The European Parliament approved 336-220 a resolution branding Italy’s fingerprinting members of the country’s Roma community a direct act of racial discrimination, and called on Rome to bring the program to an immediate halt. Italy’s Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said the move was “politically motivated and based on prejudices” against the country. He said the program “does not target ethnic groups and is not inspired by racism but by the elementary need to identify anyone who does not have a valid document.”
The resolution demanded Italy “to refrain from collecting the fingerprints from Roma, including minors, as this would clearly constitute an act of discrimination based on race and ethnic origin.” It also “condemned utterly and without equivocation all forms of racism and discrimination faced by the Roma and those seen as ‘gypsies.'”
Italy’s right-wing government says the program is necessary to cut crime, avoid children being used for begging and help identify illegal immigrants for expulsion. An estimated 150,000 Roma live in Italy, mainly in squalid conditions in an estimated 700 encampments on the outskirts of Rome, Milan and Naples. Italian newspapers have published pictures of officials taking fingerprints from Roma in the Naples area, filing the prints according to religion, ethnicity and level of education. (BBC via Dzeno Association, July 14)
See our last posts on Italy and Europe’s fascist resurgence, and the Roma.
The treatment of the Roma is disgraceful.
Thanks for bringing this to my attention. I had no ideal that this was going on. As I was reading other blogs there was one that said that the Red Cross is working with Italian Police in fingerprinting Roma children. Is that true? I also found another great post on what is happening over at http://imagine2050.blogspot.com/2008/07/few-weeks-ago-i-was-enjoying-warm.html.
I thought you would be interested.