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Legislation Impacting Anti-Discrimination and Anti-Radicalisation Efforts

Legislation Impacting Anti-Discrimination and Anti-Radicalisation Efforts

The “Bossi-Fini Law”, introduced in 2002, reduced the duration of a standard work permit from 4 to 2 years, increased the period of time citizens of non-EU countries need to live in Italy before being able to apply for permanent residence from 5 to 6 yearsimplemented immediate deportation of illegal immigrants system; and, finally, cancelled the possibility for immigrants to reunite with their non-direct family members.

Refugees in Italy have a right to employment, as well as free access to the state healthcare and education systems. After five years of permanent residence and employment in Italy they have the right to apply for Italian citizenship.

In July 2012, Italy adopted a Resolution N109, known as Rozarno Law, which introduced protection for migrant victims of exploitation. Law punishes exploitation of migrants, deprivation of government and EU subsidies and deprivation of licenses. Victims who cooperate with authorities during the trial can be provided with citizenship on humanitarian basis.

It is also worth noting the Decree of the Prime Minister adopted on April 2, 2015, which reduces the annual quota of legal labour migrants from 15 to 13 thousand. In addition, migrants from non-EU countries, according to this resolution, can obtain a work permit for not more than two years.

Nevertheless, the 2006 amendments to the Criminal Code (Law No.85/2006) reduced the standard prison sentence for hate crime from three to one and a half years and established that fine for discrimination and inciting racial hatred cannot exceed 6,000 Euro, which is considered a major setback for the development of proper discrimination preventing law enforcement practices.

Moreover, people found guilty of the aforementioned crimes are only considered criminally liable in cases when crimes were committed in an attempt to influence a large group of people, thus “changing their behavioural patterns”. These amendments have indirectly improved the position of neo-Nazis and nationalist far-right politicians who spread anti-immigrant and xenophobic rhetoric.

There is no protection against LGBT discrimination in public places, in the provision of goods and services, as well as in the form of incitement of hatred. Gender identity is also not included in the official anti-discrimination legislation.

It is possible ti say that Italy has today the most liberal anti-racist legislation in Europe. The country has not acceded to Article 4 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. It is extremely difficult to accuse people for the "language of enmity" by proving the intention to "change the behavior of a wide audience". Thus, the attention of the Italian authorities to the spread of hate on the Internet has not been transformed into legal persecution of extremists.

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