The United Nations condemns the Italian police: “Too many cases of racism, Parliament should intervene”. The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) said it was “concerned by the numerous reports of widespread use of racial profiling by Italian police”. It therefore recommended the adoption of a national law prohibiting such practices.
Too many reports of racial profiling, too many cases of abuse and mistreatment of minorities by police. This led the United Nations to intervene, recommending that Italy adopt rules to prevent these incidents and hold those responsible accountable. They also highlighted that many high-ranking officials and politicians use hate speech and racism despite laws already in place prohibiting it.
The report comes from the Association for Juridical Studies on Immigration (ASGI), which last July asked the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination to urge Italy to introduce specific laws to combat racial profiling by the police. On 31 August, the CERD accepted this request and expressed its concern in its ‘Concluding Observations’. The document also addresses many other issues, such as combating labour exploitation by gang-masters and improving access to education and health care for ethnic minority communities. However, as mentioned above, the most extensive part of the document is devoted to racial profiling and how to combat it.
Racial profiling is the phenomenon whereby a person’s ethnicity disproportionately influences how they are treated by the police; for example, when a stop or arrest is made solely (or primarily) on the basis of a person’s ethnicity, without any other more reasonable justification. The victims of profiling are always members of ethnic minorities. In Italy, ASGI reports that there are no explicit laws to prohibit and combat this practice.
On the cover photo, Undocumented migrants protest in the town of Ventimiglia on the French-Italian border (September 21, 2015) © Dmytro Surkov/Shutterstock.com