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Roma community evicted because of water purification issue, Roma, Italy

After the failure of the Camping River camp sewage and water purification systems due to negligence, the local government issued the eviction of the 400 Roma in it failing to meet the European Court for Human Rights' demand for a postponement.


Established in 2005, the “Camping River” camp, mostly comprised of prefabricated units or caravan-like infrastructures [5, 6], was one of the more than 100 official Roma camps in Italy, which are mainly under the oversight of local governments [3].

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Roma community evicted because of water purification issue, Roma, Italy
State or province:Laci
Location of conflict:Roma
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Water Management
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Water access rights and entitlements
Land acquisition conflicts
Water treatment and access to sanitation (access to sewage)
Specific commodities:Land
Project Details and Actors
Project details

Type of populationSemi-urban
Affected Population:Aprox. 400 people
Start of the conflict:01/10/2017
Relevant government actors:Social services, Palazzo Senatorio, Campidoglio, Mayor of Rome during the 2017-2018 period
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Caritas
European Court for Human Rights
Associazione 21 Luglio
Jehovah's Witnesses
Red Cross
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:International ejos
Local ejos
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Religious groups
Forms of mobilization:Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Street protest/marches
Refusal of compensation
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Soil contamination, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Waste overflow
Health ImpactsPotential: Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Specific impacts on women, Militarization and increased police presence, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusProposed (exploration phase)
Conflict outcome / response:Compensation
Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
Court decision (failure for environmental justice)
Application of existing regulations
Development of alternatives:After the social services offered alternative housing to the people evicted, through a "compensating voucher", or voluntary repatriation, the ejos revolted against those alternatives. However, there are no publications related to solutions put forward by those ejos. One of the reasons why must be related to the competencies of the organizations when comparing them to the local government.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:Considering that even though the appeal went through, to stop the eviction, we cannot consider this case a success for environmental justice because the people from the settlement were forcibly removed in the end. However, the support of the ECHR to the appeal against the eviction could be used as "jurisprudence" in other similar circumstances.
Sources & Materials
Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

[1] BURGOSConecta - EFE (2018). Desalojan el mayor campamento gitano de Roma.
[click to view]

[2] The Guardian (2018). Italian police clear Roma camp despite EU ruling requesting delay.
[click to view]

[4] ALJAZEERA (2018). Hundreds of Roma forcibly evicted from camp in Rome.
[click to view]

[3] REUTERS (2018). Driven from camps, Roma face uncertain future in Rome.
[click to view]

[5] THE LOCAL (2018). 'Come and see how we live', Italy's Roma tell government.
[click to view]

[6] La Repubblica (2018). Roma, tensioni per lo sgombero a sorpresa al Camping River.
[click to view]

[7] Associazione 21 Luglio ONLUS (2017). Annual report.
[click to view]

[8] ROMATODAY (2017). Camping River, rom senz'acqua e il Comune ammette: "Rischio emergenza".
[click to view]

[10] ROMATODAY (2018). Camping River, tutto quello che c'è da sapere sul campo rom sgomberato da Raggi e Salvini.
[click to view]

[9] - Redazione (2019). I riflettori del TGR Lazio sull’ex campo nomadi River.
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Berta Roset Pérez, Junior researcher in Environmental Justice ICTA-UAB. Contact email: [email protected]
Last update10/06/2021
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