March 20, 2011

VII. Detailed Recommendations

To the Government of Italy

  • Affirm the government’s repudiation of racism and xenophobia.
  • Publicly and unequivocally condemn instances of racist and xenophobic violence.
  • Develop and finance a national strategy on combating racism and xenophobia that sets out concrete measures and a timetable for implementation, and designates the government institution responsible for monitoring implementation.

To the Parliament

  • Reform the Criminal Code to incorporate the aggravating circumstance of hate motivation into article 61, and ensure that such reform reformulates the scope of the aggravating circumstance to:
  • Allow for mixed motives and the application of the aggravating circumstances in cases where violence has been committed “in whole or in part” due to bias; and
  • Expand the list of protected characteristics in the provision to include, at a minimum, sexual orientation and gender identity.
  • Ensure appropriate budgetary allocation for and implementation of a national strategy on combating racism, xenophobia, and hate crimes.
  • Act to create an independent police complaints body to investigate all allegations of human rights abuse by law enforcement personnel, including racism and discrimination.

To the Ministry of Justice

  • Promote reform of existing legislation on hate crimes:
  • Incorporate the aggravating circumstance of hate motivation into the Criminal Code;
  • Reform the wording of the provision to ensure that it allows for application of the aggravating circumstances in cases where violence has been committed “in whole or in part” due to racial or other hate bias; and
  • Expand the list of protected grounds, to include, at a minimum, sexual orientation and gender identity.
  • Collect and publish on a regular basis statistics on preliminary investigations, pending trials, verdicts, and sentences for crimes aggravated by racial bias. These statistics should be disaggregated by type of crime, region, and victim group.
  • Launch an outreach campaign to encourage reporting of racially-aggravated and other hate crimes, including raising awareness about the special justice residency permit available to irregular immigrants who are the victims of such crimes.
  • Promote reform to ensure that individuals who have benefitted from special justice residency permits are not prevented from seeking longer-term residency options.

To the Ministry of the Interior

  • Institute obligatory training in the basic police academies for new recruits, specialized courses, and in-service training on detecting, responding to, and investigating hate crimes, including racist and xenophobic violence.
  • Develop, in conjunction with the Ministry of Defense, specific guidelines for law enforcement personnel for the investigation of hate crimes, including racist and xenophobic violence.
  • Ensure that each police station has at least one officer, or a group of officers, commensurate with the population needs, with advanced specialized training in hate crimes, including racist and xenophobic violence.
  • Launch a public campaign, in collaboration with the Ministry of Justice, to encourage confidence in law enforcement among minority communities and reporting of hate crimes, including racist and xenophobic crimes.
  • Ensure that campaigns to encourage reporting of racist crimes include information about the special permit for undocumented migrants who are victims of a crime.
  • Ensure, in cooperation with the Ministries of Justice and Defense, that the data collection system is organized to record all suspected hate crimes, including racist and xenophobic violence, disaggregated by type of crime and victim group.
  • Publish on a regular, periodic basis statistics on racist and xenophobic violence, as well as other bias crimes.
  • Extend a request to the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) for technical assistance in training law enforcement officers in detecting and investigating hate crimes.
  • Conduct crime surveys, or provide financial support to outside institutions to conduct crime surveys, with a view to conducting them each year to better identify trends.

To the Ministry of Defense

  • Ensure that all Carabinieri receive obligatory training on detecting, responding to, and investigating bias crimes, including racist and xenophobic violence.
  • Develop, in conjunction with the Ministry of Interior, specific guidelines for law enforcement personnel for the investigation of bias crimes, including racist and xenophobic violence.
  • Ensure that each Carabinieri station has at least one officer, or a group of officers, commensurate with the needs of the population, with advanced specialized training in bias crimes, including racist and xenophobic violence.
  • Ensure that the data collection system is organized to record all suspected bias crimes, including racist and xenophobic violence, disaggregated by type of crime and victim group.

To National Office against Racial Discrimination (UNAR)

  • Ensure that the 2011 publicity campaign includes a specific focus on racist and xenophobic violence.
  • Ensure that the new system for recording complaints of racist and xenophobic violence is fully implemented, including through appropriate training for all those tasked with receiving and processing complaints.
  • Promote and participate in the efforts of the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Defense to institute and/or improve specialized training on detecting, investigating and prosecuting bias crimes, including racist and xenophobic violence, and to improve and make more transparent data collection on such crimes.

To the Higher Judicial Authority (Consiglio Superiore della Magistratura, CSM)

  • Ensure that the yearly cycle of continuing education courses includes in-depth sessions devoted to legislation and jurisprudence on racially motivated violence.
  • Encourage the creation of designated task forces of prosecutors specialized in racist crimes in sizeable public prosecutor’s offices, and the designation of at least one prosecutor in smaller public prosecutor’s offices.

To the European Union

  • The European Commission’s Directorate General for Fundamental Rights should assess Italy’s compliance with its obligations under regional human rights and European Union law, including the Charter of Fundamental Rights, with respect to preventing and prosecuting racist and other hate violence, and report its findings in its annual report on human rights in the European Union.
  • The European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) should be seized by the situation in Italy and consider appropriate action, including an own-initiative report assessing Italy’s compliance with EU law and principles in the field of anti-racism and discrimination.
  • The EU Fundamental Rights Agency should conduct an in-depth country investigation into racist and xenophobic violence in Italy, as a follow-up on the incident report it published on the May 2008 violence against Roma in Ponticelli, with a view to providing decision-making institutions such as the European Commission with information and analysis relevant to assessing Italy’s compliance with obligations to counter racist violence.

To the Council of Europe

  • The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance should use the opportunity of its ongoing focus on Italy to highlight the findings of this report and to reiterate its past recommendations to the Italian government on measures to counter racist and xenophobic discourse in politics; adequate implementation of criminal law provisions against racism and discrimination; and adequate training for all those involved in the criminal justice system.
  • The commissioner for human rights should continue to monitor closely the situation in Italy and consider a follow-up communication to the Italian authorities on action taken to implement the recommendations made in his April 2009 report on Italy.

To the United Nations

  • The High Commissioner for human rights should follow up on her March 2010 visit to Italy and inquire with the authorities about the steps taken to address her concerns and recommendations pertaining to the treatment of Roma and migrants and racist discourse and stereotyping in the media.
  • The Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism should continue to monitor closely and draw attention to the situation in Italy, including through urgent action and communications to the government on individual cases and on the steps authorities have taken to implement his recommendations pursuant to his visit in 2006. He should also consider conducting a follow-up visit to the country.