Italy Operational Update - September 2018
Overview and developments
Between 1 January and 30 September 2018, 20,948 refugees and migrants arrived in Italy by sea, an 80 per cent decrease compared to sea arrivals in the same period last year (105,418). In September 2018, just under 950 refugees and migrants reached Italian shores, an 85 per cent reduction compared to 6,291 sea arrivals in September 2017. Monthly sea arrivals numbers in September 2018 were the lowest since February 2013.
While the total number of refugees and migrants arriving in Europe has fallen, the death rate has risen sharply, particularly for those crossing the Mediterranean Sea. In the Central Mediterranean, one person died or went missing for every 48 people who crossed to Europe between January and September 2018, compared to one death for every 52 people who crossed in the same period in 2017. Between 1 January and 30 September 2018, 1,737 persons died or went missing while crossing to Europe, of whom 1,245 lost their lives in the Central Mediterranean. UNHCR has called strongly for increasing search and rescue capacity in the Central Mediterranean and for leaving space for NGOs to contribute in a coordinated manner to these efforts. UNHCR has also encouraged the establishment of predictable arrangements in the Mediterranean for the disembarkation of people rescued at sea.
In September 2018, 54 per cent of refugees and migrants disembarking in Italy departed from Tunisia, followed by 29 per cent from Turkey, 7 per cent from Libya, 6 per cent from Greece, and 4 per cent from Algeria. The ten most common countries of origin of refugees and migrants registered at Italian landing points between January and September 2018 are Tunisia, Eritrea, Sudan, Iraq, Pakistan, Nigeria, Côte d’Ivoire, Algeria, Mali, and Guinea. Unaccompanied and separated children (UASC) account for 16 per cent of sea arrivals since the beginning of the year.
On 24 September, the Italian Council of Ministers approved a law decree introducing important developments on asylum. In a note to the press, UNHCR confirmed that it will share technical comments with the Government of Italy so that they can be taken into account in the discussion before Parliament, stressing the need for provisions to comply with the principles enshrined in the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees.