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Terna v. Italy, No. 21052/18, ECHR (First Section), 14 January 2021


Denial to a woman belonging to the Roma community of the right to visit her minor niece entrusted to social services, despite the authorisation granted by the court. Violation of the right to respect for private and family life.

Normative references

Art. 8 ECHR
Art. 14 ECHR


1. Article 8 essentially has as its object the protection of the individual from arbitrary interference by public authorities, but is not limited to ordering the State to refrain from such interference: positive obligations relating to effective respect for private or family life can be added to this negative obligation. These may involve the adoption of measures aimed at respecting family life, including in reciprocal relations between individuals, including the provision of adequate and sufficient legal instruments to guarantee the legitimate rights of the data subjects and respect for judicial decisions, or implementation of appropriate specific measures.

2. The State which, despite having sufficient legal instruments, does not protect and suspend the right of visit of the Roma minor with her grandmother, allowing for a certain time the consolidation of a factual situation in contrast with the judicial measures issued and not considering the possible long-term effects caused on the minor by the separation with the person who has always been in charge of his/her caring, breaches the art. 8 ECHR.

3. Where the entrusting of the child to social services is motivated by the best interests of the child to be removed from an environment in which he/she was heavily penalised from various points of view, as well as by the inability of the people who took care of him/her to exercise a parental role, the removal cannot be considered as linked to ethnic origin, nor that there is racial discrimination.