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  • Matteo Salvini at a Roma gypsies camp just outside of Rome, Italy, Oct. 18, 2017.

    Matteo Salvini at a Roma gypsies camp just outside of Rome, Italy, Oct. 18, 2017. | Photo: EFE

Published 17 July 2019

The Italian far-right war against non-white migrants now targets Roma, Sinti and Camminanti.

Italy's Interior Minister Matteo Salvini ordered Tuesday a report on the presence of Roma, Sinti and Camminanti settlements in order to "draw up an eviction plan" of non-Italian Roman.

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"I have asked all prefects for detailed and real-time updates on the Rome, Sinti and Caminanti illegal or theoretically 'regular' camps, to proceed, as planned, with closures, evictions, removals ... " Salvini said.

The Roma, Sinti and Camminanti are ethnic groups that have lived nomadically in Europe for hundreds of years. In Italy, it is estimated that there are between 120,000 and 180,000 people who belong to those communities. 

While more than half of them are formally Italian citizens, the Roma, Sinti and Camminanti are often victims of hate crimes and discrimination, especially those who are living in poverty and staying at unofficial settlements.

Among these, there were at least 26,000 people residing in emergency shelters in 2017, according to data from the July 21 Defense Association, as reported by the Deutsche Welle.

"The photo of the child of Primavalle, Rome's 5-star neighborhood, who is evicted into the street by his implacable (with the weak) police, who obeys Salvini, is the symbol of this government: there is no mercy with the poor and homeless, just to receive the news."

The League party leader, who has publicly acknowledged being an ethno-nationalist, has built his political career on the basis of questioning the presence of non-European or non-white migrants in Italy.

“The Roma community has long been a target of Salvini, whose rise to prominence often involved press appearances at Roma camps, which he has frequently threatened to raze. Few minorities are treated with much contempt in Italy as the Roma, who face prejudice and stereotypes that are deeply ingrained in the social consciousness," The British Guardian newspaper said in its report on the news.

In the last month, besides carrying out actions against migrant rescue ships such as the Sea Watch commanded by Captain Rackete, Minister Salvini closed the largest refugee camp in his country.

As part of his efforts to curb the presence of immigrants, the Italian interior minister now wants the Roma, Sinti and Camminanti to be sent to their countries of origin, which could become a very difficult task considering that these ethnic groups are often stateless.

Unfortunately, this type of surveillance policies against certain ethnic groups, which was a typical practice of the twentieth-century fascism, is not new.

In fact, in 2009, the European Committee of Social Rights (ECSR) stated that Italy had adopted policies against the Roma that violated the principle of non-discrimination and the right to housing.

"An ethnicity-based census would violate articles of the Italian Constitution and international treaties... Furthermore, Italy is already under observation by the European monitoring bodies for the use of discriminatory and segregating policies towards Roma and Sinti populations present in the national territory as well as in the persistent forced eviction operations," local media, Fanpage, recalled.

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