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TITLE:  ITALY HUMAN RIGHTS PRACTICES, 1993                             
DATE:  JANUARY 31, 1994


Italy is a democratic, multiparty republic with a parliamentary 
system of government.  Legislative power is vested in the 
Parliament, which is directly and freely elected on the basis 
of universal adult suffrage.  Executive authority is vested in 
the Council of Ministers, headed by the President of the 
Council (the Prime Minister).  Italy's judiciary is independent 
of the executive although subject to occasional political party 

Terrorist violence of both the left and the right remained at 
low levels, though organized crime elements continued to use 
terrorist tactics.  Bomb attacks in May and July in Florence, 
Milan, and Rome, which appeared to be aimed more at symbols of 
Italian culture than at people, killed a total of 10 persons.  
At year's end one official of the disbanded Italian 
Intelligence Service SISDE was under arrest along with three 
others in connection with bombing attempts.

Starting in 1992--with the beginning of nationwide judicial 
investigations into kickbacks and corruption over public 
contracts and the concomitant weakening of the traditional 
political parties--the judiciary has been under less political 
party pressure than in the past.  However, human rights groups 
and others criticized the extensive use of preventive detention 
for persons accused of corruption.

Italy has an industrialized market economy.  Although heavy 
government ownership of the primary industrial sectors 
persists, the Government and Parliament have moved forward on 
privatization, now well underway.  In 1993 economic growth was 
slightly negative, with unemployment at over 11 percent, though 
inflation was held to less than 5 percent.  Once dynamic small 
and medium-sized firms were seriously hit by economic recession.

Worker rights are generally respected and the Government openly 
addresses human rights issues which arise.  The Government 
consistently condemned sporadic acts of violence and 
discrimination aimed at ethnic or religious minorities.  Italy 
continued to experience a substantial influx of third-world and 
eastern European immigrants; public attention continued to 
focus on the problem of racism.


Section 1  Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including 
           Freedom from:

     a.  Political and Other Extrajudicial Killing

Neither government forces nor legal opposition organizations 
engaged in politically motivated killings.  However, in 
September a 10-year-old Gypsy was killed in a carabinieri 
station shortly after his arrest, reportedly as a result of a 
scuffle over an officer's weapon.  An investigation was 
launched but no conclusion had been announced by year's end.  
In March an Iranian opposition leader was shot dead in Rome.  
No assailants had been arrested for this offense at year's end.

An official of SISDE, along with three accomplices, two of whom 
are from organized crime families, were arrested on the charge 
of placing a fake bomb on a train; government authorities are 
examining possible links with other bombing attempts.

     b.  Disappearance

There were no cases of politically motivated disappearances or 

     c.  Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading 
         Treatment or Punishment

Freedom from torture is provided for by law and respected in 
practice.  Cruel and degrading punishment is forbidden by law.  
There were credible reports, however, that detainees and 
prisoners were abused during police interrogation in several 
cases.  The most common forms of alleged ill-treatment were 
repeated kicks and punches and prolonged beatings with batons.  
There were also complaints of severe overcrowding, poor 
sanitation, and inadequate medical assistance.  A May 1993 
report by Amnesty International (AI) denounced an increase in 
alleged ill-treatment of prisoners by prison guards, noting 
that "sharply deteriorating living conditions and increased 
detention" in jails also may have played a role.  According to 
AI, the Government replied to only one of its requests for an  
inquiry into the alleged maltreatment.  In its reply, the 
Government denied there had been any ill-treatment of prisoners 
and noted that there might have been "misunderstandings" over 
the "special treatment" of and the "severe restrictions" for 
Mafia-related convicts.

Those perpetrating ill-treatment of detainees and prisoners 
rarely have been the object of disciplinary proceedings.

