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Startseite Urgent Actions 2019 05 500 Roma people homeless after forced eviction
UA 068/19
Abgeschlossen am 25. Juni 2019

500 Roma people homeless after forced eviction

AI-Index: EUR 30/0354/2019

Around 500 Roma people, including around 150 children, pregnant women and older people have been left homeless after being forcibly evicted by the authorities from their settlement in municipality of Giugliano in Campania, in southern Italy, on 10 May. The Roma families have been made homeless and are living in inhuman conditions as the authorities have failed to provide them with alternative housing.


On 10 May, around 500 Roma people – approximately 350 adults and 150 children – were forcibly evicted by local authorities from their homes in a former fireworks factory in Ponte Riccio locality, in the Municipality of Giugliano in Campania, in the Province of Naples, southern Italy. The families had been living there, in inadequate living conditions, since June 2016 when they were forcibly evicted from a segregated authorized camp in Masseria del Pozzo, located next to a toxic landfill. Following a judicial order to remove the families from Masseria del Pozzo camp, the administration failed to find adequate housing alternatives for them within the court’s deadline and proceeded to forcibly evict them in 2016, offering as only alternative to homelessness the site of the former fireworks factory in Ponte Riccio locality.

Amnesty International is well-aware of the dramatically sub-standard living conditions these Roma families were enduring in Ponte Riccio locality, having visited the settlement on multiple occasions. As documented in previous reports, these conditions were largely the result of failures by the authorities to protect the right to adequate housing of the community. Amnesty International visited the settlement several times in 2016 and 2017 and already then, conditions were gravely inadequate with severely limited access to shelter, water and sanitation.

Local authorities carried out the 10 May eviction on the basis of the Municipal Order no. 29 of 5 April 2019 that required the immediate eviction of the settlement for reasons of public health and safety due to the unhygienic and unsafe conditions of the camp. The camp was deemed to being infested with rats and at risk of fire due to the precarious connections to electricity and to the presence of gas canisters for cooking and heating. Furthermore, the presence of large quantities of rubbish which would be generated by the settlement near the high-speed road which flanked the settlement was described as a risk to the safety of traffic on the road.

Local authorities did not engage in a process of genuine consultation with the community to identify a suitable alternative to the current location. They provided scant information to the families and the only alternative offered was a one-off payment to contribute towards rent for housing on the private rental market. Many of the Roma people in this community are stateless or do not have documents allowing them to be regularly employed and do not have stable jobs, making it impossible for them to rent a home on the private market, thus making the offer of a one-off contribution towards rent, unviable and unsustainable.

As the necessary safeguards, according to international human rights standards – adequate written notice, genuine consultation with the community and provision of adequate alternative housing - had not been put in place ahead of the eviction, Amnesty International concludes that the eviction was a forced eviction, which is a grave human rights violation. This breaches Italy’s obligations under a range of international and regional human rights treaties, including EU legislation (Race Equality Directive), which guarantees the right to adequate housing and protection against all forms of discrimination based on ethnicity and race. This forced eviction also flies in the face of commitments undertaken by Italy in its own National Strategy for Roma Inclusion, adopted in 2012.

This case should be seen in the broader context of ongoing discrimination and segregation of Roma families in access to housing by Italian authorities. Amnesty International has documented such practices and human rights violations for several years. In response to the ongoing scandal of the housing situation of Roma people in Italy, on 18 March Amnesty International lodged a collective complaint at the European Committee for Social Rights. Drawing on several years of research by the organisation, especially in Rome, Milan and Naples, the complaint presents comprehensive evidence alleging how the housing situation of Roma communities in Italy amounts to a series of breaches of the European Social Charter. These include widespread forced evictions; the continued use of segregated camps featuring substandard housing, and lack of equal access to social housing.

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