Zingari or Italiani?: Discrimination against Roma in Italy and the European Court of Human Rights

By Ziegenfuss, Deirdre | The George Washington International Law Review, January 1, 2011 | Go to article overview

Zingari or Italiani?: Discrimination against Roma in Italy and the European Court of Human Rights


Ziegenfuss, Deirdre, The George Washington International Law Review


I. INTRODUCTION

On May 14, 2008 in Naples, Italy, a gypsy camp was burning. A few days before, a local woman had told police that a gypsy (or "Roma") woman had entered her apartment and tried to steal her child.1 In retaliation, local residents attacked the camp, home to about 800 Roma, with iron bars and Molotov cocktails.2 The locals watched and applauded as the camp burned, chanting "fuori, fuori" ("out, out") and taunting firefighters that doused the blaze by shouting, "You put these fires out, we start them again[!]"3

A class of nine- to eleven-year-olds at a nearby primary school, asked by their teachers to reflect on this event, produced a series of drawings and essays supporting the violence.4 Roberto Maroni, Italy's interior minister, responded, "That is what happens when Gypsies steal babies."5 Umberto Bossi, head of the Northern League party (a key ally in former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's coalition government)6 said, "People are going to do what the political class cannot."7 The region's governor and Naples' mayor condemned the violence, but the camp was repeatedly attacked over the next two weeks.8

The Italian government's attitude towards the "Roma problem" has had the effect of inflaming anti-Roma sentiment in Italian cities, encouraging violence and racism. Some right-wing politicians are openly anti-Roma.9 Government policies have moved Roma to camps on the outskirts of Italian cities, isolating and segregating them from the rest of the population.10 Special legislation has targeted Roma, declaring their presence in Italy a cause of social harm requiring emergency action.11 In the face of popular sentiment against the Roma, the Italian government has caved to its constituents, seeking to salve or exploit Italians' fears rather than attempt to solve the problems of Roma immigration and integration.12

This Note argues that the Italian Roma must look outside Italy to ensure protection of their fundamental human rights. Specifically, Roma in Italy should look to the European community, where Roma human rights issues are being given increased attention. So far, most of that attention has focused on eastern Europe, where Roma are a larger presence.13 Roma in Italy also merit the atten- tion of European human rights institutions, despite their smaller numbers, because they also face discriminatory conditions: housing and immigration laws, as Roma rights groups have pointed out, disparately disadvantage Roma and push them to the fringes of Italian society.14 Furthermore, Italian legislation targeting the Roma as a cause of social harm sets a dangerous precedent in a country where polls show widespread popular hostility towards the Roma. Both these problems-laws that disparately affect Roma and laws that target Roma-can be addressed under expanding European anti-discrimination norms.

Section II provides background about the Roma and the Italian legal framework in which they live. Part A outlines the history and culture of the Roma, information that is helpful to understanding why their integration into European culture has been problematic. Part B discusses Italian popular attitudes towards the Roma and the way politicians involve them in political discourse. Part C describes the Italian laws that disproportionately affect Roma, and Part D outlines the 2008 legislation specifically targeting Roma and criticism of it. Part E describes the human rights to which Roma are entitled under Italian and European Law, as well as the methods of enforcing these rights, particularly in the European Court of Human Rights. Section III argues that a 2007 case, D.H. and Others v. Czech Republic, signals a trend in European anti-discrimination law that could benefit the Roma of Italy. After outlining these basic concepts, this Note will argue that the European Court of Human Rights provides the best outlet for Italian Roma seeking protection of their basic human rights.

II. BACKGROUND

A. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Zingari or Italiani?: Discrimination against Roma in Italy and the European Court of Human Rights
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.