On December 15, 1992, a group of lawyers presented a report to 
the Naples Public Prosecutor about allegations of "systematic 
beatings and gratuitous ill-treatment" being inflicted on 
inmates of Secondigliano Prison by prison guards and requested 
an immediate judicial inquiry.  The Deputy Public Prosecutor 
led a judicial inquiry which included a nighttime visit to the 
prison on January 28, during which a number of prisoners 
bearing signs of physical injury were reportedly seen.  On 
February 18, the Parliamentary Committee for Prison Affairs 
conducted a visit of inspection of the prison.  On April 26, 
the commandant of the prison guards at the prison and five 
superintendents were suspended from duty for a preliminary 
period of 2 months in connection with possible criminal 
charges, including abusing their authority, striking prisoners, 
and giving false testimony.  The commandant was suspected of 
having instigated the beating of inmates by prison guards and 
of opening the prisoners' outgoing mail and threatening them 
with further violence if they failed to remove passages 
referring to their alleged ill-treatment.  The charges were 
ultimately dropped.  At the end of April, an additional 60 to 
70 guards were reportedly under judicial investigation in 
connection with the ill-treatment of prisoners.  Here, too, the 
charges were dropped.  On November 16, the director of a jail 
in the northern city of Pavia was suspended from duty and 
committed to trial on charges of having placed in isolation a 
detainee for whom a medical doctor had instead recommended 
hospitalization.  His trial is scheduled for mid-January.

At the end of August, the jail population reached 52,320 
persons, more than a 10-percent increase over 1992 and 
approximately a 100-percent increase over 1991.  The increase 
was due partly to more efficacious police operations and partly 
to the slowness of the Italian judicial system.  The capacity 
of penal facilities, however, has remained the same.  Some 
prisons had populations double or triple their capacity.  
According to the Justice Ministry, from January through 
October, 49 inmates committed suicide, compared to a total of 
47 suicides in 1992 and 29 in 1991.  Protests against 
overcrowding sparked hunger strikes in jails nationwide in May, 
July, and November.

In August the Government passed legislation aimed at reducing 
the jail population by making it easier for certain categories 
of offenders to receive house arrests or other alternative 
sentences.  Also in August, the Government dedicated 
approximately $90 million at the then prevailing exchange rate 
(150 billion lira) to complete the building of new jails.  
Authorities are in the process of separating less serious 
offenders from other prisoners in existing facilities.  Felony 
offenders and high-risk prisoners such as Mafiosi are held in 
high-security wings of regular jails.  The Government permits 
independent monitoring of prison conditions, under the 
supervision of jail directors, by parliamentarians, local human 
rights groups, the media, and other organizations.

     d.  Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile

Police procedures are controlled by law and judicial 
oversight.  Arbitrary arrest is not practiced.  Anyone detained 
by the authorities must be charged within 48 hours, except for 
Mafia-related suspects who may be charged "as soon as 
possible."  Italy does not have a system of bail.  Judges may 
grant provisional liberty to persons awaiting trial; this 
occurs frequently.  The law imposes broad time limits on 
pretrial investigative or preventive detention, which includes 
detention in connection with one specific offense prior to the 
conclusion of all appeals.  Preventive detention is implemented 
to prevent a suspect from fleeing or destroying evidence while 
authorities investigate and is not permitted for minor 
offenses.  In normal criminal cases, the maximum permissible 
duration of preventive or investigative detention is 4 years, 
with no more that 2 years at each step of the trial during the 
appeals process.  The Government moved to extend the total 
period to 6 years for defendants accused of Mafia-related 
crimes.  Preventive detention is sometimes longer than the 
penalty for the crime; restitution for unjust detention is 
provided for in the Constitution and in law.

In practice, pretrial detention is extended when the accused, 
already being held without bail on specific charges, is charged 
with additional offenses.  This has often been the case during 
judiciary proceedings connected to kickbacks and corruption 
over government contracts (widely known as  "clean hands" 
proceedings), which started in Milan in February 1992 and have 
since spread throughout the country.  Politicians of all 
parties as well as officials of private and public companies 
have been implicated.

Each offense with which "clean hands" defendants are charged 
allows a maximum preventive custody of 3 months.  Since most of 
the defendants are charged with more than one offense, some 
have remained in jail for longer than 3 months.  In early 1993, 
the Italian League of Human Rights published a warning by a 
French human rights expert regarding the potential for abuse of 
this provision.  In July, following the suicide of a "clean 
hands" detainee, there was considerable public criticism, 
though not from human rights groups, of the extensive use of 
preventive detention for those accused of such offenses.  On 
December 1, Parliament voted to ask the Government to revise 
the law on preventive custody to avoid accumulation of charges 
against defendants and the consequent extension of the terms of 
pretrial custody.  This revision had not been implemented at 
year's end.

