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TITLE:  ITALY HUMAN RIGHTS PRACTICES, 1994
AUTHOR:  U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
DATE:  FEBRUARY 1995









                             ITALY


Italy is a democratic, multiparty republic with a 
directly-elected parliamentary government.  Executive authority 
is vested in the Council of Ministers, headed by the President 
of the Council (the Prime Minister).  The Head of State 
(President of the Republic) selects the Prime Minister after 
consulting with leaders of all political forces in Parliament.  
The judiciary is independent of the executive, but continues to 
be subject to occasional political pressures.

The armed forces are under the control of the Government and 
Parliament.  There are four separate police forces under 
different ministerial or local authorities.  During the year 
there have been some credible reports of police maltreatment of 
individuals while in official custody.

Italy has an industrialized market economy.  Although heavy 
government ownership of the primary industrial sectors 
persists, privatization is well underway.

Societal discrimination and some official abuses continued to 
be problems.  There were sporadic acts of violence or 
discrimination aimed at ethnic or religious minorities and 
several instances of physical abuse of prisoners by guards.  
The judicial system has moved slowly in punishing the 
perpetrators.  Moreover, the judiciary itself is accused of 
abuses such as excessive use of preventive detention and of 
inordinately drawn-out proceedings.  Politically motivated 
terrorist violence remained at low levels, but organized 
criminal elements continued to use terrorist tactics, albeit 
less frequently than in 1993.

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

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

     a.  Political and Other Extrajudicial Killing

In May the public prosecutor in Turin brought manslaughter 
charges against two police officers accused of beating a 
suspect to death after his arrest in December 1993; the trial 
began in November and was still in progress at year's end.  
Also begun in November and still in progress was the trial in 
Turin of two policemen accused of inflicting mortal injuries on 
an unarmed suspect they were apprehending.  In October the 
judiciary in Padua committed to trial an officer of the 
carabiniere police force who was accused of manslaughter in the 
death of an 11-year-old Roma detainee in September 1993; a 
court hearing is scheduled for March 1995.  The case of the 
Iranian opposition leader killed in March 1993 remains 
unsolved.

There were no credible reports of death while in official 
custody in 1994.

     b.  Disappearance

There were no reports of disappearance.

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

The law prohibits torture and cruel or degrading punishment.  
However, there have been credible reports that in several cases 
police abused detainees or prisoners during interrogation, 
usually by repeated kicks and punches or prolonged beatings 
with batons.  In February a public prosecutor in Rome initiated 
proceedings against a police officer accused of ill-treatment 
of a 13-year-old in September 1993.

There also continue to be credible allegations--some proven 
true--of guards' abuse of prisoners.  In November 1993 the 
director of a jail in 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; the trial is scheduled for January 1995.

A report by Amnesty International in June cited specific 
instances of alleged ill-treatment of prisoners, including 13 
formal complaints in February by inmates of Sulmona prison 
accusing the staff of maltreating prisoners and "committing 
acts of deliberate humiliation and extortion."  The director of 
this prison was suspended from duty in early 1994; there is no 
confirmation that this action was taken as a result of these 
events, and Amnesty International has not received any response 
to its inquiry to date.

In an open letter published by the press in February, inmates 
of Secondigliano prison claimed guards had repeatedly beaten a 
prisoner during a 2-day period just before his court hearing, 
and that they threatened him with further ill-treatment if he 
reported the beatings to the judges; the Government has not 
responded to these complaints.  In December the Naples 
judiciary committed to trial 70 of the guards at this prison, 
including the chief warden, on charges of ill-treatment of some 
300 inmates in early 1993; the trials are scheduled to begin in 
the spring of 1995.

In June six prison guards were held in preventive detention for 
2 weeks and suspended from their jobs for 2 months for having 
beaten a prisoner in a Monza jail.

