Archive for the ‘Italy’ Category

URGENT CALL TO ACTION

Italy, February 18th, 2010

ITALY, TWO HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS FROM EVERYONE GROUP RECEIVE A PENAL ORDER (A CRIMINAL CONVICTION WITHOUT GOING TO TRIAL) FOR THEIR HUMANITARIAN WORK: “IT IS THE FIRST TIME IN THE WORLD”

THE NEWS GIVEN BY THE HUMAN RIGHTS ORGANIZATION: “A CONVICTION BASED ON INACCURATE EVIDENCE GIVEN BY A POLICE OFFICER. IT IS THE UMPTEENTH EPISODE OF ABUSE OF POWER BY THE ITALIAN AUTHORITIES”

EVERYONE GROUP APPEALS TO THE UNITED NATIONS HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS, THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION AND THE FRONTLINE FOUNDATION: “WE ARE ASKING FOR SUPPORT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS, VICTIMS IN ITALY OF VIOLENCE, INTIMIDATION AND JUDICIARY ABUSE OF POWER, A WORSE SITUATION THAN IN TOTALITARIAN REGIMES WHERE THE INDIVIDUAL IS AT LEAST GUARANTEED THE RIGHT TO DEFEND HIMSELF

On February 12th, 2010, Roberto Malini and Dario Picciau, co-presidents with Matteo Pegoraro of EveryOne Group, international human rights organization based in Italy, received notification of a penal order, with the prison sentence commuted into a heavy fine. In the decree, issued on 5/11/09 by the Pesaro Justice Court – Office of the Magistrate for Preliminary Investigations – condemns the activists for the offence punishable by art. 110, 340 of the Italian Criminal Code, because on December 20th, 2008 “in complicity with each other, they caused the interruption, or at least disturbed a police operation aimed at identifying three foreign citizens, and used abusive and disparaging language towards the officers from Pesaro-Urbino Police Headquarters, and interfered in the carrying out of their duty.”

“It is the umpteenth episode of abuse from the authorities (and in particular from the Police Headquarters) we have been subjected to in Pesaro and in Italy” say the co-presidents of the Group. ”Throughout 2008 and in the early months of 2009 we were repeatedly summoned to police headquarters because of our humanitarian work in defence of the Roma community living in our Country”.

After the protests of our Organization for the endless camp clearances of Roma families (without any offer of assistance) and after our protests over the illegitimate expulsion of a group of Afghan refugees who had applied for asylum, the Pesaro Police Commissioner issued Roberto Malini a verbal warning on the following grounds: “Seeing the Roma are notorious criminals, I consider EveryOne Group part of a criminal organization and I invite it to cease its activity”. Following this warning, the activists of EveryOne Group were subjected to various episodes of intimidation and provocation, while the brutal operations aimed at driving the Roma out of the city continued. The attitude of the Police Commissioner and the anti-Roma programme carried out by the Pesaro authorities have been the subject of various Parliamentary questions, leading to the transfer of the Police Commissioner to a different detachment.

Following the camp clearance (in mid winter) of the last Roma families to take refuge in Pesaro, EveryOne Group filed a complaint to the Public Prosecutor’s Office at the same Pesaro Justice Court – reporting both the violation of human rights and the open hostility shown towards human rights defenders.

“We were expecting the Prosecutor’s Office to investigate the abuse committed by the local authorities towards the Roma community”, say Malini, Pegoraro and Picciau, “actions that have led to several deaths (due to the hardship suffered by seriously ill people, who were suddenly left without a shelter over their heads), miscarriages (due to the stress and fear experienced by the pregnant women faced with so many armed police officers) and serious humanitarian emergencies.

Instead, the same authorities made use of a legal instrument that exists only in Italy, an instrument that violates article 24 of the Italian Constitution. We are talking about a conviction without a trial, yet another intimidatory tool used against human rights defenders which allows an untrue statement made by a police officer to become law without the accused being given the opportunity to contradict him.

