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UNHCR: What we do in Italy (August 2018)

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UNHCR in Italy'

in line with its mandate, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) works with the Italian government, other organisations and refugees themselves to promote access to rights for refugees, asylum-seekers and stateless persons,


UNHCR advises key governmental counterparts, as well as Parliament and other stakeholders (e.g. regional and local administrations), on policy and legislative developments. UNHCR also provides technical support to the authorities with a view to strengthening their capacity to ensure adequate responses to the needs of persons of concern to UNHCR in Italy, namely refugees, asylum-seekers and stateless persons. Furthermore, through its staff and partners, UNHCR is engaged in activities aimed at ensuring full and equal enjoyment of rights by all persons of concern, addressing protection risks in an Age, Gender and Diversity (A D) sensitive manner, with a particular focus on persons with specific needs, such as minorities, unaccompanied and separated children (UASC) and survivors of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV). UNHCR's protection delivery is based on a community based protection approach, which aims at putting people of concern at the centre of all decisions affecting their lives. Based on this approach, UNHCR promotes active refugee participation in all aspects of the UNHCR programme cycle, builds protection strategies and solutions in partnership with them and supports the community's own goals, also through better communication with communities. In addition, it aims at strengthening partnerships with civil society, as well as engaging and empowering communities with a view to increasing access to rights.

Access to territory

UNHCR staff, including cultural mediators, are present in several locations in southern Italy and attend key phases of disembarkation procedures, providing new arrivals with information on international protection and other relevant procedures, through leaflets and group information sessions. UNHCR also supports the authorities in identifying persons with specific needs, including persons with medical conditions, pregnant women, UASC, victims of trauma, and survivors of torture or SGI3V. UNHCR participates in institutional working groups aimed at developing and enhancing standard procedures to ensure that access to the territory and to asylum is granted in accordance with national and international standards.

UNHCR staff monitor the implementation of such procedures, promoting the adoption of adequate safeguards. UNHCR staff are also present in northern Italy, where they conduct capacity-building activities, in close coordination with civil society organisations, to assist the authorities in providing persons in transit with information on accessing asylum and other relevant procedures in Italy. In northern Italy, the team also monitors land border procedures as well as instances of readmission, and their potential impact on access to international protection, focusing in particular on people with specific needs, including UASC. UNHCR has been working in close cooperation with other European agencies, in particular the European Asylum Support Office (EASO), providing information to new arrivals and liaising to ensure their registration for relevant procedures, including Dublin procedures.