Civil society monitoring report on implementation of the national Roma integration strategies in Italy
Focusing on structural and horizontal preconditions for successful implementation of the strategy
Métadonnées de la publication
In Italy there are no accurate figures on the current number of Roma, Sinti and Caminanti (RSC), even if the estimation provided by the EC indicates the number of 110,000 to 180,000 individuals, which represents around 0.23 to 0.25 per cent of the total population. The lack of knowledge about RSC Communities, accompanied by a high level of prejudice and discrimination, has exacerbated the idea that this population would be nomadic, hostile to sedentary life and, therefore in need of specific and temporary housing solutions. Still today, even if Opera Nomadi (the historical Italian association... helping Roma and Sinti) estimates that around 60-80 per cent of the RSC in Italy live in houses, these camps continue to be designed and built by local authorities. Around 30,000 to 40,000 of RSC live in “nomad camps”, in a condition of severe housing precariousness and social marginalization. It is within this framework that the Italian Government approved the National Strategy for the Inclusion of Roma, Sinti and Caminanti (NRIS), which was drafted by the National Office against Racial Discrimination (UNAR) in collaboration with several stakeholders, civil society organization and Roma representatives. The Strategy has been evaluated positively by different key actors at national and European level because it has marked an important break with the past, abandoning the concept of nomadism and adopting a broader approach to promote RSC inclusion. However, six years after its approval, several delays in its implementation have been registered, as the national government has not implemented any concrete programme to eradicate RSC housing exclusion and most of the local authorities are very far from reaching the expected results. Despite isolated progress in some regions, such as Emilia Romagna, many problems still persist the NRIS implementation, and it appears difficult to remove them without a radical change of direction in respect to what has been done so far. The limited powers that UNAR has to ensure the implementation of the NRIS at local level, together with the poor capacity to coordinate actions among the different institutional levels, has negatively impacted on the development of Local Action Plans for RSC inclusion. In fact, according to the current legislation, at local level everything is left to the discretion of the local institutions, that have powers to decide whether and how to adopt it. As a result of that, only 11 Regions out of 20 have set up the consultative meetings aimed at agreeing how to implement the NRIS at local level, but only Emilia Romagna Region has promoted and approved a regional law aimed at closing the Roma municipal camps, and actions aimed at supporting RSC inclusion. Moreover, there are several regional and local authorities that not only do not implement the NRIS, but even deny it, keeping on maintaining – or even opening – new mono-ethnic residential areas and camps. Moreover, the delay in the implementation of the NRIS in the two regions in which RSC presence and exclusion is higher, such as Lazio and Lombardy, is particularly significant. In Lazio, the regional consultations started only in 2015, while in Lombardy it has not even been organized yet.