We are aware that there is a danger of falling into a legal ‘black hole’, but we have decided to oppose the sentence and we will continue to oppose it on all levels, even if this means taking the case before the European Court of Human Rights. It is a fundamental principle of civility and democracy which does not only concern this episode, but international activism as whole, and the endless obstacles and dangers involved in defending the lives and the dignity of our most vulnerable citizens”.

As for the case in question, Roberto Malini and Dario Picciau say “on the evening of December 20th, 2008 a police officer was talking in an arrogant manner to a young Roma man, while his colleague waited in the patrol car in front of the bar to be served with sandwiches and drinks. We greeted the young man, Nico Grancea, who we knew very well seeing we had been offering him assistance for over year. In answer, we received from the first officer a brusque and threatening invitation to show some identification. We have had dealings with the police force for years and therefore have sufficient experience to know not to rise to the bait. The police officer took down our details without issuing any notification. The magistrates investigating the case did not listen to what the owner of the bar, Mr. Grancea, or the EveryOne activists had to say. The Pesaro investigating magistrate then decided for “a conviction without a trial”.

“Through our appeal and the relevant procedures for defending our humanitarian work” says EveryOne Group, “we intend to bring the case to the attention of the authorities in charge of protecting human rights defenders, in order for them to establish efficient organisms that defend the work of activists who are forced to operate in extremely difficult conditions”.

On February 14th, 2010 Malini and Picciau’s case was brought up by the co-president of EveryOne, Matteo Pegoraro, in Dublin, during the 5th Frontline Platform for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, which EveryOne Group (the only European organization) had been invited to attend along with 99 other human rights defenders from all over the world – activists who have received several threats during the course of their human rights activities. “We are appealing to the Frontline Foundation (which protects human rights activists all over the world in cooperation with the United Nations and European institutions) to take up our case. We hope too that the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navanethem Pillay, and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, Margaret Sekaggya, – always very alert to episodes of this kind – to immediately intervene against this judiciary abuse, which has no precedent in European activism. We will fight” says Pegoraro, “to ensure that these two human rights defenders – who have been involved for many years in difficult campaigns in defence of minority groups – are not subjected to this violation, even more so if we consider that as co-presidents of EveryOne, they were operating in Pesaro and on Italian territory on behalf of the European MP, Viktoria Mohacsi with the precise aim of investigating the behaviour of the authorities towards the Roma people in Italy.

On behalf of our group, we invite civil society, the politicians who are more alert to matters of fundamental rights, the human and civil rights associations and organizations and the European and international institutions and authorites, to express their criticism of an action that goes against all the charters on the human rights of the individual – as well as violating the international laws on the protection and freedom of action and movement of human rights defenders”.

For further information:

EveryOne Group

+39 393 4010237 :: +39 334 3449180 :: :: +39 331 3585406

www.everyonegroup.com :: info@everyonegroup.com

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Sent by Maurizio Cecconi

Dear friends,

The reason why we’ve decided to contact you is because we believe that your support to our cause is vital. It could help us raise the profile of the struggle for equality that we are fighting in our own country.

We are outraged and appalled at the wave of homophobia we are seeing growing every day, and at the increasing number of hate crimes being committed against people because of their sexual orientation, both in Italy and abroad. The recent cases in Italy as in the rest of Europe are testimony to this awful spread in violence.

But we would like to draw your attention on something which might be happening at thousands of kilometres away, but nevertheless affect us all because it shows how barbaric, violent and homophobic our so-called “Western civilisation” is becoming.

The Italian parliament just yesterday scrapped a bill aimed at protecting gay people from hate crimes, on the grounds that it would violate the country’s national constitution. A debate over the introduction of such legislation had stemmed from the wave of murders, beatings, verbal aggressions and acts of bullying against LGBT people occurred in Italy in the last few months.

However, the Italian parliament’s justification for throwing out the bill – which would have raised penalties against acts of violence motivated by homophobia – was simply absurd: they said that it would give “unequal protection” to gays compared to other groups, violating the principle of equality.

A number of MPs even motivated their choice by saying that the very expression “sexual orientation” is in itself “ambiguous”, as it could include things like paedophilia, zoophilia, necrophilia, incest and so on. And they didn’t simply state it verbally, but put it writing in a legal document that the majority of the parliament then approved.

This is delirious and insulting for our own dignity of Italians, but also for the dignity of every gay, lesbian, bisexual and transsexual person living anywhere in Europe and in the world. It effectively touches each and every one of us living in the EU, because we are all part of the same Union, and there are basic principles of equality and respect that all of our governments are bound to respect.

Following the bill rejection, the United Nation High Commissioner for Human Rights said that the Italian Parliament’s stance is a “step backward for human rights in Italy”.

We ask you to support us in our battle for equality, by helping us organise and hold a protest/demonstration in front of the Italian embassy as soon as possible, involving as many people as possible to have our voice clearly heard.

Helping us protect LGBT rights in Italy today also means protecting your own rights to be yourselves, to live and to exist tomorrow in every part of the world.

Arcigay – Gay & Lesbian Italian Association

www.causes.com/decriminalisation

www.arcigay.it

Italian Embassies All Around The World
http://www.esteri.it/MAE/EN/Ministero/Rappresentanze/default.htm?LANG=EN

Write An E-Mail To:

Giorgio Napolitano – President of Italian Republic
https://servizi.quirinale.it/webmail/

Gianfranco Fini – President of House of Representatives
fini_g@camera.it

Renato Schifani – President of Senate
schifani_r@posta.senato.it

Silvio Berlusconi – Prime Minister
http://www.camera.it/altresezionism/1568/1567/email.asp?recipient=berlusconi_s@camera.it
or
berlusconi_s@camera.it

Mara Carfagna – Minister for Equal Opportunities
antidiscriminazioni@pariopportunita.gov.it


17.08.09: a foreign gay couple is attacked by a mob of youths in Agropoli, near Naples.
19.08.09: a gay singer is badly beaten up by a thug in Rome.
24.08.09: a thug attacks a gay couple in Rome, stabbing one and smashing a bottle on the other’s head.
24.08.09: a gay couple is abused and beaten by a neighbour over a parking quarrel in Rimini.
26.08.09: a gay disco, the Qube, host to the most famous gay night in the capital city, is the target of an incendiary attack.
28.09.09: a gay couple living in Caserta, near Naples, is abused by their neighbours who threathen to make a petition to throw them out from their block of flats.
Italian Gays Under Siege
This gruesome chain of events sounds like a war bulletin, given the close proximity in time, and while is in itself terribly shocking and demanding immediate attention from the gay community and the dormant Italian authorities, it’s only the tip of the iceberg – Italian gay organization Arcigay claims that since January of this year, 56 episodes of homophobic attacks have already been reported. And the key word here is ‘reported’, as we only know too well that not everyone is willing to report crimes for whatever reason.
The question is: how many more? how many more gays have to be verbally abused, phisically attacked, stabbed, beaten, you name it, before the Italian parliament comes up with a shred of law which protects their gay citizens against homophobic-motivated attacks? A law which can be used as a deterrent, at best, and as an added punitive measure, at worst.
While Italy is becoming embroiled in his PM’s bedroom dealings with call-girls and Italian politics turns into a soap opera of the worst kind (which can only be representative of the current sad state of the nation), people in flesh and blood are still being treated as second class citizens. Italy is also one of the very few countries in the EU which still lacks a civil partnership law, which would finally legitimize, at least in the eyes of the law, a civil union between two gay people.
What was in the old times a cradle of civilization is sadly today a cradle of bigotry and conservatism, whose lay status is consistently threatened by the highly holy homophobic Church of Rome.
Who is responsible for this recent spate of crimes? Excessive heat in the way of 40 degrees can drive to insanity even the sanest of people. But jokes aside, the Vatican stance that a homophobic hate-crime law would open the gates to civil partnerships and the adoption of children from gay couples is well known, and so is a statement made by the pope in recent times comparing homosexuality to the destruction of the tropical forest (talk about incitement to hatred). A few Italian center-right wing politicians and even ministers (Alessandra Mussolini, Mirko Tremaglia, Roberto Calderoli) have freely, and with impunity, used the word ‘faggot’ to refer to homosexuals in recent times. The current government is led by a coalition of center and right wing parties which are traditionally anti-gay. And when all these factors are added up, you’d be excused for thinking that there’s enough to foster a climate of violence and give a thuggish retard the sense that beating up a persona non grata is no big deal.

