Out of limbo – english version

Promoting the right of undocumented and stateless Roma migrants to a legal status in Italy
The project, promoted by ASGI in partnership with Associazione 21 Luglio and Fondazione Romanì and supported by a grant from the Open Society Foundations, aims to change the policies, regulations and practices that perpetuate the lack of a legal status by undocumented and stateless migrants of Roma origin in Italy, by:
– strengthening the legal competences and advocacy capacity of Roma and non Roma practitioners working with Roma communities and their links with expert lawyers, so that they can play the role of “community-based paralegals”;
– building a national network of Roma and non Roma “community-based paralegals”;
– promoting strategic litigations on this issue; d) promoting evidence-based advocacy at local and national level;
– increasing the visibility of the issue on traditional and social media, in order to build the consensus on the need for change.

 

1. Background

1. The issue and the changes needed

A significant proportion of Roma people originating from the Balkans and born or habitually residing in Italy are stateless persons without any legal status or undocumented persons at risk of statelessness.
These persons are stuck in a limbo of legal invisibility and lack of rights, generation after generation. They have no or limited access to social services, health care, education, employment and housing as well as no political rights. They also risk getting expulsion orders and being detained in a detention center (CIE).
An estimated 15.000(1) Roma children in Italy are stateless or at risk of statelessness and the number is due to increase, because in most cases this status will pass to their children.
Since a legal status is a precondition to access a wide range of rights, policies aimed at fighting discriminations against Roma people in Italy, particularly regarding access to employment and housing, are seriously hindered and cannot produce significant results until this problem is not effectively addressed.
A number of reasons explain why so many Roma in Italy are stateless or at risk of statelessness, including:
a) restrictive legislations, policies and practices, concerning citizenship, statelessness and immigration, by both Italy and the States stemming from the breakup of Yugoslavia, that produce particularly harsh consequences on the most marginalized and discriminated groups such as Roma people;
b) a lack of knowledge by Roma people, NGOs and relevant authorities on the issues concerning the identification and protection of stateless persons and the access to a legal status and citizenship.
According to Italian law on citizenship, which is based on jus sanguinis, children born in Italy to non-nationals who have not been recognized as stateless persons do not acquire Italian citizenship at birth (Law n. 91/92, art. 1).
They can acquire Italian nationality when they come of age, only if they have been legally resident from birth to the age of 18, without interruptions, and submit an application to the Municipality by the age of 19 (Law n. 91/92, art. 4, par. 2). Many Roma youth and parents are not informed about these requirements and procedures. Moreover, some Municipalities adopt restrictive interpretation of the law and refuse to recognize Italian citizenship to legally resident youth born in Italy that stayed undocumented for limited periods.

 

Many Roma children do not even acquire the parents’ State of origin’s citizenship. In some cases the parents are citizens of one of the States of the former Yugoslavia but they are not able to register their child with the Consulate nor to get the child’s passport, because they do not know the procedures or they cannot afford the fees and travel expenses. Moreover, some Consulates issue passports only to citizens regularly staying in the host country. Obtaining documents in the State of origin is also complicated, because undocumented people have difficulties in crossing borders. Some undocumented parents also fear that registration would facilitate their children’s deportation.
In other cases, the child cannot acquire the parents’ State of origin’s citizenship because the parents themselves are not registered as citizens. In fact, many Roma living in Italy never got the citizenship of any of the new States stemming from the breakup of Yugoslavia, due to a number of reasons, including discriminatory practices against Roma by the authorities of these States. Sometimes, the parents do not have any documents because they were not registered at birth or the documents got lost or destroyed.