The prison population exceeds the maximum capacity of the 
nation's prisons by some 50 percent--in some prisons the 
inmates number two or three times the capacity--and reportedly 
there are also problems of poor sanitation and inadequate 
medical assistance in prisons.  These conditions have continued 
to spark numerous hunger strikes in various prisons, and 
presumably were a factor prompting many of the more than 100 
prison suicides in the past 2 years alone.

Legislation in August 1993 made it easier for certain 
categories of offenders to receive house arrest, pending 
conclusion of their trials, and to be sentenced to alternatives 
to imprisonment.

The Government permits independent monitoring of prison 
conditions by parliamentarians, local human rights groups, the 
media, and other organizations.

     d.  Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile

The law requires police to obtain a judicial warrant in order 
to make an arrest, and to lodge charges within 48 hours.  The 
law limits the maximum duration of preventive or investigative 
detention to 2, 4, or 6 years depending on the gravity of the 
crime.  If a detainee is charged with additional offenses, the 
detention can be extended beyond the original maximum 
duration.  In some cases, pre-trial detention is extended when 
the accused, already in detention on specific charges, is 
charged with additional offenses.  This has often been the case 
during "clean hands" judiciary proceedings connected to 
kickbacks and corruption over government contracts, 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 1994 there continued to be considerable expression of public 
concern about the excessive use of preventive detention, 
particularly in the "clean hands" investigations, where 
detention was said to be used for purposes for which it was not 
intended, such as to obtain confessions or information on other 
investigations.  Legislation was introduced in Parliament to 
restrict the use of preventive detention.  Political parties 
across the spectrum support such legislative proposals.

There is no provision for bail, but judges often grant 
provisional liberty to suspects awaiting trial.  As a safeguard 
against unjustified detention, panels of judges ("liberty 
tribunals") review cases of persons awaiting trial and decide 
whether continued detention is warranted.  Despite these 
measures, as of mid-1994 over 40 percent of inmates were in 
prison because they were awaiting either trial or the outcome 
of an appeal, rather than because they had been convicted of an 
offense.  The average waiting period for trials is about 18 
months, but can exceed 24 months; preventive detention thus 
sometimes runs longer than the penalty for the crime.  The 
Constitution and law provide for restitution in cases of unjust 
detention.

Detainees are allowed prompt and regular access to lawyers of 
their choosing and to family members.  If a detainee is 
indigent, the State provides a lawyer.

There are no political detainees.  Punishment by exile abroad 
is not practiced, and a 1993 law prohibits domestic exile.

     e.  Denial of Fair Public Trial

The law provides for trials to be fair and public, and the 
authorities observe these provisions.  Counsel is provided for 
the accused, at government expense if necessary.  The law 
grants defendants the presumption of innocence.  Trials are 
public, and defendants have access to an attorney sufficiently 
in advance to prepare a defense.  Defendants can confront 
witnesses.  All government-held evidence is normally made 
available to defendants and their attorneys.  Defendants can 
appeal verdicts to the highest appellate court.

Although the authorities generally make good-faith efforts to 
provide due process, trials frequently last years, owing to 
cumbersome procedures.  A revised Code of Criminal Procedure 
which took effect in 1989 sought to streamline the process, but 
it has proven ineffective; the Parliament is amending it, but 
progress has been slow.

The judiciary is formally autonomous and independent of the 
executive.  However, there is a broad public perception that 
magistrates are subject to political influence and that some 
are swayed by their political biases or personal interests.  
Since 1993 some 200 magistrates have come under judicial 
investigation on charges of corruption, collusion, or 
mafia-related crimes; so far, 13 have been arrested, of which 
at least 4 have been committed to trial.

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

The law safeguards the privacy of the home, and the authorities 
respect this provision.  Searches and electronic monitoring may 
be carried out only under judicial warrant and in carefully 
defined circumstances.  There have been no reports of any other 
kinds of violations of privacy.

Section 2  Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

     a.  Freedom of Speech and Press

The law provides for freedom of speech and press, and the 
Government does not interfere with these rights.  While there 
are laws against obscenity and defamation of state 
institutions, they have not been enforced in the past several 
years.

