2010/10/04

ITALY/EU - Eliminate discrimination with objective criteria of choice

In economic ads we read often, "Italians only" or "no foreigners".

These restrictions constitute a discrimination because they make a difference depending on the national origin of people. Newspapers and Internet sites often include postings to lease apartments and jobs with phrases like "only for Italians”. This has the effect of limiting supply and rule out foreign nationals, only for their origin or provenance. The discriminatory nature of such practices was also highlighted by the promotion of equal treatment and removal of discrimination based on race or ethnic origin (UNAR at the Presidency of the Council of Ministers).

The "right to non-discrimination based on race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status" is set internationally by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (UN New York - 1966), ratified in Italy in 1978.
Italian domestic law, Legislative Decree No. 286, July 25, 1998 c.d: Consolidation Act on Immigration " provides that…any behavior constitutes discrimination that, directly or indirectly, involves a distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on race, color, descent or national or ethnic origin, beliefs or religious practices, having the purpose of effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, under conditions of equality, human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, social or cultural life and in every other sector of public life.

In any case, performs an act of discrimination....whoever imposes any worsening or refuses to provide goods or services to a foreigner only because of his status as a foreigner or belonging to a particular race, religion, ethnicity or nationality...and anyone.....unlawfully causing any worsening or refuses to provide access to employment, housing, education, training and social services and social assistance to foreigners legally residing in Italy only because of his status as a foreigner or of belonging to a particular race, religion, ethnicity and nationality. (Art. 43). It is a rapid and effective mechanism of protection: when the conduct of a private or public administration  produces discrimination, the court may, on application, order the cessation of the injurious behavior and adopt other measures appropriate under the circumstances, to remove the effects of discrimination and order the defendant to pay damages, also non capital damages (Art. 44). The action may be brought to court also by a personal part (without a lawyer). If the offender circumvents the implementation of any of the Judge also constitute criminal responsibilty (Art 388, first paragraph of the Criminal Code which provides for imprisonment up to three years). The prohibitions expressed are also confirmed by Legislative Decree 215, July 9, 2003 on equal treatment between persons irrespective of racial or ethnic origin.
   HRI states that the need to use classified ads is understandable in order to select the right person, but the seriousness and reliability do not depend on ethnic origin or nationality of the person. The limitation to solely Italian citizens does in itself not guarantee the fulfillment of contractual obligations relating to rental and labor, as is, for example, a selection based on references that allow accurate and effective assessments. It seems ultimately that such a system, accompanied by a proper and effective assessment, strengthens the role of references, while also helping to strengthen the sense of common citizenship and belonging, fostering respect for social rules and commitments negotiated among immigrants and the host society.

All those who publish classified ads and even the Press and Internet site operators are invited to prevent discrimination that may hinder coexistence, using only criteria “Persons Referenced “, “after selection”, and more in line with requirements of absolute respect for human dignity and objectivity of selections, with no differences in the mutual interest.

Bolzano, 16 August, 2010
Huma Rights International (HRI), onlus