Young migrants rescued off the coast of Libya arrive in Catania, Italy | Photo: Orietta Scardino / EPA
Young migrants rescued off the coast of Libya arrive in Catania, Italy | Photo: Orietta Scardino / EPA

80% of young migrants and refugees in Italy surveyed in a poll by UNICEF said they had experienced or witnessed prejudice. To respond to the needs that emerged from the survey, the UN agency has launched a campaign against stereotypes.

Many young migrants and refugees in Italy continue to say that they have witnessed or been victims of prejudice and stereotypes.

On the occasion of World Refugee Day, on June 20, UNICEF presented the results of a survey it conducted, asking adolescent and young migrants about prejudice they had either been victims of or had witnessed.

About 80% of respondents said they have been victims of, or witnessed, prejudice. A total of 62% said the prejudice was due to the color of their skin, 12% said it was due to language, and 10% to conditions of poverty.

The survey was conducted on the online platform U-Report on the Move, launched by UNICEF in 2017 to give a voice to unaccompanied minor migrants in Italy.

Sadness and anger over prejudices

Many of the young people said they had experienced the same feelings and reactions due to these prejudices. More than seven out of ten said they felt sad, four out of ten said they felt angry, while other feelings included feeling lonely or fearful.

Only 6% said they felt indifference about the prejudice.

Young migrants and refugees also talked about what they considered to be the most widespread stereotypes people in Italy might hold about them. 42% said they believe those who judge them see them as criminals, 15% said those who judge them think all of them speak Italian poorly, and 10% said they believe those who judge them think they have a low level of education.

In terms of the solutions for fighting prejudice and racism, 60% called for more civic education in schools, as well as cultural exchanges, public meetings and more opportunities for building awareness.

A campaign against stereotypes

To respond to the needs that emerged from the survey and to fight false prejudices, UNICEF has launched a campaign on the U-Report on the Move platform titled "OPS! Your Opinion, Beyond All Prejudice, Against Stereotypes!"

The campaign opens with a first phase aimed at migrants and refugees offering a contest in which they can share the experiences they have had by sending in videos, photos, illustrations, songs or articles about these experiences.

The contest is due to end in September, with a second phase open to their Italian counterparts to promote messages against prejudices. A public event will be held to announce the results of the contest and award the winners.

 

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