“Italy should improve its asylum reception-capacity and integration policies, prevent human trafficking and combat corruption in the migration-related services sector” are the main recommendations in a report published today by the Secretary General’s Special Representative on migration and refugees, Ambassador Tomáš Boček.
The Special Representative also stressed the need to strengthen the protection of refugee and migrant children; called upon the Italian authorities and the EU to expedite the examination of asylum claims and of relocation and family-reunification requests; and pointed to the risk that weaknesses in the system for voluntary and forced removals might be encouraging the arrival of more irregular economic migrants.
Italy is facing enormous challenges, as 2016 saw a new record number of refugees and other migrants taking the central Mediterranean route. Efforts have been made to increase and improve the accommodation and services offered, but the high number of those arriving in Italy - over 180,000 in 2016, of whom around 25,000 were unaccompanied children - has meant that supply has not kept up with demand. More solidarity from other member States of the Council of Europe is needed to ensure a fairer distribution of asylum-seekers across the continent and alleviate the burden currently shouldered by Italy. The country should also be assisted in its cross-border efforts to fight people smuggling.