The public enjoys unhampered access to numerous newspapers and 
magazines, and to broadcasts by several state-run radio and 
television stations and by many private radio stations.

     b.  Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

The Government does not restrict the right of peaceful assembly 
except 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 
operate freely.

While allowing general freedom of association, the Constitution 
and law prohibit associations that are clandestine; or that 
pursue political aims through paramilitary forces; or that 
revive the Fascist Party; or, since a 1993 decree, that incite 
racial, ethnic, national, or religious discrimination.

In May an authorized demonstration by 200 skinheads in Vicenza 
provoked widespread accusations that the Government and police 
were permitting a revival of Fascism.  The Interior Minister 
promptly removed the city's Prefect and Chief of Police; 
initiated judicial action that could lead to prosecution of all 
participants in the demonstration; and banned all further 
demonstrations by skinheads.  The Justice Minister and police 
noted, however, that because the demonstration was peaceful, 
there were scant grounds for prosecution.  The Vicenza Public 
Prosecutor, while expressing the same view, requested Justice 
Ministry authorization to initiate proceedings against 22 
participants on charges of public defamation of the Republic; 
the Justice Minister granted this authorization in December.

     c.  Freedom of Religion

The Government does not interfere with the teaching or practice 
of any faith.  It subsidizes the Roman Catholic Church, the 
Adventist Church, and the Assemblies of God by allowing 
taxpayers to elect to designate a fixed small percentage of 
their tax payment to one or another of these.  In November 1993 
the Buddhist community applied for the same funding, but the 
Government has not yet responded.

Roman Catholic religious instruction is offered in public 
schools as an optional subject.  Those students who do not want 
to attend the "hour of religion" may take an alternative 
course.  Some schools allow free time as an option.

     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.  The Constitution forbids deprivation of 
citizenship for political reasons.

The Government cooperates with the U.N. High Commissioner for 
Refugees and other humanitarian organizations in assisting 
refugees.  Italy usually does not grant asylum or permanent 
refugee status; rather, applicants are granted temporary 
residence permits that must be renewed periodically and that 
carry no guarantee of future permanent status.  The Government 
does not force applicants to return to countries in which they 
presumably would face persecution, and there were no reports of 
forced expulsion of any having a valid claim to refugee 
status.

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

All citizens over the age of 18 have the right to vote, by 
secret ballot, for the 630 members of the Chamber of Deputies.  
Those over 25 have the right to vote for 315 of the 325 members 
of the Senate, which also has 10 non-elected members, such as 
former presidents of the Republic.  Elections must be held 
every 5 years, or sooner if the President of the Republic so 
orders.  The Parliament and a few representatives of regional 
bodies jointly elect the President of the Republic for a 7-year 
term.  The President nominates the Prime Minister, who upon 
election by the Parliament selects the other ministers.

There are no restrictions in law on women's participation in 
government and politics, but social restraints keep it lower 
than that of men.  In 1994 women occupied 1 of 26 cabinet 
positions; 29 of 325 Senate seats; and 86 of 630 in the lower 
house (up from 51 in 1993), including its presidency  .

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

The Government freely permits nongovernmental or international 
organizations to investigate conditions in Italy and to publish 
their findings.

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

The law prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, sex 
(except with regard to hazardous work--see below), religion, 
ethnic background, or political opinion, and provides some 
protection against discrimination based on disability, 
language, or social status.  However, societal discrimination 
is still evident, especially regarding sex and ethnicity.

     Women

Some laws that nominally are intended to protect women from 
hazardous work keep them out of jobs that some of them--perhaps 
many--are able and willing to undertake; e.g., women are not 
permitted to be employed underground in quarries, mines, or 
tunnels.  Also, laws notwithstanding, employers generally 
continue to pay higher salaries to men than to women doing 
comparable work, and to favor men over comparably qualified 
women in filling jobs, particularly those in management or 
likely to lead to it.  Official data indicate that only 30 
percent of adult women are employed outside the home, and that 
of these, only 0.1 percent hold top-level managerial positions.

