A homeless man near the Termini station in Rome | Photo: ARCHIVE/ANSA/LO MELE/DI GIACOMO
A homeless man near the Termini station in Rome | Photo: ARCHIVE/ANSA/LO MELE/DI GIACOMO

The UN refugee agency UNHCR on Tuesday attended the funeral in Bari of a homeless 46-year-old Eritrean refugee who died in dramatic circumstances a few days ago. The UN agency launched an appeal not to "leave behind" refugees in Italy.

The UN refugee agency UNHCR has launched a new appeal in order for refugees not to be "left behind" in Italy at the funeral held on Tuesday in Bari of a homeless refugee of Eritrean origin - M. M. - who died a few days ago.

The organization expressed "shock" for the man's death and attended the man's burial ceremony at the cemetery of Bari together with volunteers and operators. The man lived in very precarious conditions.

"On Palm Sunday, a member of UNHCR's staff in Bari rescued him after he was found lying on the ground at the Perotti park, where he lived in a makeshift shelter," the agency said in a statement.

"The man, who had been in Italy since 2016, had a grave respiratory condition and was seriously malnourished."

"The refugee died in a few hours although he was rescued by volunteers and city police and taken to the hospital. The man lived in very precarious conditions, assisted by volunteer organizations and forced to be constantly on the move," the agency continued.

The situation led to a condition of "physical and mental prostration", pushing him "increasingly to the margins" of society.

'Any measure to promote integration necessary'

"Refugees who receive protection in Italy aspire to become an active part of society and every measure must be pursued to promote their integration so that nobody is left behind," said Chiara Cardoletti, UNHCR representative for Italy, the Holy See and San Marino.

"The tragic death of this extremely fragile and invisible refugee leaves us dismayed. Often, refugees are experiencing very complex personal situations."

UNHCR said that it is always available to collaborate with authorities in identifying needs and the most adequate response to strengthen a coordinated system of assistance and integration that can deal with the specific needs of refugees, allowing them to be informed and to access services provided for by Italian legislation.

 

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