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Italy: Integration of Refugees Remains Urgent Challenge

Astralli Center’s 2018 Annual Report

The integration of refugees in Italy remains an urgent challenge with difficulties in access to protection for those seeking asylum.

This according to the Astralli Center’s 2018 Annual Report, released April 9, 2018, in Rome. Astalli is the Italian headquarters of the Jesuit Refugee Service.

The report provides a snapshot of the condition of asylum seekers and refugees who appealed to the Center for help during 2017. It makes several references to Pope Francis’s message for the 104th World Day of Migrants and Refugees, celebrated on January 14, 2018. 

Despite the decline in arrivals registered in Italy during 2017 (119,369, compared to 181,436 of the previous year), the goal of a single reception system with uniform standards is still far away, according to the report. The Centers of Extraordinary Reception (CAS) remain the prevailing solution, while the SPRAR network (Protection System for Asylum Seekers and Refugees), albeit growing, in July 2017 covered just under 15 percent of the approximately 205,000 available places.

Despite the attempt to rationalize the system, including through measures that encourage the participation of local authorities with the SPRAR network, the situation in many territories is not in line with what is needed and, in particular, the transition between the first and second reception takes place with a lot of delays and for a limited number of people.

The decline in the number of people arriving in Europe seeking protection is not necessarily good news. At the SaMiFo Center, which assists victims of intentional violence and torture, in 2017 large numbers of people were traumatized following migration trips and especially when staying in detention in the centers in Libya.

The effect of the measures introduced during 2017 to reduce the flow of arrivals in Europe through the central Mediterranean caused migrants to be held in Libya longer and they may be subject to imprisonment in critical conditions. At times migrants have been intercepted at sea and returned to the port of departure. Although the victims of sea voyages declined in absolute terms last year, it has remained high, according to the report.

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