 

Those persons that are not considered as citizens by the State of origin should be recognized as stateless persons by Italian authorities and be accordingly issued a residence permit and identity documents. But in practice very few stateless persons get a recognized status.
Most Roma people do not know how to apply for the recognition of the stateless status.
Moreover, the statelessness determination procedure, both the administrative and the judicial one, is very difficult to access. In order to submit an application to the Ministry of Interior, the person is required to demonstrate a registered residence and a residence permit, even though the law does not provide “legal residence” as a requisite (Dpr 572/93, art. 17). But non-nationals lacking a passport cannot get a residence permit and a registered residence: as a consequence, the administrative procedure is in practice not accessible for almost any applicant.
Also the judicial procedure is not easy to get access to: after a very long debate, it has been recently ruled that the stateless determination proceedings must be brought under the ordinary legal procedure, which is much more expensive than the non-contentious one and less accessible, since the competent authority is the Court of Rome.
Even when an application is submitted, it is in most cases rejected, because Italian authorities – both the Ministry of Interior and some judges – often apply very restrictive criteria, not consistent with the UNHCR Guidelines on Statelessness.

 

Italian law on immigration provides some cases where irregularly staying migrants can get a residence permit, derogating from the ordinary provisions on immigration, on discretionary decisions by local authorities: for example, parents who get a special authorization to stay by the Juvenile Court, based on the best interests of the child (D.lgs. 286/98, art. 31, par. 3) and persons who, according to local Police authorities’ assessments, cannot be deported for serious humanitarian reasons (D.lgs. 286/98, art. 5, par. 6; Dpr 394/99, art. 11), can be issued temporary residence permits.
These provisions, however, are very little applied in practice, both because many Roma people ignore them and because the competent authorities adopt restrictive interpretation of the law. For example, residence permits for humanitarian reasons are often rejected on the grounds of irrelevant criminal record. Moreover, some Juvenile Courts authorize parents to stay in Italy only if the child has serious health problems notwithstanding Supreme Court’s decisions stating that this provision must be interpreted more extensively. Finally, a passport is usually required for getting even this kind of residence permits, thus excluding all those Roma people that do not hold a passport of their or their parents’ State of origin.

 

In July 2013 Croatia will enter the EU. This could on the one hand increase the influx of Croatian Roma migrants to Italy as well as other EU Member States. On the other hand, it might increase the number of undocumented migrants originating from Croatia and residing for decades in the EU interested in (re)acquiring the Croatian nationality.

 

To address the above mentioned problems, the following changes are therefore needed:

 

