives, baited by a cheering crowd. Molotov cocktails had been thrown into camps in Milan and Novara two days earlier. Two weeks later on 28 May 2008, the camp in Naples was burned again. On 9 June, the burning to the ground of a camp inhabited by around 100 Romanian Roma in Catania (Sicily) was reported. On 25 May, a Sinti girl in Brescia was stopped from attending school by other children calling her a “dirty gypsy, dirty kidnapper”.

The complaint submitted to CERD (see above) also highlights the lack of activity by the public authorities and police to protect the camps from possible attacks and to investigate the incidents or bring the perpetrators to justice. Perhaps most significant, is the protest organised by members of Maroni’s party in Mestre (Venice) on 3 June 2008, against the construction of a housing site for Sinti funded by the Venice local council, an initiative that moves in the direction of improving housing conditions and reducing marginalisation for Roma and Sinti people that Italian authorities have been called upon to introduce for several years. LN councillor portrayed the measure as “having costs that will prevent other priority works”, and as an indication that for Massimo Cacciari (the mayor of Venice) “nomads come before destitute Venetians”. Cacciari responded by highlighting that the Sinti community in question were Venetians (second or third-generation) just like the demonstrators, whose adults work and children go to school.

The initiatives of the government and the violent events that they are experiencing have resulted in an unprecedented mobilisation by Roma and Sinti people in Italy. There was a demonstration in Rome on 8 June reportedly attended by around 20,000 people (organisers claimed that they felt 5,000 would have already been a success), “against exclusion, racial discrimination, persecution and the institutional abuses that strike the Roma in Italy”. It enjoyed significant support from civil society groups including Jewish Holocaust survivors and former partigiani. Activists from the Everyone Group claimed that:

We have checked the Viminale’s [interior ministry] data... the number of crimes committed by people from the Roma ethnic group compared to the total is insignificant...

A month later, on 10 July, a public assembly entitled “Dosta” (Enough) was held in Rome by the Federazione Rom e Sinti Insieme (a federation comprising representatives of Roma and Sinti communities in Italy), a recently born organisation for the self-representation of these communities. There were appearances by a number of prominent Roma and Sinti figures, representatives from different cities and camps, as well as speakers from abroad. The policy of camps and segregation came under attack from its president Nazzareno Guarnieri, and the active participation of members of the communities was called for to change this situation.

Stressing that fingerprinting an ethnic group and children is a “racist and cowardly practice”, that censuses must either affect the whole population or none at all, and that they cannot merely affect a single ethnic group, there were references to the identification and census of Roma people (Manouches) in France in 1912. Supposedly conducted to know how many they were, they resulted in the creation of lists that were later used by the Nazis to pick up the Manouche and take them to the gypsy block in Birkenhau concentration camp. An interesting intervention saw a Macedonian Roma telling the audience that the left-wing D’Alema government of the time first supported the bombing of his house in Macedonia, where he had a house and the children went to school and then forced him into a camp when he was granted asylum. As a Roma, he was deemed to be supposed to live in a camp according to Italian authorities, even though he and his fellow Macedonian Roma did not have a tradition of living in camps. It was also stressed that in spite of the emphasis placed on the need to expel them, a large proportion of the Roma and Sinti in Italy are Italian nationals (some of them for many generations, whose presence in Italy goes back centuries), and that many are already included in the residents’ registers of Italian cities and possess documents.

Most telling, were reports from representatives of camps in Turin and Pisa: the first said that in his camp, predominantly populated by eastern Europeans, those who had documents were expelled and the others were scared to travel, whereas in the second, they had been too scared to travel to the assembly in Rome.

A warning to Europe

The developments explored above indicate a clear attempt to translate an attitude whereby “illegal” migrants and Roma/Sinti are treated as scapegoats for Italy’s problems that has been a key item in the political debate and election campaign, into legislation, codifying it while attempting to rule out any charges of racism, unconstitutionality or of contravening human rights instruments. Thus, in spite of the ethnic nature of the identification of residents in Roma and Sinti camps, the government’s response to criticism from Brussels and Strasbourg has been to indicate that it is an attempt to promote schooling for children, to protect them from exploitation and improve health conditions and the implementation of human rights. This belies the nature of the exercise as an attempt to intimidate these communities, expelling the foreigners among them whose documents are not in order, and evicting them wholesale when conditions in camps are not deemed to be acceptable.

As a worldwide economic slowdown beckons that will affect many EU member states, and if these countries have a genuine intent to avoid sliding into the process of successively finding groups within society to be identified as “problems” and to be subjected to exclusion by denying them basic human rights (which, we must remember, are meant as minimum thresholds rather than exceptional privileges), they would do well to analyse the Italian case. Otherwise, they risk relentlessly giving away rights to public authorities whose increasing powers of surveillance, identification, control and punishment may lead to a shift towards authoritarianism that will be difficult to reverse.

To end this article, it seems fitting to ask a question:

Is it a matter of a scared and victimised society defending itself, or of a society that is seeking to reassure itself by using the might of its institutions to victimise and harass its visible minorities in order to reassure itself, trying to attain a sense of security through the latter’s insecurity?

Sources and consulted documents

1. Decreto legge, 23 maggio 2008, n.92, “misure urgenti in materia di pubblica sicurezza”:

2. Gazzetta Ufficiale 31.5.2008, no. 127, Ordinanza del presidente del consiglio, (nos. 3676, 3677, 3678) _ Disposizioni urgenti di protezione civile per fronteggiare lo stato di emergenza in relazione agli insediamenti di comunità nomadi nel territorio della regione Lazio (Lombardia e Campania).

3. Appeal by Progetto Diritti against the declaration of the state of emergency and ordinanze (orders) nos. 3676, 3677 and 3678. 10 July 2008

4. Decreto legge, Osservazioni sulle norme in materia di stranieri contenute nei provvedimenti del “pacchetto sicurezza” approvati dal Consiglio dei Ministri nella riunione del 21 maggio 2008

5. Dll Senato 692 - Conversione in legge, con modificazioni, del decreto-legge 23 maggio 2008, n. 92, recante misure urgenti in materia di sicurezza pubblica:

6. La sicurezza apparente, Magistratura Democratica and ASGI, 17 June 2008

7. Memorandum: Request for expedited engagement of follow-up procedure and/or urgent action/early warning procedure concerning Italy ICERD compliance, COHRE, OsservAzione onlus, ERRC, ASGI, European Roma Grassroots Organisation (ERGO), National Roma Centrum (NRC), O Del Amenca Cultural Centre, Policy Center for Roma and Minorities, Roma Center for Social Intervention and Studies, Roma Women Association in Romania, 11 July 2008:

8. Speciale “pacchetto sicurezza” – Le nuove norme tra applicabilità ed efficacia,

9. Action Plan from the Rabat Euro African Ministerial Conference on Migration and Development of 10-11 July 2006

10. Sucar Drom, 10.2.2008

11. Everyone Group, 9.6.2008

12. Migrationonline border blogs,


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