According to official figures of the Justice Department, 
defendants awaiting trial comprise 50 percent of the total jail 
population; those awaiting their first trial comprise 29 
percent of the total jail population.  Because of chronic 
understaffing in the judiciary, police, and clerical staff, and 
lack of office space, equipment, and training courses, the 
average waiting period for trials is about 18 months but can 
exceed 24 months.  Thus, despite the judiciary's efforts to 
extend the periods of preventive custody in order to keep a 
prisoner in jail until the beginning of the trial, many 
defendants are released before the proceedings start.

Arrest warrants are issued by investigating judges.  People 
held in detention are allowed prompt and regular access to 
lawyers of their choosing.  If detainees are indigent, a lawyer 
is provided by the State.  Normally, people held in detention 
are also allowed prompt and regular access to family members.  
However, defendants charged with more serious offenses, 
including Mafia-related crimes, are allowed regular but limited 
contacts with their families.  As a safeguard against possible 
abuses involving unjustified detention, "liberty tribunals" are 
empowered to review available evidence in cases of persons 
awaiting trial and to decide whether continued detention is 
warranted.  Judges in "liberty tribunals" are drawn from the 
normal courthouses but only review cases involving the 
detention of prisoners.

Exile abroad as a form of punishment is not practiced.  In July 
Parliament passed a bill that negates the possibility of 
domestic exile.

     e.  Denial of Fair Public Trial

A fair and public trial is assured by law and broadly observed 
in practice.  Counsel is provided for the accused, free of 
charge if necessary.  Good faith efforts are made to guarantee 
due process rights.  Nevertheless, trial procedures are often 
cumbersome; trials frequently last years.

A revised Code of Criminal Procedure which entered into force 
in 1989 sought to streamline the process.  The Code provides 
for a more adversarial system designed to promote speedier 
trials.  Initial unfamiliarity with the new system on the part 
of judicial authorities created bureaucratic problems, 
increased delays, and further increased existing backlogs, yet 
to be fully cleared.  In addition, parts of the new criminal 
code did not prove workable and are slowly being amended by 
Parliament to restore time-saving devices of the old code, such 
as admitting pretrial testimony.

All court cases may be appealed to the highest appellate court, 
the Court of Cassation.  There are no political or security 
courts or political prisoners.  The judiciary is formally 
autonomous and independent of the executive.  Nonetheless, 
before the start of the "clean hands" judicial proceedings in 
1992, there was a broad perception that magistrates were 
subject to political influence and that the political views of 
certain judges affected proceedings.  Since the start of the 
"clean hands" investigations, magistrates have increasingly 
disengaged themselves from traditional pressure by political 
parties and are investigating members of all parties for 
kickbacks, corruption, and reception of stolen goods.

Over 25 magistrates so far have come under investigation on 
suspicion of links with the Mafia; the list continues to grow.  
One judge of the Supreme Court of Cassation, who for 6 years 
overruled a total of 400 verdicts of the lower courts for 
alleged technical errors in reaching judgments in Mafia trials, 
was placed under investigation by the Superior Magistrates 
Council (CSM) in September 1992.  In March 1993, the office of 
the Palermo public prosecutor began judicial investigations 
against him for ties with organized crime; in April he was 
suspended from office.  In December 1992, a Sicilian judge 
committed suicide because of suspicion of collusion with the 
Cosa Nostra.  In May 1993, the Naples judiciary arrested a 
judge with ties with the Camorra (a criminal organization); he 
was the first judge to be arrested on such charges.

