Approval of the security decree in the Italian Lower House, Rome, 9 December 2020 | Photo: ANSA /ALESSANDRO DI MEO
Approval of the security decree in the Italian Lower House, Rome, 9 December 2020 | Photo: ANSA /ALESSANDRO DI MEO

UNHCR expressed satisfaction on the passage into law of the new migration decree in Italy. The decree modifies the Salvini decrees, and UNHCR called it a "positive step forward" for refugees in Italy.

The UN refugee agency UNHCR expressed "satisfaction over the approval of Law 173/2020 that converts Decree Law 130/2020, introducing various changes that will have a positive effect on the Italian asylum system, facilitating the integration of refugees in Italy."

The UN agency "welcomes and supports any action aimed at improving reception measures for asylum seekers and refugees and promoting their integration" and "in this sense the new law is a positive step forward."

A positive assessment

"The new law reforms the existing system, providing for personal services including psychological assistance and Italian language courses, which should be provided for asylum seekers at initial and special reception centers.

In addition, the law, through the establishment of the System of Reception and Integration (SAI), returns to the 'widespread' model that over the years showed very positive results in terms of social inclusion. Finally, the right to residency for asylum seekers is restored, ensuring them effective access to essential services," the UN agency said.

The new law "also pays great attention to the condition of the most vulnerable people, who have specific needs for which, in line with UNHCR recommendations, there is a provision for their exclusion from accelerated asylum application review procedures and the preparation of guidelines for their prompt identification."

UNHCR said "significant improvement has been made on the definition of special protection, which in the new formulation ensures full application of international obligations of non-refoulement."

"Also very positive is the new formulation of the regulation on limitations to transit of ships in territorial waters, from which ships working in rescue operations at sea will be excluded, when in line with instructions, respectful of international law, of the relevant authorities," UNHCR added.

'Approval of Law 173 is good news'

"The approval of Law 173 is good news," said Chiara Cardoletti, UNHCR representative for Italy, the Holy See and San Marino.

"We would like to express our appreciation for the work done by the government and parliament, in a time that hasn't been easy due to the Covid emergency. This new law not only brings positive changes to the asylum system, but it represents, including on a symbolic level, positive momentum towards a new approach that places more attention on issues of integration," Cardoletti said.

She said UNHCR will "continue in the coming months to work alongside refugees, the government, civil society and the private sector to further improve the Italian asylum system and promote concrete actions aimed at building an inclusive society in which refugees can actively contribute and participate in community life," she said.


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