“Italy should improve its asylum reception-capacity and integration policies, prevent human trafficking and combat corruption, as well as strengthen the protection of refugee and migrant children” are the main findings in a report published on 8 March 2017 by the Secretary General’s Special Representative on migration and refugees, Ambassador Tomáš Boček.
The Special Representative also 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 encourage the arrival of more irregular economic migrants.
Italy has made efforts in increasing and improving 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.
The purpose of the recommendations in the report is to ease the situation of refugees and other migrants and propose concrete action on how the Council of Europe can give assistance to Italy. The report gives a base to build opportunities for cooperation in the coming months to tackle together the issues identified therein.
The Secretary General’s Special Representative on migration and refugees carried out a fact-finding mission to Italy from 16 to 21 October 2016, visiting formal and informal facilities for migrants and refugees in Sicily, Lampedusa, Rome and Como. He also met with government representatives, other authorities dealing with migration-related issues and civil society.