PRESS RELEASE

Sunday, March 9th, 2008

GAY IRANIAN REFUGEE, EVERYONE GROUP: “UNITED KINGDOM IS A DANGER FOR ALL REFUGEES”

REPORT WILL BE PRESENTED IN EUROPE

THE UK HOME OFFICE: “GAY PEOPLE CAN RETURN TO IRAN, IF THEY ARE ‘DISCREET'”

In an article published on Friday March 7th 2008, in the The Independent, Simon Hughes, leader of the Liberal Democrats and the party’s Shadow Leader in the House of Commons, stated: “The Home Office claims that a gay person can return to Iran and avoid persecution by being “discreet”. All advice suggests that in Iran, to be discreet means that you would have to deny your identity. The punishment for giving in to personal feelings might well be nothing less than torture or death”.

The same theory had was pointed out by the members of the NNRF (Nottingham and Notts Refugee Forum) years ago: “The Home Office claims that if a gay person is less obvious about being gay or lesbian they won’t attract the attention of their persecutors,” writes Richard McCance on the refugees’ association’s website.

The EveryOne Group, that, since its launch, has promoted, along with the Non-Violent Radical Party, Transnational and Transparty, and the Nessuno Tocchi Caino and Certi Diritti associations, a campaign in support of its member Seyed Mehdi Kazemi, is going to present a written deposition to the European Union objecting to the UK Home Office’s behaviour towards refugees claiming asylum.

“Mehdi absolutely has to stay in the Netherlands. It has been shown that the United Kingdom operates an out-and-out persecutory policy towards refugees, especially homosexuals” affirm the EveryOne Group’s leaders Roberto Malini, Matteo Pegoraro and Dario Picciau. “The Home Office’s statements are serious, and contrary to the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is to be hoped that European Authorities urgently intervene in this situation”.

“In 2004, a 29-year-old Zimbabwean, Thando Dube, was at death’s door, following a 33-day hunger strike in a UK detention camp. Her crime? Thando was a lesbian who fled to Britain to escape the well-known persecution of LGBT people in Zimbabwe. “Her asylum claim was refused,” it’s written in the EveryOne Group’s report. “In September 2003, Israfil Shiri, a gay Iranian asylum seeker, died after pouring petrol over himself and setting himself on fire in the offices of Refugee Action in Manchester, after his asylum claim was refused (in the lower and appeal court) and his deportation to Iran, where he would-have-been hanged, had been arranged. In April 2005, 26-year-old Hussein Nasseri shot himself two weeks after his asylum claim was turned down by the Home Office, refusing in this way to let himself be killed by Iranian executioners”.

However, according to the EveryOne Group not only homosexuals suffered from the British Government’s indifference: Burhan Namig, born in 1980, was deported on September 5th 2006 from the United Kingdom – where his asylum claim had been refused because “not at sea” – to Kurdistan, despite falling into a deep depression and attempting suicide. On arrival in Kurdistan, Burhan had a heart attack, as a result of the inhuman treatment received in a British detention centre. In February 2007, at least two Iraqi Kurds were deported in secret from United Kingdom to the North of Iraq on a military plane carrying medicines and other humanitarian supplies, this despite the ongoing violence in Iraq, after American military actions, and despite the Kurdish region in Northern Iraq being subject to continuous terrorist attacks and serious human rights abuses. “We take a robust approach to people who are here illegally” a Home Office spokesperson told IRR (Independent Race and Refugee News Network) last year.