Several sitting and former judges and other magistrates in 
Bari, Milan, Florence, Perugia, and throughout Sicily are under 
judicial investigation or under suspension in connection with 
antiorganized crime cases or as part of proceedings in the 
"clean hands" corruption scandals.  In December the Justice 
Minister started disciplinary proceedings against 21 
magistrates belonging to Masonry lodges for "incompatibility 
with the impartial behavior required by their position."  He 
also asked the CSM to transfer these judges.  The judiciary in 
the southern city of Palmi is investigating several other 
judges for Masonic association.

     f.  Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or 

The concept of the privacy of the home is safeguarded legally 
and respected by the authorities.  Searches and electronic 
monitoring may be carried out only under judicial warrant and 
in carefully defined circumstances.

Section 2  Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

     a.  Freedom of Speech and Press

Free speech and a free press are assured by law and observed in 
practice.  Publications are free from government control and 
present views across the political spectrum without 
censorship.  Under Italian law, publications may be seized for 
violation of obscenity laws or for defamation of state 
institutions.  These powers are seldom invoked; they have not 
been used in the past several years.

In addition to government-run radio and television, many 
private radio stations operate.  The political views of these 
stations differ widely.  A lively political debate over the 
issue of media regulation reflects public concern over the 
potential for monopolistic power on the part of the private 
media.  The Government's controversial allocation of private 
television channels in 1990 and 1992 came under the scrutiny of 
the judiciary on the suspicion that political parties gained an 
advantage from the allocation of stations through their links 
with the private owners.  On October 27, Parliament approved a 
decree giving the Government a mandate to redefine the 
allocation plan by October 1994.

     b.  Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

Citizens freely exercise their right of peaceful assembly, 
which is limited only in cases where national security or 
public safety is endangered.  Permits are not required for 
meetings, but organizers of public demonstrations must notify 
the police in advance.  Professional and employer associations 
organize and represent their constituencies freely.

While allowing freedom of association, the Constitution and law 
prohibit secret associations, associations that pursue 
political aims by using paramilitary structures, and the 
reorganization of the dissolved Fascist Party.  An increasing 
number of episodes of violence perpetrated in 1992 and early 
1993 by neo-Fascist groups against Jews, Gypsies, and third- 
country nationals led the Government to issue a decree in April 
allowing the arrest of members of groups inciting racial, 
ethnic, national, or religious discrimination.  The decree 
allows the police to search and close neo-Fascist 
meetingplaces.  These measures led to the arrest in May of a 
person for having burned the Israeli flag and in July of nine 
persons on charges of seeking to reorganize the Fascist Party.  
At least 15 other persons were under judicial investigation for 
the same charge at year's end.

     c.  Freedom of Religion

Individuals are free to profess and practice any religious 
faith.  All religions are free to organize and proselytize 
within the limits imposed by the laws governing public order.  
Italy's relations with the Roman Catholic Church are governed 
by a 1984 agreement (Concordat) between the Government and the 
Holy See, ratified in 1985.  The agreement, which replaced the 
Concordat of 1929, recognized the rights of Catholicism and its 
historic presence in Italy but no longer accorded Catholicism 
the status of a state religion.  The Roman Catholic Church 
continues informally to enjoy special standing partly as a 
result of the Concordat but also because of the presence of the 
Vatican and because the overwhelming majority of Italians are 
Roman Catholic.  Taxpayers may elect to designate a small 
percentage of their tax payment to the Catholic Church, the 
Adventist Church, the Assemblies of God, or the State for 
social or humanitarian purposes; the percentage is the same 
regardless of the recipient.  In November the Italian Buddhist 
community initiated procedures to receive similar funding.

Roman Catholic religious instruction is offered in the public 
schools as an optional subject.  The Ministry of Education has 
instructed schools to provide an optional course (such as the 
history of religions or drawing but not mandatory courses such 
as mathematics or literature) to students who do not want to 
attend the "hour of religion."  Some schools allow free time to 
students who do not elect to take either course.

     d.  Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign 
         Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation

Citizens may travel freely both within the country and abroad.  
Emigration is unrestricted.  Citizens who leave are guaranteed 
the right to return, and the Constitution forbids deprivation 
of citizenship for political reasons.  According to government 
statistics in September, a total of 19,182 refugees came to 
Italy, primarily from the former Yugoslavia.  Government 
authorities in December estimated the total number for 1993 at 
26,000, mostly from the former Yugoslavia and a few hundred 
from Somalia.  The Government arranged for their temporary 
stay.  There is no reliable estimate of the number of 
unregistered refugees who also entered.  Some regional 
governments provided assistance in employment, housing, health 
care, and education.

