Italy’s League: Roma census will ‘help’ community
The Italian government’s plan to carry out a census of Roma in the country is intended to “help” not harm the Roma community, Italy’s Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Guglielmo Picchi said Wednesday.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today Show, the far-right League politician hit back against accusations the plan — which includes expelling those who hold foreign nationality — is discriminatory, claiming the goal is to dismantle “all illegal camps, where mainly Roma live” and to integrate them into society.
A large number of Roma people live “off theft and petty crime” in illegal camps across Italy, Picchi said, with authorities unaware of their citizenship status or whether their children are going to school.
“Our plan is to dismantle camps and integrate them. It’s our duty to check who they are and where they live in order to provide them with social services,” Picchi argued.
“In order to have rule of law in our country we cannot allow anyone to not send their children to school,” he said, adding that the plan is “aimed at helping [the Roma] rather than doing any harm” and that bilateral agreements with other countries allowed Italy to “send back” those who have committed a crime.
The Roma community is an “easy target” for the League, Roma MEP Soraya Post told the BBC. “They are not doing this to other groups, but to people who don’t fit in their society,” she said, calling the government plan “very dangerous.”