EU-CoE JUSTROM Pilot Programme

              Roma, Sinti and Caminanti (RSC) Women’s  Access to Justice in Italy  

Helsinki, March 22, 2017

Session 3: Lessons learnt from the implementation of the JUSTROM programme between October 2016 and March 2017

1. In mid-October 2016, UNAR (National Office against Racial Discrimination) promptly accepted to host the launch event of JUSTROM in Italy with the participation of national and local stakeholders, especially from Rome (Roma Capitale) and Naples, where the Legal Clinics have been later established, respectively.

2. In terms of data and access to services, mention has to be made of the following: On February 6, 2017, UNAR (National Office against Racial Discrimination) presented jointly with ANCI (standing for the National Association of Italian Municipalities) and ISTAT (standing for National Office of Statistics) the result of a two-year long project covering the years 2013-2015 (“Gli strumenti di conoscenza e le sfide dell'informazione statistica per la strategia d'inclusione di Rom, Sinti e Caminanti”). This pilot-project (focused on collecting qualitative and (proxy) quantitative data concerning Roma and Sinti in Italy, mainly in settlements) had the two-fold aim: to better understand Roma’s access to basic human rights services, including housing, education, health-care, and labour (first ISTAT-led work-stream); and to monitor all existing housing solutions of Roma and Sinti in the Italian Municipalities with over 15,000 inhabitants (i.e. private houses, social housing, settlements, and so forth) (second ANCI-led work-stream)[1]

3.         ANCI estimates approximately 516 settlements in Italy  – though of a differing nature (Most settlements (48.2%) are of a spontaneous nature; and about 12% more refer to spontaneous settlements - as later recognized/tolerated). 

-                      78.2% of settlements are stable.

-                      In Latium region, 30% of settlements are precarious while in Campania they are mainly permanent.

-                      61.9% of settlements are located in public spaces;

-                      60.4% of RSC live in caravan, and 9.2% live in abandoned buildings. 

-                      In Latium, there are 7,260 people in settlements, while in Campania are 4,061.

-           As for the origin of the settlements, about half of them dates back to 1994; and the lifespan of 30% of them ranges between 11 - 20 years. 

-           While basic services such as water and electricity are available in 70% of settlements and public transportation is available to nearly half of settlements, other social services remain limited.[2]

4.         At the end of 2014, overall figures indicate that 29,435 RSC live in settlements; and from a HR standpoint, their legal status remains a matter of concern since in the same family, members usually hold different legal statuses (EU citizens, Non-EU citizens, de facto stateless, de jure stateless, Italian citizens, refugees) with a different access to basic HR services.   

-                      At a municipality level, Rome is the Italian municipality with the largest number of settlements (both authorized and spontaneous) with 71 “camps”, while the Municipality of Naples counts 8, “only”. 

-                      In both Naples and Rome, settlements are mainly located in the “core area” of the two cities (71 and 6 settlements, respectively) - and not in the “ring” area (standing for outskirts).

-                      In 2015, estimates indicate the presence of about 7,500 Roma people in Rome and about 2,500 in Naples.   

5.         In light of this, the two Italian JUSTROM Teams conducted between February and March 2017, a re-assessment exercise (this is always on-going  - somehow), which resulted in the following:

-                      The situation and needs are very heterogeneous between Rome and Naples and within communities and families. It is thus not possible to provide a uniform formula and course of action.

-                      Against this background, overall concerns mainly refer to: legal status (including statelessness, passport renewal, Kyenge Decree); lack of access to housing, health-care, education and employment; institutional discrimination; and domestic violence.

6.         Following the June 2016 local elections, the new Mayor has decided to effectively focus on how to overcome the settlement situation. In June 2017, the Municipality has adopted a local plan of action for Roma Social Inclusion, which mentions and considers JUSTROM. They have started working on three settlements. In particular we have provided legal advise with regard to the first settlement. Soon they will start working on the second and so forth. We plan to keep working with them, as appropriate. 

7.         Along these lines, Naples Town Councillor on Social Policies signed an associate partner form and followed closely JUSTROM from the outset.

8.         The situation of Roma people and relevant problems greatly vary within  settlements and among those living in housing and trailers.