1. Increased information: Roma people should be more informed about the procedures to get the Italian citizenship, a regular migration status or the stateless status and should receive more support so that they manage to overcome the many obstacles that prevent them from getting a legal status.
2. Practices and implementation of the law at local level:
– Municipalities should recognize the Italian citizenship to youth born in Italy (Law n. 91/92, art. 4, par. 2) even in cases where they lacked a residence permit or a registered residence for a significant period between their birth and the age of 18;
– Police local authorities should issue a residence permit on humanitarian grounds (D.lgs. 286/98, art. 5, par. 6; Dpr 394/99, art. 11) to those that cannot be returned to the country of origin, according to the jurisprucende on art. 8 ECHR, irrespective of their criminal record and the lack of passport;
– Juvenile Courts should authorize parents to stay in Italy, in the best interests of the child (D.lgs. 286/98, art. 31, par. 3) in a less restrictive way, according to the above mentioned Supreme Court’s decisions.
3. Policies at national level:
– the Ministry of Interior-Department Public Security should issue a circular instructing Police local authorities to issue a residence permit on humanitarian grounds to those that cannot be returned to the country of origin, according to the jurisprucende on art. 8 ECHR (D.lgs. 286/98, art. 5, par. 6; Dpr 394/99, art. 11)
– the Ministry of Interior-Department Civil Liberties should recognize the stateless status under the administrative procedure irrespective of the legal residence of the applicant (Dpr 572/93, art. 17)
– the Ministry of Interior-Department Civil Liberties and the Court of Rome should apply criteria for the determination of the stateless status consistent with UNHCR Guidelines.
4. Legislation changes: the Parliament should
– reform the judicial procedure for the recognition of the stateless status
– reform the law on citizenship introducing the acquistion jure soli (Law n. 91/92, art. 1).
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2. The debate and the actions undertaken
The presence of undocumented and stateless migrants of Roma origin in Italy has been particularly relevant since the ’90, following the significant influx of Roma refugees fleeing the war in the Balkans. But the problem stayed almost ignored until very recently.
As far as we know, ASGI is the only NGO that has carried out specific projects aimed at promoting the access to a legal status by undocumented Roma people since 2008, as partner in a number of projects promoted in Turin and in nearby cities by the NGO Cooperativa Valdocco and some Municipalities, funded by the Province of Turin, the Piemonte Region, the Ministry of Welfare, the EU and Compagnia di San Paolo Foundation.
In these projects, ASGI’s lawyers provided training and legal advice to social workers and Roma cultural mediators working with Roma communities living in camps, so that they could identify in which cases getting a legal status was possible. The social workers and cultural mediators, who knew the Roma families very well, played a crucial role in explaining the legal procedures to the Roma families, collecting the necessary documentation, accompanying them to Registry Offices and other authorities, preparing reports where the family’s story was explained so that the lawyer could use these in applications for residence permits. This cooperation among lawyers and social workers/cultural mediators, who in fact played the role of „community-based paralegals“, was extremely effective.
In some camps, ASGI’s lawyers also carried out non formal trainings and information activities on the access to a legal status.
A very good cooperation was developed with Police local authorities, that issued several residence permits for humanitarian reasons; with the Juvenile Court, that authorized many parents to regularly stay in Italy based on the best interests of the child; and with Municipality social services.
Finally, two social workers speaking Serbo-Croatian accompanied many families to the Serbian and Bosnian Consulates and managed to get passports in cases where previously seemed impossible.
Almost 100 cases where supported, and most of them got a passport and a residence permit.
We think that this kind of projects can be a „good practice“ that can be replicated in other contexts.
Besides these projects, it must be stressed that many ASGI’s lawyers defended undocumented and stateless Roma migrants in courts in the last decade, becoming among the most expert lawyers in Italy on these issues.
