The rise in hate attacks in Italy cannot be separated from politicians “unashamedly embracing racist and xenophobic anti-immigrant and anti-foreigner rhetoric”, the United Nations has said.
UN special rapporteurs also condemned “smear campaigns” against groups rescuing migrants in the Mediterranean and criminalisation of the work of those who defend migrant rights. They said people of African and Roma descent, in particular, had suffered in a rise in racist incidents.
Rapporteurs also attacked a planned move to restrict immigration rules in Italy, which they said would “certainly lead to violations of international human rights law”.
The group of UN special rapporteurs said in a statement that migrant rights were at risk due to a “climate of hatred and discrimination” in the country.
They said: “During the most recent electoral campaign, some politicians fuelled a public discourse unashamedly embracing racist and xenophobic anti-immigrant and anti-foreigner rhetoric. Such speech incites hatred and discrimination.”
They added: “Removing protection measures from potentially thousands of migrants and limiting their ability to regularise their stay in Italy will increase their vulnerability to attacks and exploitation. They will be at greater risk from traffickers and other criminal groups, and many will have no means to meet their basic needs through lawful means. Exclusion also leads to social tensions and to more insecurity. An inclusive approach would therefore benefit not only the migrants, but also the Italian people.”
The group admitted Italy faced challenges due to “the absence of an effective European-wide system of solidarity” in relation to migrants arrivals, but added: “The government must adhere to the values enshrined in the Italian constitution, and the international commitments it signed up to.”