A new law on citizenship, which came into force in August 1992 
reduced from 5 to 3 years the period of residence necessary for 
some immigrants (those born in Italy or of Italian origin) to 
acquire Italian citizenship.  The law retained the 5-year 
residency requirement for immigrants from European Community 
(EC) countries and increased from 5 to 10 years the required 
residence period for non-EC immigrants.

Section 3  Respect for Political Rights:  The Right of Citizens 
           to Change Their Government

Italy has a parliamentary system with members of Parliament 
elected on the basis of universal adult suffrage.  Although the 
Constitution outlaws the Fascist Party, a wide range of 
organized and active political parties exists from the far left 
to the far right of the political spectrum.  Election campaigns 
are free and open, and voting is by secret ballot.  The two 
chambers of Parliament and regional, provincial, and municipal 
councils are elected at regular intervals of 5 years; the 
Constitution allows the President of the Republic to call 
special parliamentary elections.  A 1992 electoral reform 
provided for the direct election of mayors in municipalities 
with over 15,000 inhabitants.  A 1993 reform provided for 75 
percent of the seats of both houses of Parliament to be elected 
on a majority basis in single-member districts and 25 percent 
to continue to be elected on a proportional basis.

There are no restrictions in law on the participation of women 
in government and politics.  Political and social customs 
continue to result, however, in a lower percentage of 
participation by women than by men.  In 1993, 3 of 24 Cabinet 
members, 31 of 325 Senators, and 51 of 630 deputies in the 
lower house were women.  New electoral laws have provisions 
that either encourage more female candidates or place them 
higher on proportional voting lists.

Section 4  Governmental Attitude Regarding International and 
           Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations 
           of Human Rights

Nongovernmental organizations, including human rights 
organizations, are free to investigate conditions in Italy, 
attend trials, and publish their findings.

Section 5  Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, 
           Disability, Language, or Social Status

There is no legal discrimination on the basis of race, 
religion, sex (except with regard to work regarded as 
dangerous; see below), ethnic background, or political 
opinion.  In practice, discrimination based on sex and ethnic 
background, among other factors, continues.


Women participate freely in political and social life but still 
face discrimination, sometimes legally.  For instance, no 
women, regardless of age, are permitted to be employed 
underground in quarries, mines, or tunnels.  Despite legal 
guarantees, employers continue to favor men over women in 
filling jobs, particularly those with prospects for advancement 
to management.  Women fill approximately 10 percent of 
managerial positions and are poorly represented in the 

Women tend to remain in employment areas such as schoolteaching 
and in public employment sectors such as post offices, 
government ministries, the national health service, national 
social security institute, and national statistical office.  
The Italian media has reported a 10-percent increase in the 
number of female police officers.  Labor agreements in 
significant sectors such as metalworking (the leading 
industrial sector), local administration, and public service 
prohibit sexual harassment, which, however, is not prohibited 
by law.  This makes it difficult for women successfully to 
pursue such cases in court.  For example, in a prominent case 
in the Piedmont region, a female employee was unable to win a 
harassment case despite having 15 witnesses who confirmed her 
accusations against her supervisor.

Women enjoy legal equality with men in marriage.  In the event 
of divorce, a woman is entitled to a share of the survivor's 
pension and any inheritance in the event of the death of her 
ex-husband.  The property of a married couple is considered 
community property unless husband and wife agree to keep their 
property divided.  All assets acquired prior to marriage are 
exempt from the community property provision.

Legislation seeks to provide women protection from physical 
abuse.  Police and judges are not reluctant to intervene and 
mete out punishment in such cases.  Spousal rape was tried in 
the courts in 1993 under the Criminal Code.  Although there are 
no statistically reliable studies attesting to the extent of 
domestic violence against women, newspaper reports of such 
violence are common and it is thought to be widespread.  The 
Government provides a public telephone service, Telefona Rosa, 
which offers legal, practical, social, and psychological 
counseling for women in difficulty.  The Prime Minister's 
Office on the Status of Women has stated that, while laws exist 
to punish those who commit acts of violence against women and 
the laws are enforced, victims often do not bring charges due 
to fear, shame, or ignorance of the law.