After a long silence, since 2011 the issue of stateless Roma people has been raised in a number of reports and recommendations by the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe, ECRI, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, OSCE as well as the Commission on Human Rights of the Italian Senate(2).
The National Strategy for the Inclusion of Roma, Sinti and Caminanti Communities, adopted by the Italian Government following the EU Council Conclusions 10658/11, mentions the problem of de facto stateless Roma people as one of the priorities that must be addressed in order to promote the inclusion of this minority. The implementation of this commitment, as well as the other commitments undertaken by the Italian Government in the National Strategy, will be monitored by the EU.
As provided by the National Strategy, a governmental Working Group on the legal status of Roma people has been established, including the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and UNHCR. The Working Group met several times and heared a number of Roma and non Roma NGOs, including ASGI (February 2013). In May 2013, ASGI sent to this governmental body a document proposing law and policy changes aimed at addressing the problem of the lack of a legal status by undocumented and stateless migrants of Roma origin in Italy. The conclusions and plan of action of the Working Group are expected by June 2013.
According to the the National Strategy, Regional Tables should also be created at local level, to address the problems hindering the social inclusion of Roma, with particular reference to employment, housing, education and health.
Besides the specific situation of Roma people, it must be stressed that some mainstreamn policy reforms are under discussion.
A lively debate on the reform of the law on citizenship has started since 2012, following the campaign “L’Italia sono anch’io” („I am Italy too“), promoted by ASGI and several NGOs: the President of the Republic and recently the new Ministry for Integration took very strong positions in favour of jus soli and the proposal was included in the political programme of several political parties. This debate was largely reported by the media. The bills are expected to be discussed by the Parliament in the next months.
Finally, after a long period where nobody seemed interested in statelessness, both UNHCR and several NGOs started to deal with this issue, in Italy as well as in Europe, as demonstrated by the very important Guidelines on Statelessness issued by UNHCR and the impressive number of NGOs that entered the European Network on Statelessness (ASGI too is a member of the ENS).
Following these initiatives, policy makers started to be more aware about statelessness. The representative of the Ministry of Interior in the Working Group on the legal status of Roma people anticipated that the Government might propose a reform of the legal provisions on statelessness, within the reform of the law on citizenship.
All these processes create a momentum and an important opportunity that can provide an opening to change the relevant law, policy and practices that perpetuate the lack of legal status by undocumented and stateless migrants of Roma origin in Italy.
The research carried out by CIR in 2012, “IN THE SUN – Survey on the phenomenon of statelessness among Roma communities living in Italy”, was a very important step in increasing the knowledge about the issue of stateless and at risk of statelessness Roma people.
Now, it is urgent to act.
The project “OUT of LIMBO” means to provide a follow-up to that research, promoting a range of activities aimed at changing the policies, regulations and practices that perpetuate the lack of a legal status by undocumented and stateless migrants of Roma origin in Italy.
It must be stressed that in many other EU countries such as Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, France, there are significant numbers of stateless and at risk of statelessness Roma people, even though Italy is probably the EU country where their number is the highest. Moreover, Italy is one of the few States where a legal framework on the statelessness determination procedure exists, even though it does not work effectively. A project promoting an effective implementation of the legal provisions on statelessness and the prevention and reduction of statelessness among Roma people in Italy would therefore represent a “good practice” that might be inspiring for other States and the EU institutions.
The EU Presidency by Italy in 2014 is a significant opportunity to raise awareness of EU institutions and Member States and to promote policy changes in this field at European level (e.g. the inclusion of the issue of legal status in the EU framework of National Roma Integration Strategies).
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2. Objectives