Women are underrepresented also in some public-sector 
professions; e.g., in the judicial branch, women account for 
barely more than one-fourth of all magistrates; 10 of the 725 
executive positions; 9 of the 591 middle-management positions; 
and 1 of 27 presidencies of minors' courts.  Likewise, of the 
27 public prosecutors in the minors' courts, only 3 are women.

A recent study found that among workers up to age 30, women are 
paid on average $9,700 (equivalent) a year less than men; in 
the 40-45 age bracket the disparity averages $17,400; and among 
workers at the end of their careers, women earn an average 
$34,200 a year as against $66,450 for men.

No law prohibits sexual harassment; and although it is 
prohibited by labor agreements covering significant sectors 
(such as metalworking--the leading industrial sector--and 
public service), women who bring suit based on these provisions 
have generally not won their cases.

Women enjoy legal equality with men in marriage and in property 
and inheritance rights.

Various laws seek to protect women from physical abuse, 
especially from members of their family.  Spousal rape is 
legally regarded as the same as other rape.  Although there are 
no reliable data on the extent of domestic violence against 
women, media reports of it are common and indicate it is 
widespread.  Police and judges are not reluctant to bring 
perpetrators to justice, but victims often do not bring 
charges, due to fear, shame, or ignorance of the law.

The Government provides a hot-line telephone service which 
helps abused women obtain legal, medical, and other 
assistance.  In 1994 private associations of women made several 
houses available for sheltering battered women.

The media have reported a number of cases of trafficking of 
women, usually involving forced prostitution.  Most of these 
women are illegal immigrants, and so as a rule they do not 
contact the police.  The police have made several arrests for 
these offenses.

     Children

Societal abuse of children continued to be a problem.  A 
nationwide, toll-free, privately financed telephone hot-line 
service to help abused children receives an average of about 20 
calls a day that report serious cases (along with 200 a day 
that are not deemed serious).  In 1994 it began to provide 
psychological assistance to minors involved in criminal 
proceedings.  Social workers are authorized to take remedial or 
punitive action to protect children, and they can place abused 
children in family shelters.

     National/Racial/Ethnic Minorities

Immigrants and other foreigners continued to face widespread 
societal discrimination, and some were subjected to racially 
motivated attacks.

In February five skinheads on a bus beat and stabbed a Tunisian 
passenger while 70 other youngsters watched; the five were 
apprehended, jailed for 9 days, and sentenced to 18 months in 
prison, but the sentence was suspended.

Similarly, in June nine youths on a train beat a university 
student from Zaire; they were not jailed, and received 
suspended sentences of 20 months.

Also in June, four skinheads attacked the Imam of the Islamic 
community in a small city; they were arrested, jailed, and 10 
days later were given suspended sentences of up to a year.

In July a fire of suspicious origin destroyed a shantytown that 
was home to 2,200 illegal immigrants from North Africa, while 
most of them were away doing their seasonal work as migratory 
farm laborers.

In the most serious anti-Semitic incident, a Norwegian Jewish 
woman residing in Assisi was assaulted by several youths who, 
to date, have not been apprehended.

The Forum of Foreign Communities, a new entity representing 
immigrants, in 1993 registered 352 incidents of violence 
against 24 ethnic groups involving 504 immigrants.  Over 
two-thirds of the attacks occurred in Rome, and most 
perpetrators were below age 25.  Preliminary 1994 data indicate 
there were slight reductions in these numbers.  The Forum has 
arranged a telephone hot-line with a toll-free number to report 
incidents of violence against foreigners.

The only major act of violence against Roma during the year was 
a firebombing attack against a Roma encampment in Sardinia in 
October by three minors and an older youth; in December the 
latter was given a 6-month suspended sentence for throwing a 
"Molotov cocktail" into the camp.  Firemen extinguished the 
blaze before it injured anyone.  There have been sporadic 
demonstrations, so far peaceful, against the establishment of 
one of eight camps for Roma to be set up outside Rome.  The 
first of these camps opened in December without significant 
local opposition.

