Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions (COHRE) v. Italy, Complaint No. 58/2009

The complaint was registered on 29 May 2009 and declared admissible by the European Committee of Social Rights on 8 December 2009. The complainant organisation asked the Committee to find Italy in violation of various provisions of the European Social Charter (revised) in that: the adoption of “Pacts for Security” (as of November 2006) and of so called “Nomad” state of emergency Decrees (as of May 2008) and their implementing Orders and Guidelines constitute deliberate retrogressive steps which fail to address the violations found by the Committee in Complaint No. 27/2004 and in subsequent conclusions relating to the right to housing of Roma and Sinti in Italy;

- the adoption of “Pacts for Security” (as of November 2006) and of so called “Nomad” state of emergency Decrees (as of May 2008) and their implementing Orders and Guidelines constitute deliberate retrogressive steps which fail to address the violations found by the Committee in Complaint No. 27/2004 and in subsequent conclusions relating to the right to housing of Roma and Sinti in Italy;

- both de facto and de jure segregation regarding the housing of Roma and Sinti, as well as obstacles to gain or retain legal status for Roma and Sinti, have worsened their living conditions, whereas the Revised Charter requires a coordinated approach to combat poverty and social exclusion;

- furthermore, the policy and practice of segregating Roma and Sinti families in “ghettos” by using discriminatory identification procedures, denies them access to adequate housing and protection of family life;

- reference to “nomads” as a threat to national security has contributed to the racist and xenophobic propaganda relating to emigration and immigration of Roma and Sinti. As a result, Roma and Sinti migrants have been deprived of protection and assistance notably as regards access to housing and in cases of forced evictions from their housing or expulsions from the territory.

The Italian Government asked the Committee to find that the situation of Roma and Sinti in Italy does not give rise to a violation of the Revised Charter as the Italian authorities have invested resources and taken numerous concrete measures to effectively guarantee Article E combined with Articles 16, 19, 30 and 31.

A public hearing was held on 21 June 2010.

The decision on the merits was adopted on 25 June 2010. The Committee unanimously concluded that Italy was in breach of Article E (the clause on non discrimination) in conjunction with Articles 16 (Right of the family to social, legal and economic protection), Articles 19 §§1, 4 c. and 8 (Right of migrant workers and their families to protection and assistance), 30 (Right to be protected against poverty and social exclusion) and 31 (Right to housing).

At its 1096th meeting the Committee of Ministers adopted Resolution CM/Res/ChS(2010)8  with regard to this case acknowledging the Italian authorities commitment “to ensure the effective implementation of the rights deriving from the Revised European Social Charter for every individual, including for persons belonging to the Roma communities.”

For more information consult the Collective Complaints webpage