Sunday, June 19, 2011

An Appeal to the European Union to Stop Racism and Xenophobia in Italy

Do not say you did not know. Do not say you were not told. Do not say ignorance was an excuse. That was what some claimed about the Holocaust in the 30's. Well they knew then but deliberately turned a blind eye but not again.

Well now we know and now we have been told. Even worse, unless this is prevented, we know where it can end up. So whilst politicians across Europe play the race card, campaign against multi-culturalism or turn a blind eye to xenephobia of all forms we must all stand up for multi-culturalism, anti-racism and anti-fascism. Immigrants, members of ethnic minorities, travellers, Romanis, Jews, Muslims and Gay people are not responsible for the economic crisis and scapegoating only ends up with horrendous acts of barbarism unless we prevent it in the first place.

Printed below is an appeal from Everyone Group.
The Italian government has approved an emergency decree which foresees the immediate expulsion of all illegal immigrants, and at the same time has extended the detention period in the CIEs to 18 months. According to hundreds of witness accounts (many of which have been published in the national newspapers) these Centres of Identification and Expulsion are authentic concentration camps. The decree also allows for the forced expulsion of EU citizens.

We are talking about a manhunt that is taking place throughout Italy, where the police are rounding up Roma citizens and migrants, identifying them, and charging them with every kind of offence (from begging to insulting a public official, from illegal occupation of public land to resisting police officers).  The magistrates, therefore, basing their sentences on convictions that are often served through “penal decrees” (trials without the right to a defence) or by summary judgement, (an immediate trial that does not allow those accused to defend themselves properly, forcing them to negotiate a reduced prison sentence even when innocent) can order expulsions for reasons of "social dangerousness".

18 months in a CIE is harsh punishment, because after a few weeks in detention most of the migrants carry out acts of self-harm and many even contemplate suicide (often seeing their plan through). Poor immigrant families often experience the further tragedy of seeing their children taken away from them, with no opportunity to protest. The children are taken into care, and some are later adopted by Italian families. The European Union must avoid falling prey to the same indifference that allowed the Holocaust and other persecutions in modern history to take place.

 We are asking the EU authorities to organize a committee of inquiry to inspect the conditions of persecution that migrants and refugees are living in in Italian cities. The committee should observe the waste of European funds allocated to immigration; the spread of intolerant ideologies promoted by politicians and the media; and the failure to implement programme to combat racism, neo-Nazism, antiziganism, anti-Semitism and racial ideologies. The new agreements that the Italian Minister of the Interior (a top man in a party that combats foreigners and immigrants without posing ethical limits) is about to sign with Libya, will result in more pushing back of refugees, or the blocking of groups of refugees fleeing from persecution.

This is today’s Italy, where the Italian people are becoming accustomed to the serious discrimination taking place against the Roma, poor Africans and migrants, and the many episodes of anti-Semitism, xenophobia and homophobia. EveryOne Group (whose activists have also been subjected to institutional persecution for their commitment to defending the rights of minorities) is calling on the EU institutions to ensure that this country - which has become a place of intolerance in which the germs of racial hatred grow - does not contaminate European culture and lead it back to cruel times, where the lives of human beings belonging to an ethnic or social minority become worthless before the law, the media, culture and public opinion.

  EveryOne Group - Contact:+39 334 3449180 :: +39 393 4010237 :: +39 331 ::

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