1. Overall goal of the project: 
The OUT OF LIMBO project aims to change the policies, regulations, enforcement of the law and practices that perpetuate the lack of a legal status by undocumented and stateless migrants of Roma origin in Italy, including both migrants born abroad and persons born in Italy to parents originating from the Balkans.
The project has a national dimension and a local one, focusing particularly on the cities of Rome, Milan and Naples, where the largest Roma communities originating from the Balkans live and where extremely discriminatory policies were enforced in the last years(1).
2. Specific objectives:
1. To strengthen the legal competences and advocacy capacity of Roma and non Roma practitioners working with Roma communities, in particular in Rome, Milan and Naples, as well as their links with expert lawyers, so that they can play the role of “community-based paralegals” and promote the access of undocumented and stateless Roma persons to a legal status, assisting them in individual documentation cases, advocating on local authorities and promoting community education activities.
2. To build a national network of Roma and non Roma “community-based paralegals” engaged in promoting undocumented and stateless Roma migrants’ access to a legal status in different Italian cities (particularly in Rome, Milan and Naples), so that they can share their experiences and good practices, they can be more legitimated in their work at local level and strenghten their advocacy capacity at national level.
3. To promote strategic litigations concerning undocumented and stateless Roma migrants’ access to a legal status, identifying the cases fom those reported by the paralegals, in order to produce changes in the policies, regulations and legislation concerning statelessness, the acquisition of Italian citizenship and the issue of a residence permit on humanitarian grounds and to strenghten the paralegals‘ confidence that their action can produce change.
4. To promote evidence-based advocacy, documenting the obstacles that prevent undocumented and stateless Roma migrants from getting a legal status and the possible solutions to address these obstacles, from the stories and experiences of the cases supported by paralegals and lawyers.
5. To increase the visibility on traditional and social media of the rights violations that undocumented and stateless Roma people suffer and the possible solutions, in order to raise policy makers and public opinion’s awareness on the issue and promote the consensus on the need for change.
6. To promote practices by local authorities more favourable to the access of undocumented and stateless Roma persons to a legal status, in Rome, Milan and Naples, in particular:
– Municipalities recognizing the Italian citizenship to youth born in Italy (Law n. 91/92, art. 4, par. 2) even in cases where they lacked a residence permit or a registered residence for a significant period between their birth and the age of 18;
– Police local authorities issuing a residence permit on humanitarian grounds (D.lgs. 286/98, art. 5, par. 6; Dpr 394/99, art. 11) to those that cannot be returned to the country of origin, according to the jurisprucende on art. 8 ECHR, irrespective of their criminal records and the lack of passport;
– Juvenile Courts authorizing parents to stay in Italy, in the best interests of the child (D.lgs. 286/98, art. 31, par. 3) in a less restrictive way, according to the Supreme Court’s decisions (e.g. even in cases where the child has not health problems and irrespective of their criminal records).
7. To promote legislation reforms and national policies more favourable to the access of undocumented and stateless Roma persons to a legal status, in particular:
– a circular by the Ministry of Interior-Department Public Security instructing Police local authorities to issue a residence permit on humanitarian grounds to those that cannot be returned to the country of origin, according to the jurisprucende on art. 8 ECHR (D.lgs. 286/98, art. 5, par. 6; Dpr 394/99, art. 11);
– policy by the Ministry of Interior-Department Civil Liberties to recognize the stateless status under the administrative procedure irrespective of the legal residence of the applicant (Dpr 572/93, art. 17);
– application, by the Ministry of Interior-Department Civil Liberties and the Court of Rome, of criteria for the determination of the stateless status consistent with UNHCR Guidelines;
– reforms of the judicial procedure for the recognition of the stateless status and the law on citizenship introducing the acquistion jure soli (Law n. 91/92, art. 1), or at least a debate on these reforms.
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(1)  In 2009, the State of Emergency related to nomad communities was declared in Lazio, Lombardia and Campania, and thousands of evictions were executed by local authorities in Rome and Milan..