In recent years, elements of Italian society have manifested 
growing concern over violence against children.  A privately 
financed, nationwide, toll-free telephone hotline service to 
help abused children, established in 1987, has received over 
270,000 calls.  Private volunteer organizations operate to 
protect minors from potential abuse; social workers either on 
their own initiative or with orders from a "Judge of Minors" 
can take remedial or punitive action.  Social workers can also 
place abused children in family shelters.

Reliable, consistent statistics on child abuse are often not 
readily available.  According to the national hotline for 
children, most callers complain of psychological violence, 
physical abuse, or negligence.  Available evidence suggests 
that most of those calling to denounce maltreatment of children 
are adults, but the number of children using child-abuse 
protection telephone lines is increasing.  Some experts in the 
field believe that, rather than indicating that abuse is 
increasing, this may signify that children's fear of reaching 
out for support is diminishing.  According to these statistics, 
about 50 percent of those calling are from northern Italy and 
mostly denounce cases of physical abuse.  The remainder is 
evenly divided between the central and southern regions, where 
the child mistreatment most commonly denounced is sexual 
abuse.  An assessment by another private institution (for the 
protection of maltreated children) indicates 100,000-150,000 
cases of child abuse are perpetrated every year, of which 
50,000 are physical abuse and about 40,000 are sexual.

The Government in 1993 reorganized the Department of Social 
Affairs to give it principal responsibility for children's 
rights.  In September an 8-member committee was established 
with the task of advising the Minister on policy concerning 

     National/Racial/Ethnic Minorities

North Africans residing and working in Italy and the population 
of Gypsy origin are subject to discrimination.

Aggressive racial incidents aimed at foreigners and immigrants 
increased and spread all over Italy in 1993.  Among the most 
significant incidents were the beating of several hundred North 
African tomato-pickers by the population of a southern Italian 
town, who were aroused and spurred on by persons operating 
illegal employment schemes historically present in southern 
Italy under a system called "caporalato"; beatings of North 
African drug-peddlers and destitutes in the northern city of 
Genoa; the burning of a Caritas assistance center being readied 
for immigrants near Caserta, in the south, and the burning of 
lodgings for immigrants in Rome and of housing for North 
Africans in the north central city of Bologna.  Some arrests 
were made in the Genoa beatings, but at year's end other 
perpetrators had not yet been apprehended.

Despite official efforts to integrate the Gypsy population into 
Italian society, Gypsy communities continue to stand out and to 
attract negative, sometimes violent, attention because of an 
increase in pickpocketing and other street crime in which some 
members of these groups are popularly viewed to be predominant 

As in 1992, during the first half of 1993 trailers in Gypsy 
camps in Rome and Bologna were set on fire.  Police regularly 
investigate such incidents.  While the perpetrators of these 
particular crimes have not yet been apprehended, the Government 
prosecutes such offenders when they are apprehended.  Local 
administrations and communities have shown sensitivity to the 
need to ensure equal treatment of those who belong to nomadic 
groups and who are, for the most part, Italian citizens.  Local 
and regional authorities in Rome and Florence, for example, 
have worked to provide sanitation to Gypsy campsites.  
Approximately 4,000 Gypsies reside in the greater Rome area.  
Most of them live in precarious and unhygienic conditions.

As a result of the increasing influx of legal and illegal 
immigration from Africa and East European countries, these 
issues are being examined with greater attention by the general 
public and by political parties.  Employees of international 
organizations from third-world countries living in Rome report 
more difficulty than their European colleagues in finding 
housing.  The Government funds nonprofit organizations that 
provide social assistance to third-world nationals living in 
Italy.  In this area, the Government also works closely with 
the Roman Catholic Church, which has been a powerful public 
voice condemning discrimination against, and mistreatment of, 
minorities and which supports social assistance groups and 

Recently enacted changes in the Special Statute for Alto Adige 
(along the Austrian border) give German speakers there added 
safeguards against alleged risks to their culture and 
language.  Some in the Italian-speaking community in the Alto 
Adige claimed reverse discrimination.  The German-speaking 
community is also pressing local authorities to change the 
names of several towns from the Italian wording to what they 
claim were the original German versions prior to World War I.

