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Race riots in Italy highlight the urgent need to respect migrants’ human rights January 11, 2010

Posted by cristobalgomez in Uncategorized.
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The European Network Against Racism (ENAR) is seriously concerned about the violent riots which took place over the last days in the city of Rosarno in Italy (Calabria region), following injuries inflicted onto two immigrants by an unknown party using air rifles.
Whilst firmly condemning this violence, ENAR is worried that these events reveal the consequences of long-lasting xenophobic and anti-immigrant discourse and policies by the Italian government as well as by mainstream political parties. The emergence of an anti-immigrant climate in Italy has fuelled prejudice and tensions between migrants and the local population, thereby hindering integration and social cohesion.
In addition, most of the migrants in this region of Italy live and work in subhuman conditions. Research by NGO Médecins sans Frontières on the work and living conditions of seasonal workers in Southern Italy, highlighted in ENAR Italy’s 2008 Shadow report on racism1, shows that 90% of interviewees had no work contract although they were legally staying in Italy and that seasonal workers are often exploited, receiving a low pay and working under the pressure of “mediators” or employers.
The real “emergency” is not, as the Minister of the Interior and leader of Lega Nord Mr. Maroni believes, the presence of undocumented migrants. It is rather the widespread criminal economy that exploits immigrants and xenophobic legislation that forces them in a state of permanent precariousness and absence of rights. ENAR calls on the Italian government to ensure that racist and xenophobic acts are not tolerated and that the fundamental rights of migrants are respected. It has a responsibility to ensure that every person enjoys the basic human rights to health and housing, while respecting equal rights granted by
Italian laws to all workers, regardless of their nationality or ethnic origin.
Luciano Scagliotti, ENAR Board member for Italy, said: “We are extremely worried by the tensions exposed by the riots in Rosarno. They have brought to light the damaging consequences that fuelling antiimmigrant sentiments can have. Italian politicians must realise this and take urgent steps to put human rights back at the centre of the immigration debate in Italy.”

The European Network Against Racism (ENAR) is seriously concerned about the violent riots which tookplace over the last days in the city of Rosarno in Italy (Calabria region), following injuries inflicted ontotwo immigrants by an unknown party using air rifles.Whilst firmly condemning this violence, ENAR is worried that these events reveal the consequences oflong-lasting xenophobic and anti-immigrant discourse and policies by the Italian government as well as bymainstream political parties. The emergence of an anti-immigrant climate in Italy has fuelled prejudiceand tensions between migrants and the local population, thereby hindering integration and social cohesion.In addition, most of the migrants in this region of Italy live and work in subhuman conditions. Researchby NGO Médecins sans Frontières on the work and living conditions of seasonal workers in SouthernItaly, highlighted in ENAR Italy’s 2008 Shadow report on racism1, shows that 90% of interviewees had nowork contract although they were legally staying in Italy and that seasonal workers are often exploited,receiving a low pay and working under the pressure of “mediators” or employers.The real “emergency” is not, as the Minister of the Interior and leader of Lega Nord Mr. Maroni believes,the presence of undocumented migrants. It is rather the widespread criminal economy that exploitsimmigrants and xenophobic legislation that forces them in a state of permanent precariousness andabsence of rights. ENAR calls on the Italian government to ensure that racist and xenophobic acts are nottolerated and that the fundamental rights of migrants are respected. It has a responsibility to ensure thatevery person enjoys the basic human rights to health and housing, while respecting equal rights granted byItalian laws to all workers, regardless of their nationality or ethnic origin.Luciano Scagliotti, ENAR Board member for Italy, said: “We are extremely worried by the tensionsexposed by the riots in Rosarno. They have brought to light the damaging consequences that fuelling antiimmigrantsentiments can have. Italian politicians must realise this and take urgent steps to put humanrights back at the centre of the immigration debate in Italy.”

The European Network Against Racism (ENAR) is a network of NGOs working to combat racism in all EU member states and

represents more than 600 NGOs spread around the European Union. ENAR aims to fight racism, racial discrimination,

xenophobia and related intolerance, to promote equality of treatment between EU citizens and third country nationals, and to

link local/regional/national and European initiatives.

For further information, contact:

– Georgina Siklossy, ENAR Communication and Press Officer

Phone: +32-2-229 35 70 – E-mail: georgina@enar-eu.org – Website: http://www.enar-eu.org

– Luciano Scagliotti, Board member for ENAR Italy

Phone: +39 011 522 9817 – Email: lscagliotti@enar-it.org

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