Associazione 21 Luglio secure legal and political support to protect 73 Roma families evicted from the municipality of Giugliano

On the 5th of April 2019, the municipality of Giugliano (a small town close to Naples) issued an urgent ordinance for the removal of a community of 450 Roma people of Bosnian origin that had been living in Giugliano for over 30 years. This was done without a plan for rehousing the families.

On the morning of 10 May 2019, law enforcement agencies carried out the forced eviction of all the families living in the settlement. SRT Grantee Associazione 21 Luglio, who has been closely monitoring the situation, documented that the 73 families who were forcibly removed from their homes and schools, have settled in an abandoned industrial zone with no shelter, clean water or sanitary facilities. They also noted that both prior to and during the eviction operation, the Roma people were verbally threatened with removal of their local registration and that their children would be taken into care should they not leave the area.

Associazione 21 Luglio have been lobbying the municipal and regional governments, and the Department for Civil Protection to take action to mitigate the very serious risks to which the 73 families are exposed. They have gained support through petitions and press conferences and have taken MPs to the site, gaining wide media coverage. In addition to this, Associazione 21 luglio supported three people in lodging an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights in partnership with the European Roma Rights Center. The Court has applied urgent measures under Rule 39, asking the Italian Government to provide temporary accommodation for the minors involved and their parents, without separating them, thus recognising the right to family unity (ECHR press release). A further 43 people have agreed to apply to the Court with their cases.

The mayor of Giugliano has promised to make funds available to the families, to be used for rental of accommodation. Associazione 21 Luglio, together with the MPs, is asking the Mayor to set up temporary emergency facilities, to accommodate the families and continues to monitor the situation.

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