3. Activities

1. Selection of potential community-based paralegals
15 Roma and non Roma persons working with Roma people will be selected through an open call at national level. They can be employed staff (full/part time) or volunteers, they can be experienced in working on documentation or interested in starting to work on this specific issue.
The call will be sent to the many contacts that ASGI, Associazione 21 luglio and Fondazione Romanì have in many different cities, in Northern, Central and Southern Italy.
In order to maximize the impact of the project, participants will be selected giving priority to athose working with the highest number of Roma families.
10 Roma young activists who are attending courses run by Fondazione Romanì and Associazione 21 luglio will also be included in the group.
2. Initial workshop
A 2-days residential workshop will be organized.
The workshop will address:
the role of paralegals;
the legal framework concerning the access of undocumented and stateless Roma migrants to a legal status: procedures for the recognition of the stateless status, issue of a residence permit on humanitarian or other ground, acquisition of Italian citizenship, acquisition of the nationality of the Western Balkans States of origin;
successful methodologies used by ASGI and other NGOs to promote the access of undocumented and stateless migrants to a legal status;
how to address individual documentation cases and how to record the problems, the activities undertaken etc.;
advocacy strategies at national and local level to promote the access of undocumented and stateless Roma migrants to a legal status;
community education: how to increase the competences and capacity of Roma people and communities to solve their problems about documentation autonomously, so that they do not become dependent on paralegals.
The workshop will be organized with the approach of „non formal education“. Participants will be required to participate in a very active way, sharing their experiences, competences and ideas. Methodologies such as role-playing, case studies etc. will be used.
One of the outuput of the workshop will be the production, by the participants, of information materials that can be distributed in Roma communities to spread information on how to get a legal status, translated in Romanès and in Serbo-Croatian.
The initial training will be shorter than in other community-based paralegals programs, because the project „OUT OF LIMBO“ does not address in general all the legal problems that Roma communities and individuals face (e.g. criminal proceedings, evictions and property rights, adoption of Roma children etc.) but is specifically focused on issues related to documentation. Moreover, since the paralegals will not be paid by the project budget and most of them are poorly paid or even volunteers, they probably would not be available to attend a longer training.
3. Individual documentation cases 
Participants will be required to identify 3 cases of undocumented or stateless migrants of Roma origin they commit to support in their access to a legal status, during the 10 months between the first and the second workshop – e.g. assisting the concerned person in filing an application for a residence permit on humanitarian grounds or an application for the recognition of the stateless status through the administrative procedure; supporting him or her in obtaining the birth certificate or the passport from the State of origin etc.
ASGI’s lawyers will provide legal advice to the paralegals in these 45 individual documentation cases, through the online platform (see below) or in person.
Each lawyer will support and supervise 2-3 paralegals. The Project Coordinator will ensure supervision of the wole group of paralegals at national level.
For each person supported, the paralegals will be required to record an individual case file, reporting all the problems met, the actions undertaken to solve them etc. Every month they will send the updated case files to the Project Coordinator and the lawyer supervising them.
Since the paralegals will not be paid by the project budget for this work, we are not able to ask them a more significant commitment. Nonetheless, it must be considered that at least some ot the paralegals that will be involved will be practitioners that work on individual documentation cases in their ordinary work, supporting much more than 3 cases in 10 months: as a consequence, the competences they will acquire within the project will have an impact on a higher number of cases. Estimating that, during the project period, each paralegal may support in his or her ordinary work and with the support of local lawyers not involved in the project, on average 10 persons, 150 persons are estimated to be supported besides the 45 cases recorded. Regarding these around 150 cases, paralegals will not be required to fill out individual case files and to update them on a monthly basis, since it would require too much effort: they will just summarize their stories and the activities undertaken in a short report.
The 10 Roma young activists who in most cases have no work experience and as consequence will not be able to take the responsibility of an individual documentation case, will work together with an experienced paralegal or will be involved in different activities (e.g. they might cooperate in implementing the Media strategy with Associazione 21 luglio).
4. Small local intervention 
Participants will also be invited to submit a project proposal for a small intervention at local level. This local project might include for example community education activities, advocacy activities targeted to local authorities or Consulates or the employment of a Roma cultural mediator.
The Project Coordinator and the Steering Committee will assess the proposals received and a small budget (5.000 euro=6.6557 USD) will be allocated to the selected project.
The selected NGO/person will be required to report monthly on the implementation of the small local intervention and will be supported by the project’s staff (Project Coordinator and Lawyers) in addressing the problems that might arise.
The aims of this activity are a) to stimulate the creativity and active participation of the paralegals involved, encouraging them in planning activities that are useful to advance the rights of the Roma communities and individuals they work with; b) to make a concrete exercise in project planning; c) to implement in a local context activities that go beyond the individual documentation case, that will be reported and discussed during the intermediate and final workshop.
5. Online platform
Following the workshop, an online platform will be established where questions by paralegals and legal advice provided by ASGI’s lawyers will be shared (unless the paralegal explicitly requires not to share it) and where paralegals will be able to exchange experiences with colleagues on the problems met and the successful strategies identified.
This methodology has proven very effective in previous projects run by ASGI aimed at legal empowerment of cultural mediators(1).
6. Intermediate workshop
A second 2 days-long residential workshop will be organized.