9.         LOT 1 – Rome

The mobile Team has been covering the following settlements, though to a different extent: Campo Castel Romano”/Pontina:“Campo” Salviati 1, Campo Salviati 2 , Campo Gordiani, Campo Salone, Campo Monachina, Campo Gordiani, Campo River, Campo Candoni, Magliana Area, La Barbuta[3], Finocchio-Borghesiana,

10.       The Legal Clinic was initially located at our Lawyer’s firm and from December 2017 onwards it has been moved at UNHCR-Rome Office in Via Caroncini 19 (associate partner form signed in November 2017).

11.       LOT 2 - Naples

The mobile Team has been covering the following settlements: Gianturco area (Via delle Brecce - two settlements); Grazia Deledda Former School; Via del Riposo; Scampia; Giugliano-Ponte Riccio; Circumvallazione Esterna.

-           Between May 4 and May 12 JUSTROM got oral and in writing authorization to visit Grazia Deledda and Via Del Riposo settlements.

12.       Since the beginning, the Legal Clinic has been established at Carlo Levi-Ilaria Alpi School in via Baku’ 4, Scampia, Naples (associate partner form signed in July 2017). 

13.       Awareness-raising gatherings

During all awareness-raising events, there has been always great interest and expectations from communities. However approaches are totally different between Rome and Naples due to the differing communities.

14.       We also managed to organize a Training for Teachers of the penitentiary circuit in Rome (December 11-12, 2017) and a Training of Trainers for Legal Professionals from December 13 through December 15, 2017.

15.       Partnership agreements[4]

Under the first phase, we have been working with a variety of stakeholders, including National Bar Council, Naples Bar Council-HR Commission, and the new established Observatory on Poverty. Likewise we have submitted a variety of associate partners forms, of which many have been signed. Under JUSTROM 2, we do expect to extend and enhance the former ones while signing new ones, including with UNAR and ideally, given the main problems relating to legal status with key Embassies.

16.       Networking

In terms of contacts, confidence-building is essential and very time-consuming. Key partners remain Prefectures and Police HQs, local Authorities, and Embassies. Equally important are grass-root NGOs and all other key local authorities.   

17.       From a substantial law standpoint (As of February 28, 2018), the two Italian JUSTROM Teams have been dealing so far with a total of 184 and 85 cases of JUSTROM relevance[5], respectively:

-                      Most cases dealt with by Rome’s JUSTROM Team are of relevance for JUSTROM purposes, especially when considering the under-reporting and emergence of cases of gender-based discrimination and/or violence, - as aggravated by the inner multiple and intersecting discrimination characterizing Roma women.

-                      Please also note that women usually do not want to denounce partner of the author of violence, but just exit the circle of violence and find an alternative solution. The Rome Team has also been dealing with a case successfully settled defined “the erased”.

-                      As for the situation in Naples, the lack of awareness about rights by right-holders, especially women, is self-evident; and for the time being, formally, cases mainly relate to legal status (Kyenge Decree; residence permit; and fiscal code/driving license). 

-                      When it comes to legal status, it emerges in particular, among institutional stakeholders and the communities concerned, a general lack of awareness of the so-called Kyenge Decree (this happens especially in Naples and Giugliano).

-                      Moreover, while cases of GBV and exploitation, including child prostitution, are emerging in Rome, the code of silence in Naples remains very high (20 and 3, respectively).

18.       In terms of specific problems, it has to be mentioned the issue of pro bono pathway in lieu of legal aid scheme; access to work; the complexity of the issues and problems – and sometime with a domino effect; the bureaucracy behind pathways and the different approaches to be followed which vary from one place or Municipality to another:

-                      With regard to legal status, in an attempt to help people getting regularized, an outstanding issue is the money necessary to renew passports. Low incomes may constitute a concrete obstacle, which merits the utmost attention.

-                      Another issue is that people usually do not have just one issue/problem but many issues as is the case with a young mother in Naples, victim of family ill-treatment, with two children at a foster home and with a very problematic family in law.

-                      Women exiting violence just need a safe shelter and to work. Access to labour market is the issue at stake.

19. In terms of JUSTROM 1 final data, we:  

-           Informed 1,190[6] people; assisted 875 people - for a total of 892 cases; held 1,776 consultations; and 304 have been the complaints followed/filed.  

20. First results and possible way forward

The situation on the ground remains complex and fragmented.