The latest case is that of Ama Sumani, a 39-year-old Ghanaian woman, studying in the UK, who was diagnosed with a malignant tumour that couldn’t be treated in Ghanaian hospitals. Her asylum claim was refused by the Home Secretary Jacqui Smith and the woman was removed, against her will, on January 9th 2008, from University Hospital, Cardiff, in a wheelchair, and repatriated. According to the Home Office, this was all carried out with “politeness and dignity”.

“All this demonstrates how the United Kingdom’s and its Home Office’s behaviour represent a danger for all refugees, all the more so for those such as Mehdi Kazemi or the Iranian lesbian Pegah Emambakshs, who face capital punishment because of their homosexuality” conclude Malini, Pegoraro and Picciau. “We ask the Dutch Authorities to immediately grant Mehdi refugee status, to avoid another life being destroyed because of the demonstrable and incontrovertible attitude of the UK to violating refugees’ rights. Finally, we ask the UN High Commissioner for Refugees to look out for the rights of refugees currently in the United Kingdom, who come from nations where they risk persecution, in order to prevent any abuse, violation and/or unjust deportation”.

For further information:

Gruppo EveryOne

Tel: (+ 39) 334-8429527
www.everyonegroup.com :: info@everyonegroup.com

preview_16x16.png SIGN THE PETITION HERE

Iran: the Radical Party requests a meeting with the Iranian Ambassador in Rome to discuss the case of the two young gay men sentenced to death.

(ANSA)
ROME, February 12 – An urgent meeting with Abolfazl Zohrevand, the Iranian Ambassador to Italy to discuss the case of the two young men sentenced to death in Iran for being homosexual. This is the request EveryOne Group has forwarded in a letter to the Iranian diplomat. An initiative shared by the Nonviolent Radical Party, Transnational and Transparty together with the Nessuno Tocchi Caino (Hands off Cain) association.
In a note by the Radicals we read, “the international mobilization to save the lives of the two boys sentenced to death in Iran for being homosexual continues. In just a few days over 12,500 people have signed the petition (www.petitiononline.com/irangay) addressed to the Iranian authorities in an attempt to save the lives of Hamzeh Chavi and Loghman Hamzehpour. The two boys, aged 18 and 19, were arrested at Sardasht, in Iranian Azerbaijan, last January 23rd, and accused of “mohareb” (being enemies of Allah) and “lavat” (sodomy). After confessing, under torture, to being in love, the boys now risk capital punishment.

The Nonviolent Radical Party, Transnational and Transparty, along with Nessuno Tocchi Cainom, has subscribed to the initiative begun by EveryOne who have sent a letter to Abolfazi Zohrevand, the Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Italy, requesting an urgent meeting to discuss the case of the two young man, a case that has caused an outcry throughout the world and serious preoccupation about the violation of human rights taking place in the country.”

(ANSA)

By Every One Group

Omofobia: Minacce di morte contro il presidente di Arcigay Roma, Fabrizio Marrazzo
04/01/2008 di gaynews.it
http://www.lamanicatagliata.com

MarrazzoLo rende noto lo stesso Fabrizio Marrazzo, precisando che le minacce sono arrivate tramite ripetute telefonate ed sms.

