ROME, NOVEMBER 13 – The Report on International Protection in Italy 2017 has been presented in Rome by Anci (The National Association of Italian Municipalities), Caritas Italy, Cittalia, the Migrantes Foundation and the Central Service of Sprar (The Protection System for Asylum Seekers and Refugees), in partnership with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Launched by the online journal “Chronicles of Ordinary Racism”, the study presents statistics drawing a picture on the current situation of the Italian reception system, trying also to highlight its flaws in order to mobilize institutions.
The number of asylum seekers and migrants who landed on Italy’s coasts in 2016 amounted to 181,436 individuals out of the total of 178,415 people rescued at sea, of which 60,684 saved by Ngo’s or cargo ships. Numbers on migrant boat landings show a reduction between 2016 and 2017 in Italy: at 30 October 2017 arrivals dropped by 30%, reaching 111,302. The most common nationalities among the arrivals to Italy were from Nigeria (14,000 people until June), Bangladesh (8,241) and Guinea (7,759). The reduction in the migration flow to Italy should not be misleading: the total number of those fleeing from war, hunger and persecution in the world continues to rise, reaching 65.6 million people, of whom 2.8 million asylum seekers. The 55% of the latest comes from Syria, Afghanistan and South Sudan. The main migrant route was that of the central Mediterranean, the most dangerous one: last years 5,000 people lost their lives in the Mediterranean sea.
According to the dossier, foreign minors who reached Italy until October 2017 were 14,579 (during the whole 2016 they were 25,846). 93.2% of them were unaccompanied. The majority of foreign minors came from Guinea, Ivory Coast and Bangladesh. One of the most critical aspects of the Italian system is verifying the minors’ age, as well as the duration of their stay in the detention centres, which causes a subsequent flight of the youth from those structures. Some data reflect a complex phenomenon that needs more adequate responses, even if the study highlights an increase in local Italian administrations ready to take care of the minors, also economically: in 2007 only 36 Italian municipalities offered them basic services, today they are 500. This year applications for international protection filed by children were 4,500, almost entirely in the age group of 14 to 17 years. 69.1% obtained humanitarian protection, 4.9% refugee status, 3.8% subsidiary protection.
There is still no homogeneity between regions
Today there are 3.231 Italian municipalities – 40% of the total – that are ready to take asylum seekers in their territory. In absolute terms the most active regions are Lombardy (13.2%) and Campania (9.3%), but it is in Tuscany and Emilia-Romagna that the principles of intergration are fully accomplished: in Tuscany 83% of the towns take care of asylum seekers, whereas in Emilia-Romagna are 78.1%. Despite these exemplary cases, between 6,000 and 8,800 migrants live in illegal settlement: it is estimated that only in Rome they are between 2,250 and 2,880.
Refugees increase requests, but security does not
The study reveals an increase in the requests for international protection in Italy, coinciding with the European level drops as a consequence of the closure of the Balkan route, the construction of the wall at the Serbian border and the agreements signed between the EU and Turkey. In 2016, a total of 123,600 applications were submitted to the Italian government (+ 47% compared to 2015), and asylum applications reported a further increase in the first six months of 2017, up 44% over the same period of the previous year. However, the application rate is 43% (refugee status 9%, subsidiary protection 9.8%, humanitarian allowance 24.5%). Refugee status has been granted mainly to women, the elderly and children. As in 2016, in the first semester of 2017, migrants originating in America and Europe are in most cases successful. On the other hand, 60% of requests from migrants from Africa are rejected.
(@Onuitalia, November 13, 2017)