Italy: Forced eviction in Rome leaves dozens homeless, including children

The forced eviction of some 40 people – half of them young children, including several babies – from a Roma settlement in a Rome suburb this morning is a blatant violation of international human rights law and standards, said Amnesty International.

At around 7:30am, local police and municipal authorities moved in on the makeshift camp of shacks and tents in the park of Val D’ala, in the Italian capital’s north-eastern suburbs. They quickly razed the settlement with bulldozers, leaving the dozens of Romanian Roma living there with nowhere to go.

Matteo de Bellis, Amnesty’s Italy campaigner, who is currently with the community as they seek redress from municipal authorities, said:

“Today’s shocking demolition in Val D’ala is an eviction in violation of international human rights standards – leaving these people homeless and destitute. There was no formal advance notice of eviction or consultation with the community, and no suitable alternative housing has been offered.”

The only mention of alternative housing was an offer from the municipal authorities to house just the women and children in a local shelter – which Amnesty understands is already full to capacity.

When pressed by Amnesty, local authorities were unable to produce a formal justification for the eviction, which they attempted to justify based on environmental grounds and concern for the local community.

Matteo de Bellis added:

“The local authorities are simply passing the buck. We will stand firm with the forcibly evicted community and local NGOs until the authorities provide real answers and alternative housing for the families they have made homeless. Long-term solutions are needed to ensure forced evictions like this are not repeated.”

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