As a way of examples, Roma Capitale is working on two of the three initial settlements to be closed in order to overcome the settlement system.

In Naples, a big arson affected Scampia settlement (being the oldest one) in August 2017. Various options are on the table.  

In Giugliano, last February 9, 2018 the Mayor announced that the eco-Village will not be built anymore. Other solutions for inclusion are to be clarified and indicated – hopefully in the course of next weeks.  

As mentioned at the outset, there is no a single common formula to be applied; approaches vary accordingly (escorting people to public Institutions; explaining pathways and rights; supporting them from a psychological standpoint, setting up synergies and networking).

In terms of feedback, this is something we cannot judge but if I may: on the one hand, people are sometimes too impatient and do not understand that bureaucracy-wise and judicial proceedings are very time-consuming; on the other hand, we are increasingly known and people have expectation, support us and look for us. Evidence of this emerges from last days when people keep coming to legal clinics and look for us despite this period of break.

-                      One week ago a group of scouts has contacted me because now we are know in some area and they would like to help us.

-                      In terms of impact, the principal in Scampia has declared publicly that Scampia needs JUSTROM and she would be willing to pay the Team to continue with this key work at grass-root level, should we stop the Programme: but this is not the case. And there is no need for that!!!!


The typology of cases mainly refers to: legal status (immigration and statelessness); institutional discrimination; family ill-treatment; and domestic violence.

-           Estimates indicate that in Italy Roma stateless people range between 3,000 and 10,000.

In terms of achievements, local Institutions have gotten to know us. The confidence-building process is ongoing and never stops. However, in positive terms, I would like to stress in particular the fruitful cooperation with the Police HQs, as well as with the Office of the General Public Prosecutor in Naples. 

In terms of partnerships, I would like to mention as follows: UNAR  (pending); Naples Municipality (signed); National Bar Council (pending); Naples Bar Council (internal elections and to be now re-submitted to the gender equality commission) (pending); Roma Capitale (JUSTROM included in the Plan and technical deliberation made. Pending the political deliberation, only); CPIA 1 – Adults school, close to Via Salone settlement and prison circuit (signed); Scampia School (Carlo Levi-Ilaria Alpi) (signed); UNHCR (signed); Rebibbia prison (pending); JUSTROM adhesion to Observatory on Poverty (submitted); Letter of acknowledgments for ASL NA 2 for their support in vaccination campaign.

Additional cooperation includes: Centro Lima; Arrevutammoce NGO; and Girasoli dell’Est, among others.

In the course of JUSTROM 2, upon Strasbourg authorization, there is a specific need to work with Embassies in a synergic way; Rome ordinary tribunals; besides strengthening existing synergies with UNAR; National Bar Council; local Bar Councils; prison circuits, and so forth.

In terms of (additional) issues, attention must be paid to: adult literacy; HRE among Non-Roma; and adequate access to health-care. 

 In conclusion, this Programme is proving to have a multiplier effect.

Many thanks,  

Maja Bova

[1] Operationally, 606 out of the 738 Municipalities concerned replied to ANCI’s questionnaire: 55 % of Roma and Sinti are at home, mainly in North-Eastern Italy and mostly in public housing solutions. In 163 Municipalities out of 206, 79% of Roma and Sinti live in settlements. Settlements are 516, mainly in Lombardy, Emilia-Romagna, Latium, Tuscany, Piedmont. 

[2] To download the publication, please refer to:  

[3] Please note that the term campo is commonly used and it is not intended for discriminatory purposes. Therefore, you will alternatively find the terms settlements and campo below.

[4] List of associate partner forms: UNAR; Naples Municipality; National Bar Council; Naples Bar Council; Roma Capitale; CPIA 1 – Adults school and prison circuit; Scampia School (Carlo Levi-Ilaria Alpi); UNHCR; Rebibbia prison; Observatory on Poverty; ASL NA 2 North.

[5] Please note that cases of discrimination and violence are considered in light of relevant EU Directives, CoE Conventions, including Istanbul Convention, international HR treaties as ratified by Italy, and Italian legislation, including Legislative Decrees No. 215-216/2003 - besides considering the specific sectoral legislation to be applied to each and every case.

[6] Needless to say, as a general rule, we have followed: Women; men; and entire family groups.