End of the Road for Italy’s Illegal State of Emergency

Budapest, Rome, 2 May 2013: Italy’s highest court has upheld the ruling which declared the ‘Nomad State of Emergency’ unfounded, unmotivated and unlawful. The Cassation Court rejected the government’s appeal against the Council of State’s decision from November 2011.

The European Roma Rights Centre and a Romani family first launched a legal challenge to Italy’s highly controversial State of Emergency in 2008. The Cassation Court's decision marks the final stage of the legal proceedings at the Italian courts, and marks the government’s last opportunity to appeal the Council of State's earlier decision. The decision was made following a hearing on 26 March.

“This is the final nail in the coffin for Italy’s disastrous State of Emergency policy,” said Dezideriu Gergely, ERRC Executive Director. “We trust that the Italian authorities will stop the building works started under this policy, and will engage more positively with Roma, Sinti and Caminanti communities in the future, as outlined through the National Roma Inclusion Strategy.”
La Barbuta, a large formal camp isolated on the outskirts of Rome, is just one of the building/renovation projects started under State of Emergency legislation. Italian authorities also monitored camps and carried out censuses of residents (including children), taking photos and requesting documents to identify and record residents. Roma were forcibly evicted, excluded from education, fingerprinted, segregated, harassed and expelled. These actions brought about violations of the rights to adequate housing and education. The census also raised grave concerns about data protection.
You can find the full background to the Italian State of Emergency here
For more information, contact:

Sinan Gökçen
Media and Communications Officer
European Roma Rights Centre