The 2017 Toll Free Report / ANSA
The 2017 Toll Free Report / ANSA

A hotline for asylum seekers and refugees is offered in Italy by the ARCI association and provides information and orientation to those filing requests for protection in the country.

Appeals against rejections for asylum claims, family reunification and Dublin regulations are the main issues that were dealt with in 2017 in Italy by a hotline for asylum seekers and those granted international and humanitarian protection. It's run by the ARCI association with support from UNHCR. 

ARCI is a national association of social solidarity that works for the promotion of human rights at the local and national level. The hotline, which can be called toll-free from both landlines and cell phones, was set up in 2006 and helps those making use of it to get access to legal assistance, linguistic mediation and help with integration paths. It's operated by a network of lawyers, experts in asylum seekers and refugee services in Italy and 35 mediators who together speak a total of 36 languages and dialects. 

Hotline data from 2017 

ARCI noted in its 2017 report that the number of people contacting the service had dropped for the first time ever on the previous year: 277, down from 459 in 2016. In 2017, Italy saw a 30 percent drop in the number of migrants arriving compared with 2016 but a trend in calls to the service that remained steady, signaling an urgent need for help and orientation among refugees and asylum seekers. 

ARCI noted that Nigeria continues to be one of the main countries of origin for asylum seekers making use of the hotline. The main languages used by those seeking assistance were: English (31%), Italian (31%), Arabic (17%) and French (15%). 

The fact that so many speak Italian, the association said, shows ''the lasting difficulties and the need for orientation even for people who have been in Italy for a long time''. 

Some 70% of the calls were made by men. 

Appeals, family reunification, Dublin regulations

In 2017, many appeals were made against rejections of asylum claims filed in Italy. ''Along with those who came to us, we have filed appeals against rejections and in almost all the cases we won, showing that the asylum seekers who made the appeals had reason to do so, except in cases in which the people were no longer able to be found,'' noted ARCI national deputy chief Filippo Miraglia in presenting the report on the service. 

Another important issue was family reunification. ''On this aspect, there are huge problems. At times we have problems with Italian embassies, such as in the case of the one in Kenya concerning Somali refugees. Through reunification, people can arrive safely in Italy but the documents are difficult to get and Italian consulates abroad often do not help,'' Miraglia said. 

Another major reason for calls to the hotline in 2017 concerned those who were returned to Italy from other European countries in line with Dublin regulations, which stipulate that they must apply for international protection in the first country tghey arrive in. 

These asylum seekers and refugees, the report noted, are often utterly lacking in information about where they would be transferred and contacts to ask for help from as well as receive clarifications on housing and reception facilities once brought back to Italy.

---> you can reach the toll-free hotline: +0039 800905570

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