28 March 2012
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Journalist Paolo Brogi posted a document on his blog on 29 November 2011 that is indicative of how activities are being enacted in Rome in the framework of the Roma "emergency", which has included large-scale evictions and relocation in isolated settlements that are distant from the city centre. Professor Francesco Pompeo of Rome's third university (Roma Tre), whose "Observatory on racism" has conducted research into the capital's Roma camps, notes that Rome city council "makes nomads sign a form whereby they are forced to accept accommodation that the council offers them, or they will risk having their children taken from them".
Researchers were handed the form by a woman who received it from local police officers during an eviction in via Candoni in the Canneto neighbourhood and had refused the city council's offer. The form has three boxes that may be ticked.
The first is next to the statement
"I accept the offer for housing assistance that I have just been proposed, making myself immediately available to be accompanied, alongisde my underage children, to the place that will be made available by Rome city council".
The second one states
"I refuse the assistance offered by Rome city council and will make different arrangements".
Its corollary is the third box,
"I confirm that I have been informed that if I will not be able to guarantee my underage children a healthy and safe dwelling place and sufficient economic resources to ensure their personal needs, the Public Authority, pursuant to article 403 of the civil code, will have to intervene through the bodies for the protection of children, to immediately place them in a safe location, until it will be possible to provide for their protection in a definitive manner".
Professor Pompeo viewed it as an "evident [case of] intimidation" through "strong psychological pressure channelled through values like the family and children", and by using article 403 that is "meant for the protection of children", but is "turned into a scarecrow that is waved for a different purpose, namely, eviction". He also noted that Rome city council has been trying to present an "image of efficiency and control over the situation of Roma people in Rome" to garner support, whereas "the information collected by independent observers bear witness to a very different situation" in spite of "enormous resources made available to the special commissioner" amounting to 30m euros, "without many verifiable results".
"Il comune di Roma ai rom durante gli sgomberi: accetta la nostra proposta di sistemazione, altrimenti l'autorità ti "dovrà" togliere i figli…", 29.11.2011, Paolo Brogi's blog
Previous Statewatch coverage:
Italy: Open-ended emergencies: deployment of soldiers in cities and summary treatment for Roma people
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