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House speaker calls slurs against Kyenge 'shameful' > ANSA English > News

House speaker calls slurs against Kyenge 'shameful'

Boldrini voices support for first black minister

30 April, 14:52
House speaker calls slurs against Kyenge 'shameful'(ANSA) - Rome, April 30 - House Speaker Laura Boldrini spoke out on Tuesday about racist insults directed at newly appointed Integration Minister Cecile Kyenge, calling them "shameful for a civilized country". The former spokesperson for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Boldrini said that "like many of the men and women who saw Kyenge sworn in, I feel that Italy is making an important step forward, not only for the new generation but for all of us, because we understand how enriching an encounter between cultures can be". Kyenge, a 48-year-old MP for Premier Enrico Letta's centre-left Democratic Party (PD), was sworn in as Italy's first black minister on Sunday.

"Maybe not everyone likes this road we are on, but vulgar racism aimed at someone - mostly on the Internet, but not only - is in no way tolerable," Boldrini said.

"This is not a question of freedom of expression, but incitement of racial hatred, which is a crime, even if carried out on the Internet," she said.

The House Speaker also noted that Kyenge is not the only supporter of proposed reforms to Italy's citizenship law for children born in the country to foreigners that has been criticised by the regionalist, anti-immigrant Northern League.

Kyenge, along with Moroccan-born PD MP Khalid Chaouki, PD MP Roberto Speranza and ex-PD leader Pier Luigi Bersani, have proposed a change to the current citizenship law which dictates that only the children of Italian citizens can automatically become citizens themselves, while those born on Italian soil to non-Italian parents become eligible on their 18th birthday.

A famous example is AC Milan Striker Mario Balotelli, one of Italy's biggest soccer stars and a forward on the national team, who was born in Italy to parents from Ghana but did not become a citizen until he applied when he turned 18.
Photo: Integration Minister Cecile Kyenge

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