Participants will be required to share their experience in individual documentation cases, presenting the problems met and the successful strategies identified.
Also the results of the small local intervention funded and any other actions (advocacy, community education activities etc.) promoted by the participants will be presented and discussed.
A specific session of the workshop will address fundraising opportunities for project proposals on this issue, in order to ensure sustainability.
Finally, we will discuss advocacy activities at national level (policy papers to be sent to Policy targets, final conference etc.) and the role of the Network of paralegals within these activities.
7. Strategic litigation
Among the individual cases supported or reported by the paralegals, three or four cases particularly relevant will be selected for strategic litigations.
ASGI and Associazione 21 luglio‘s lawyers will litigate the selected cases before national or international courts.
Taking into consideration the conclusions of the expert meeting on “Statelessness in Italy: cases, procedures, proposals for reform and strategic litigation”, organized by OSJI and ASGI in October 2012, as well as the conclusions and recommendations of the research “IN THE SUN – Survey on the phenomenon of statelessness among Roma communities living in Italy”(abstract) presented by CIR in 2013, we intend to seek the following case profiles:
a) stateless person whose application for statelessness recognition under the administrative procedure has been rejected due to the lack of legal residence > aim of the strategic litigation: Court decision stating that legal residence is not a necessary requirement for the recognition of the stateless status under the administrative procedure;
b) stateless person whose application for statelessness recognition has been rejected because they “may acquire” the nationality of the family’s State of origin, even though the acquisition of that nationaliy would require more than administrative formalities > aim of the strategic litigation: Court decision stating that a person that is not recognized as citizen by any State is stateless even in case he or she may aquire a nationality;
c) person born in Italy and residing in Italy from birth to the age of 18, whose application for the recognition of the Italian citizneship (Law 91/92, art. 4, par. 2) has been rejected due to the lack of a residence permit/registered residence for some years during that period > aim of the strategic litigation: Court decision stating that the lack of a residence permit/registered residence even for a long period does not prevent from acquiring the Italian nationality;
d) person born or residing for decades in Italy, who cannot be returned according to art. 8 of the ECHR, whose application for a residence permit for humanitarian reason has been rejected, e.g. due to his or her criminal records or the lack of passport > aim of the strategic litigation: Court decision stating that in these cases a residence permit for humanitarian reason must be issued, irrespective of criminal records or lack of passport.
The case profiles sought, however, will be discussed, taking into consideration also the priorities indicated by the paralegals.
In order to ensure that such decisions will have a wider impact beyond the particular applicants, we will seek cases that can be litigated before the highest courts of appeal (Consiglio di Stato and Corte di Cassazione), the Constitutional Court, or the European Court on Human Rights.
8. Final report
A short and very communicative final report will be published (the report’s framework and style will be similar to that of the report „Persons at risk of statelessness in Serbia“ published by the NGO Praxis.
The report will
– explain how policies, regulations and practices prevent undocumented and stateless Roma people from getting a legal status, reporting the concrete stories of some of the individual documentation cases supported;
– report the main results of the project activities, in particular analyzing the methodology of legal empowerment and community-based paralegals;
– propose some recommendations on the changes needed in policies, regulations, enforcement of the law and practices, at local, national and international level in order to promote the access of undocumented and stateless Roma people to a legal status.
The report will be presented in a final conference and will be widely disseminated online.
9. Final conference and advocacy at national level
A final conference will be organized in Rome.
The costs of the paralegals’ participation in the conference will be covered by the project.
Representatives of the Ministry of Interior, a judge of the Court of Rome and the President of the Commission for Human Rights, will be invited as speakers.
One of the paralegals, preferably of Roma origin, will participate in the conference as a speaker, representing the National Network of paralegals: he or she will present the results of the project and some of the recommendations on the changes needed in policies, regulations, enforcement of the law and practices, to promote the access of undocumented and stateless Roma people to a legal status.
10. Final workshop
After the conference, a final 1 day-long workshop will be organized.
A final evaluation of the results, successes and failures of the project will be carried out through a group discussion.
We will also discuss with all the participants whether they are interested in continuing the Network of paralegals. If this is the case, the management of the Network and its relations with ASGI, Associazione 21 luglio and Fondazione Romanì will be discussed.
Finally, we will discuss which activities can be carried out on a voluntary basis by the participants and which ones need funding, and we will explore opportunities for funding.
11. Media strategy and dissemination
During the whole project, a media strategy will be developed, in order to raise awareness on the rights violations that undocumented Roma migrants suffer as well as the need to change the concerned policies, regulations and practices:
Press releases will be produced, relations will be kept with local and national journalists, the project messages will be positioned on the media.
Through regular posts about the project themes on the social media (Facebook and Twitter), we aim at raising awareness on the contents of the project, stimulating the users’ engagement and participation, promoting debates and reflections among/from web users.
A short video reporting some powerful stories will be produced and widely disseminated.
The information materials produced, news about the project and the final report will be spread also through the websites and the e-newsletters of the associations involved in the project.
A summary of the report in English will be disseminated to international networks dealing with Roma rights, statelessness and undocumented migrants (European Network on Statelessness, PICUM etc.) so that it can feed advocacy activities at EU and international level.

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(1) Project MediaTo