E’ stata presentata dall’Arcigay di Roma una denuncia contro ignoti, per minacce di morte giunte, in questi giorni, al presidente dell’associazione, Fabrizio Marrazzo. Lo rende noto lo stesso Fabrizio Marrazzo, precisando che le minacce sono arrivate tramite ripetute telefonate ed sms. ”Le minacce che mi sono state fatte, ha dichiarato, sicuramente hanno turbato, per me e per le persone a me care, queste giornate che dovevano essere di festa, ma non ci fanno indietreggiare di un passo, nell’azione che da anni svolgiamo per contrastare l’omofobia nella città di Roma.” Marrazzo, che ha assicurato di riporre grande fiducia nell’azione investigativa delle forze dell’ordine, ha ricordato che, in questi anni, Arcigay ha fatto molte manifestazioni per i diritti civili di lesbiche gay e trans, ed ha trattato molti casi delicati, come l’omicidio di Paolo Seganti,l’omicidio di Roberto Chiesa e migliaia di denunce che ci sono pervenute tramite il nostro numero verde. ”Nessuna azione – ha concluso – potrà fermare il nostro impegno.”

Lo riporta il sito gaynews.it

Homophobia: Death threats against the president of Arcigay Roma, Fabrizio Marrazzo

The threats reported by Fabrizio Marrazzo himself, indicating threats came through repeated phone calls and short text messages.

It was presented in Rome by Arcigay a complaint against unknown persons for death threats received in recent days, and regarding the president of the association, Fabrizio Marrazzo. It is reported by Fabrizio Marrazzo him, indicating threats came through repeated phone calls and short text messages. “The threats that have been sent have certainly troubled, myself and my dearest family, but we are not deterred by a step, in that we do for years to combat homophobia in the city of Rome.” Marrazzo, which has undertaken to place great trust in the police investigation, said that in recent years Arcigay has done many events for the civil rights of lesbians gay and trans, and has dealt with many sensitive cases, such as the murder of Paolo Seganti, the murder of Roberto Chiesa and thousands of complaints that we have received through the Arcigay’s toll-free number.

“No action – concluded – will stop our commitment.”

ucoii.jpg

Comunicato stampa Arcigay
Franco Grillini a UCOII, inaccettabili dichiarazioni su Pegah Emambakhsh, l’omosessualità non è una malattia :
Sono del tutto inaccettabili le dichiarazioni di Noureddine Chemmaoui, responsabile del dipartimento di affari sociali e diritti umani dell’UCOII (l’Unione delle comunità islamiche in Italia), a proposito di Pegah, la lesbica italiana che rischia di dover essere lapidata nel caso che il governo inglese decida di rimpatriarla.
Ci pare spaventosa, per una responsabile diritti umani, l’insistenza con la quale parla di lesbismo come peccato al quale l’Italia potrebbe offrire una possibile redenzione.
Nel caso specifico, poi, non è giustificabile che si rivendichi l’applicazione delle leggi del paese d’origine, come fa la Chemmaoui: “E’ giusto che una persona sia giudicata in base alle leggi del suo paese, dove molto dipende anche dal giudice”.
In Iran, lo ricordiamo, per coloro che la rappresentante definisce “malati” e “peccatori” c’è la pena di morte.
Le parole insultanti di Noureddine Chemmaoui, in rappresentanza del fanatismo islamico, sono offensive e vanno rispedite al mittente a cui ricordiamo, en passant, che l’omosessualità non è una malattia.
Bizzarro è infine che l’Ucoii riconosca l’esistenza di omosessuali nel mondo islamico ma che immagini che possano “anche non dirlo”. Il coming out è il primo passo per una vita serena, per un omosessuale, e in molti paesi islamici i gay non escono allo scoperto per tutelarsi la vita.
E’ penosa una società che costringe al silenzio, alla doppia vita e alla clandestinità il diverso.
Le dichiarazioni dimostrano che l’Ucoii è una organizzazione integralista, che non rappresenta il moderatismo islamico, e che non è meritevole della convenzione con lo Stato.
On. Franco Grillini

L’immagine è una fotografia scattata da Babsi Jones, che ringraziamo per l’autorizzazione ad utilizzarla, durante una manifestazione di protesta.
http://www.dirittiumani-iran.org/
A Venezia, una casa rifugio per Pegah