     People with Disabilities

A 1968 law requires almost all employers of 35 or more persons 
to staff 15 percent of their workforce with disabled persons, 
but as yet only about 4 percent of the employees in these firms 
are disabled.

A 1971 law requires public buildings to be made accessible to 
the physically handicapped, but compliance in schools and other 
buildings is still not universal.

A 1992 law sets forth the rights of disabled persons, provides 
for various kinds of assistance to them, imposes fines on 
employers who do not comply, and authorizes the Labor 
Inspectorate of the Ministry of Labor to enforce this law.  
However, a seminar in February 1994 concluded that this law had 
not yet significantly benefited the over 2 million permanently 
disabled people in Italy because the relevant institutions were 
still not equipped to implement it.

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 free of 
government controls, and no longer have ties with political 
parties.  The Constitution provides for the right to strike, 
and this right is frequently exercised.  A 1990 law restricts 
strikes affecting essential public services such as transport, 
sanitation, and health.

The Workers' Statute prohibits employers of more than 15 
workers (or, in agriculture, more than 5) 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.

Italian unions associate freely with international trade union 
organizations.

     b.  The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively

The Constitution provides for the right of workers to organize 
and bargain collectively, and the Government does not hamper 
this.  By custom (though not by law), national collective 
bargaining agreements apply to all workers regardless of union 
membership; a July 1993 accord guaranteeing this has not yet 
been implemented as law.

The law prohibits discrimination by employers against union 
members and organizers.  The law requires employers found 
guilty of antiunion discrimination to reinstate workers fired 
for union activities if the firm has more than 15 employees.  A 
1990 law covering enterprises with 15 or fewer employees 
encourages workers in them to join unions, and requires that 
when a union member is fired, the employer must state the 
grounds in writing; if the judges reject the grounds, the 
employer must either reinstate or compensate the worker.

There are no export processing zones.

     c.  Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor

The law prohibits forced or compulsory labor, and it does not 
occur.

     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 may authorize the employment of children aged 13 or 14 on 
certain jobs.  There are also specific restrictions on 
employment of males under age 18, and females under age 21, in 
various hazardous or unhealthful occupations.  Enforcement of 
the minimum-age laws is effective only outside the extensive 
"shadow" economy; a recent study concluded that some 400,000 
children below age 15 are employed illegally, largely in 
agriculture in southern Italy.

In August a legislative decree came into effect that provides 
for more severe fines on employers who violate child-labor 
laws, while it removes some minor violations from the Criminal 
Code.

     e.  Acceptable Conditions of Work

Minimum wages are set not by law but rather by national 
collective bargaining agreements.  These specify minimum 
standards to which individual employment contracts must 
conform.  When an employer and union fail to reach agreement, 
the courts may step in to determine fair wages on the basis of 
practice in comparable activities or agreements.

The law establishes standards for workhours, and collective 
labor contracts elaborate them.  The Basic Law of 1923 provides 
for a maximum workweek of 48 hours, with no more than 6 days 
per week and 8 hours per day, except that the latter can be 
exceeded in some specified kinds of jobs.  Most collective 
agreements provide for a 36- to 38-hour workweek.  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 laws and regulations.  A legislative decree 
in September incorporated into Italian law the eight European 
Union Directives on Health and Safety, which had not previously 
been applied in Italy.  They will take effect on various dates 
in 1995 and early 1996.  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; but the 
number of inspectors is too small to permit fully effective 
enforcement.  The courts usually impose fines on convicted 
violators, but sometimes sentence them to prison.

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 in mid-1993, the Government announced it would 
establish a special agency to deal with industrial accidents, 
but this has not yet been done.  However, in 1994 Parliament 
revised the basic legislation on such accidents so as to 
provide guidelines regarding dangerous production processes.

(###)


[end of document]

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