The Government and Parliament began to discuss revision of the 
1990 Law on Immigration, including the possible introduction of 
a quota system and the application of stricter administrative 

There are about 35,000 Jews in Italy.  Occasional anti-Semitic 
incidents, such as the desecration of tombs in a Jewish 
cemetery and the appearance of anti-Semitic graffiti, continued 
to occur during the year.  The police suspect that perpetrators 
are members of the various anti-Semitic and neo-Nazi groups 
that have emerged recently.  However, only one person was 
caught in the act of desecrating Jewish graves and arrested on 
charges of ethnic and religious discrimination.

     People with Disabilities

There are no restrictions on employment of physically disabled 
persons in Italy, and since 1968 employers employing 35 or more 
persons have been required, with limited exemptions, to staff 
15 percent of their work force with disabled persons.  In 
practice, however, only about 4 percent of the work force in 
these firms are disabled.  A comprehensive framework law was 
adopted in 1992 covering assistance, social integration, and 
rights of handicapped persons.  The Labor Inspectorate of the 
Ministry of Labor enforces this law; employers who do not obey 
the law are fined and obliged to comply; repeat offenders 
receive higher penalties.

Protection against discrimination in education has been 
guaranteed at all levels since 1977, and this was successfully 
defended in the courts in 1987.  The 1992 Law on the Rights of 
Handicapped Persons reinforced this guarantee.  A 1971 law 
calls for physical accessibility for the disabled to public 
buildings; compliance in schools and other public buildings is 
thus far not universal.

Section 6  Worker Rights

     a.  The Right of Association

The Workers' Statute of 1970 provides for the right to 
establish trade unions, to join unions, and to carry out union 
activities in the workplace.  Trade unions are not government 
controlled, and the Constitution fully protects the right to 
strike, which is frequently exercised.  In practice, the three 
major labor confederations possess status and influence (in 
comparison to the smaller independent unions) for reasons that 
go well beyond their membership size.  They have strong 
historical ties to two of the three major political parties and 
administer certain social welfare services for the Government, 
which compensates them accordingly.

Moreover, the Workers' Statute favors the three confederations 
to the extent that it is difficult for small unions, including 
the so-called Base Committees (Cobas) at the shop floor level, 
to obtain recognition.  In July a tripartite agreement was 
reached, which, among other things, laid the basis for election 
of unitary union representation (RSU) in all workplaces.  If 
enacted into law, two-thirds of the RSU would be elected by all 
employees in the workplace and one-third nominated by those 
unions that signed the National Labor Contract affecting those 

A 1990 law limits the right to strike in essential public 
services such as transportation, sanitation, and health.  
Public sector workers, including those covered by these 
restrictions, engaged in demonstrations and a partial general 
strike in early 1993 in support of union demands in national 
tripartite negotiations and in conjunction with a Europe-wide 
day of action called by the European Trade Union 
Confederation.  However, minimum services in essential public 
services were provided.  Italian unions associated freely and 
actively with international trade union organizations.

The Workers' Statute (Law 300 of 1970) prohibits employers in 
firms employing more than 15 workers (more than 5 in 
agriculture) from taking retribution against strikers other 
than deduction of wages for the duration of the strike.  The 
Government enforces this effectively.  Hiring of personnel to 
replace strikers is effectively prohibited.

     b.  The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively

The right of workers to organize and bargain collectively is 
protected by the Constitution and is freely practiced.

