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Italy's Move For The Displacement Of The Unwanted

Italy’s Move For The Displacement Of The Unwanted

By Ishpreet Chadha
The Digest, Associate Editor

In August, 100 illegal Roma settlements were shutdown across Italy. The Roma, also known as Gypsies, have been residing in Italy, as well as in other European countries. The Milanese government plans to take action, and intends to close authorized and unauthorized camps where the Roma live.

The Roma came to Eastern Europe around the 14th century, and it is estimated that their population is two to five million. An article in Time magazine describes whom the Roma or Gypsies are, and how their identity has changed over time. These wandering people have never settled in one country, and have a difficult time finding employment and keeping homes for an extended period. The Roma have faced discrimination for centuries, and the movement now to remove them from their settlement is part of the ongoing way the Roma live.

In the European Union, citizens are free to move between countries of the European Union, but since the open borders policy of the European Union have increased so has the number of Roma in Italy. The Financial Times reported that the Italian government plans to pass legislation that removes Roma in an attempt to dislocate unwanted citizens out of the European Union. France is also in support of the legislation.

According to The New York Times, two efforts have been made to pass government decrees that target the Roma population. The first decree in 2007 sought to allow European Union citizens to be removed after three months if they were unable to support themselves. In 2008, a second decree was proposed to authorize removal of certain European Union citizens for public safety.

The mayor of Rome also supports efforts to dislocate nomadic Roma. He intends to close approximately 200 illegal camps in September, and place approximately 6,000 Roma in twelve camps, while others will have to find alternative places live. At least one source indicated that the removal of the Roma is being done because of upcoming elections, and the efforts are an act to gain candidate popularity.

This legislation could be beneficial to the Roma if there are able to find alternative living because the camps in which they are currently residing in are hazardous. If there is ways for the Roma to find permanent homes and stable schooling it would be benefit to them.

For more information, please see:

The removal of the Roma has drawn criticism from the European Parliament. According to Mariolina Mioli, an official in Milan’s Office of Family, Schools and Social Policies, it is necessary that the Roma not stay in the camps because of the poor conditions. The Office of Family, Schools and Social Policies intends to help the Roma find alternative living arrangement as well as financial assistance.

For more information, please see:

The New York Times, “Italian Cities Plan to Shut Roma Camps,” 3 September 2010

Financial Tiimes, “Italy Pushes Law Driven by Roma Influx,” 10 September 2010

Time, “Who are Gypsies, and Why Is France Deporting Them” 26 August 2010