ROME, 8 NOVEMBRE – The estimated 60,000 young refugees and migrants who arrived in Italy as unaccompanied children between 2014 and 2018, and who have since turned 18, require ongoing support to ensure their successful transition into adulthood, said UNICEF, UNHCR and IOM in a new report published today.
The report, At the crossroad: Unaccompanied and separated children in the transition to adulthood in Italy, highlights the ‘triple transition’ young refugees and migrants face when they turn 18 years old – from adolescence to adulthood, from living in one country to another, and through the emotional pain and trauma experienced when leaving home and during dangerous journeys.
“The difference between a 17-year-old refugee or migrant who fled conflict or violence and an 18-year-
“Recognizing the complex
“The added value of this research is twofold: it highlights vulnerabilities and risks of unaccompanied and separated children during their transition to adulthood, and at the same time emphasizes their strengths, ability to take action and resilience, as well as their potential. Additionally, this research draws attention to the best practices to disseminate,” said Laurence Hart, Director of the IOM Coordination Office for the Mediterranean.
The new report outlines factors that hinder young refugees and migrants’ transition into adulthood. These include slow and complex procedures to obtain legal documents;
Factors supporting young refugees and migrants during this critical time in life include positive relationships with peers and guardians; access to school, vocational training
In the report, the three UN Agencies provide key recommendations to Italian authorities and the European Commission:
Recommendations to Italian Authorities
- Adopt an inter-sectorial national strategy to increase social inclusion for young refugees and migrants who have recently turned 18, as well a National Action Plan against racism, xenophobia and discrimination.
- Ensure the full implementation of Law no. 47/2017 on protection measures for UASC.
- Ensure young people have access to psycho-social support, health care, education, gender-based violence prevention and response, training and employment services.
- Provide information to young people on the dangers of getting involved in informal and illegal activities such as trafficking and sexual exploitation.
- Accelerate procedures to recognise foreign qualifications.
- Increase participation of young refugees and migrants in social and recreational activities.
Recommendations to the European Commission
- Facilitate effective cooperation between Member States in assessing the best interests of every child, and in implementing family reunification procedures
- Establish a system to collect accurate data and information on current and former unaccompanied and separated refugee and migrant children to strengthen protection systems.
- Earmark resources under the upcoming EC Asylum and Migration Fund to strengthen and scale up the good practices identified in this report.
Between 2014 and 2018, more than 70,000 unaccompanied and separated refugee and migrant children arrived in Italy by sea, 90 per cent of whom were between ages 15 and 17. It is estimated that at least 60,000 have turned 18 in the past five years.
At the crossroad. Unaccompanied and separated children in the transition to adulthood in Italy was commissioned by UNICEF, UNHCR and IOM. The research was carried out by the ISMU Foundation in collaboration with University of Roma Tre and University of Catania. The research focuses three regions of Italy that have received, or continue to receive, large numbers of young unaccompanied and separated refugees and migrants – Sicily, Lombardy and Latium. ISMU Foundation is an independent research centre founded in 1993 promoting research and training activities on migration, integration and the ever-growing ethnic and cultural diversity of contemporary societies (@OnuItalia)