[JURIST] A committee of the Italian House of Deputies [official website, in Italian] Wednesday approved funding for a national fingerprinting effort to begin in 2010. Italian leaders have pushed to require all Italian citizens and resident foreigners to be fingerprinted for national ID cards. The move is seen by some as an attempt to deflect accusations of "ethnic cataloguing" [EUobserver report] for efforts to fingerprint the country's Roma minority [JURIST news archive]. AP has more.
Despite intense criticism [JURIST report] by the international human rights community [COE statement] and Roma advocates [ERRC materials], the Italian government began carrying out the fingerprinting of Roma [JURIST report] earlier this month. That fingerprinting scheme, announced last month by Interior Minister Roberto Maroni [OECD profile], involves recording the fingerprints of thousands of Roma, including children, ostensibly to reduce street crime and begging. Vincenzo Spadafora, head of UNICEF in Italy [official website], had said UNICEF was "deeply concerned" by the proposal, commenting that "If this is being brought in to protect the rights of Roma children, Italian children should also be fingerprinted to protect them as well."