Labor-management relations are governed by legislation, custom, 
collective bargaining agreements, and labor contracts.  In July 
an agreement was signed by representatives of labor, 
management, and government laying down a new collective 
bargaining structure.  All future national labor contracts are 
to be of 4 years' duration.  Wage increases for the first 2 
years are to respect guidelines established through 
consultations at the national level; wages may be renegotiated 
after 2 years.  Company-level bargaining on issues not covered 
in the national contract is to take place once during the life 
of the agreement at a time to be specified in the national 
contract.  Company-level wage increases are to depend on 
performance of the firm.

National collective bargaining agreements in practice apply to 
all workers, regardless of union membership.  The July 
agreement called for further legislation to make these 
agreements legally binding on all firms in the pertinent sector.

The law prohibits antiunion discrimination by employers against 
union members and organizers.  Judges of first instance 
(Pretore) resolve complaints of discrimination.  A 1990 law 
encourages workers in small enterprises (less than 16 
employees) to join unions and requires "just cause" for 
dismissals from employment.

Employers found guilty of antiunion discrimination are required 
to reinstate workers fired for union activities if the firm has 
more than 15 employees.  In firms with less than that number, 
the employer has the option to reinstate or pay compensation up 
to approximately $15,000 at the year-end exchange rate 
(2.5 million lira) or 6 months' wages, whichever is larger.  In 
special cases, this can be increased to 10 or 15 months' 
wages.  Protection of worker rights in the case of transfer of 
company ownership is provided in a law that complies with a 
European Community (EC) directive on the subject.  The law 
requires that the unions of both the former and the new owners' 
companies be consulted in advance of the sale and that no 
worker benefits be lost as a result of the transfer.

There are no export processing zones.

     c.  Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor

Forced or compulsory labor is prohibited by law and does not 
exist in practice.

     d.  Minimum Age for Employment of Children

The law provides that no child under 15 years of age may be 
employed (with some specified exceptions).  The Ministry of 
Labor, having consulted with the labor organizations, may, as 
an exception, authorize the employment of children over 12 
years of age on specific jobs.  There are also specific 
restrictions on employment in various dangerous or unhealthful 
occupations up to the age of 18 for men and 21 for women.  In 
general, minimum age laws are effectively enforced.  However, 
some employment of children occurs in the shadow economy, 
particularly in the agricultural sector in the less prosperous 
southern parts of Italy.

     e.  Acceptable Conditions of Work

There is no minimum wage set under Italian law; basic wage and 
salary levels are set forth in collective bargaining 
agreements.  National collective bargaining agreements contain 
minimum standards to which individual employment contracts must 
conform.  In the absence of agreement between the parties, the 
courts may step in to determine fair wages on the basis of 
practice in related activities or related collective bargaining 

Working time and safety standards are established by law and 
buttressed and extended in collective labor contracts.  The 
Basic Law of 1923 provides for a maximum workweek of 48 
hours--no more than 6 days per week and 8 hours per day.  The 
8-hour day may be exceeded for some special categories.  Most 
collective bargaining agreements provide for a 36- to 38-hour 
week.  Overtime may not exceed 2 hours per day or an average of 
12 hours per week.

Basic health and safety standards and guidelines for 
compensation for on-the-job injuries are set forth in an 
extensive body of law and regulations.  While 13 of the EC's 
directives on safety and health were incorporated into Italian 
law in 1991, 8 had not yet been implemented in late 1993.  Most 
of these health and safety standards are exceeded in collective 
bargaining agreements.  Enforcement of health and safety 
regulations is entrusted to labor inspectors, who are either 
employees of local health units or of the Ministry of Labor and 
have the same status as judicial police officers.  Inspectors 
make periodic visits to companies to ensure observance of 
safety regulations.  Violators may be fined or even imprisoned; 
it is common for Italian judges to fine employers guilty of 
infractions.  Trade unions also play an important role in 
reporting safety violations to inspectors.  Coverage is 
hampered by the inadequate number of inspectors.  Union sources 
claim that many companies fail to keep records on potential 
health risks in their plants, as required by law.

Because of high unemployment, there is pressure on workers to 
accept unsafe conditions.  There are many substandard 
workplaces, especially in the south.  Following a serious 
accident at a refinery in Sicily in June, the Government 
decided to set up a special agency to deal with industrial 
accidents.  At year's end, this unit had not begun to function. 

[end of document]


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