Racist poster by Italian far-right party calls for urgent reaction by authorities

Brussels, 18 October 2017 – Anti-racism groups from across Europe strongly condemn the far-right political party Forza Nuova for circulating a poster using fascist imagery and fuelling xenophobic and Afrophobic violence. They are calling on Italian authorities to initiate criminal proceedings against the party leadership and to sanction racist and xenophobic speech and imagery.

The poster features a stereotyped image of a Black man abusing a White woman. The text reads “Protect her from the invaders. It could be your mother wife, sister, daughter”. The poster amounts to clear incitement to violence, racial hatred, and its imagery reproduces fascist propaganda. It violates both Italian and EU laws which criminalise incitement to racial hatred.

This is not an isolated incident. Forza Nuova and other Italian political parties and politicians have used racist speech on numerous occasions in recent years, in particular targeting people of African descent, Roma and migrants. Many have not been sanctioned for crossing the line to incitement to hatred. Forza Nuova has also called for a march on the anniversary of Mussolini’s rise to power on 28 October.

Racist political discourse has devastating effects on the groups targeted and encourages hostility, discrimination and violence against them. As opinion shapers, politicians and political parties have a significant impact on social cohesion and should not therefore use language fuelling violence and dehumanising minorities.

This poster sends a signal to all black and migrant communities in Europe that they are in danger. Italian and EU decision makers need to step up the political will to recognise and condemn political hate speech.

We call on the Italian authorities to initiate legal proceedings against Forza Nuova for incitement to racial hatred and glorification of fascism. We also urge authorities to dismantle the party as a group founded on fascist ideology. In addition, all political parties should also adopt effective self-regulatory measures to counter and sanction racist and xenophobic rhetoric by their elected members.

At European Union level, it is unacceptable that European political parties such as the Alliance for Peace and Freedom, of which Forza Nuova and other far-right parties are members, are entitled to receive EU funding. Any party inciting to racial hatred should be rejected by the new Authority for European Political Parties and Foundations.

Claudia Mara, Italian Board member of the European Network Against Racism, said: “If Italian authorities do not react to this racist incident, it will foster a sense of impunity for racist hate in Europe. It also sends the signal that the ideas this party promotes are acceptable. Progressive political parties and representatives have a responsibility to prevent incitement to hatred. They should lead the way in developing an inclusive narrative so that the diverse population of Europe feels protected and enabled to contribute positively to our societies.”

For further information, contact:
Georgina Siklossy, ENAR Senior Communication and Press Officer
Tel: +32 (0)2 229 35 70 - Mobile: +32 (0)473 490 531 - Email: georgina@enar-eu.org - Web: www.enar-eu.org

Claudia Marà, Africa e Mediterraneo
Tel: +39 (0)3339927732 – Email: c.mara@africaemediterraneo.it

Notes to the editor:
1. The European Network Against Racism (ENAR aisbl) stands against racism and discrimination and advocates equality and solidarity for all in Europe. We connect local and national anti-racist NGOs throughout Europe and voice the concerns of ethnic and religious minorities in European and national policy debates.
2. ENAR and Italian and EU-wide anti-racism organisations have sent an open letter to Paolo Gentiloni, Italian Prime Minister, Andrea Orlando, Minister of Justice, Marco Minniti, Minister of the Interior, Maria Elena Boschi, Minister for Equal Opportunities, Pietro Grasso, President of the Senate, Laura Boldrini, President of the Chamber of Deputies, Dr. Giuseppe Pignatone, Rome Prosecutor: http://enar-eu.org/Racist-poster-by-Italian-far-right-party-Open-letter-to-Italian-government

- Press statement in Italian: Il manifesto razzista di un partito italiano di estrema destra richiede una reazione urgente delle autorità

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