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What we do in Italy

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UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is a global organization dedicated to saving lives, protecting rights and building a better future for refugees. Refugees are people who were forced to flee their homes because of conflict or persecution. They cross an international border to find safety in another country and they usually go through a process known as refugee status determination to establish whether their individual circumstances make them a refugee in the country of arrival. Having refugee status recognized is an important step in helping people who fled to prove their identity and to access essential services, such as education and medical care.

We work with governments and we partner with other UN entities, non-governmental and civil society organizations to uphold the basic human rights of people forced to flee, and to improve laws and national systems so refugees stay safe, get documents, can go to school, work and exercise other rights.

UNHCR also has the international mandate for reducing and preventing statelessness.
Statelessness occurs when a person is not recognized by any state as a citizen under its laws. In Italy, we have staff working from our office in Rome and from locations across the country. This is what we do.

Assist refugees on borders and in cities

Many refugees reach locations in southern Italy, travelling by sea often in overcrowded, unseaworthy vessels. Many are intercepted or rescued at sea under the coordination of national authorities. UNHCR works to ensure that those seeking international protection are able to find it. Our staff, including cultural mediators, attends key phases of disembarkation procedures providing new arrivals with information on their rights and on relevant procedures. Refugees also reach northern Italy by land, most commonly travelling through South-East Europe. We work with refugees arriving by land and living or transiting in the north of the country. On borders and in cities, our teams and our partner organizations talk with refugees to find out about the conditions they are fleeing, their experiences on the journey and their current circumstances.

Throughout the country, UNHCR, together with its partner organizations, works to ensure that refugees have full and reliable information on their rights and obligations and the services available to meet their needs. For example, in Friuli-Venezia Giulia, our partner CIR - Consiglio Italiano per i Rifugiati provides new arrivals crossing the Italy-Slovenia border with accurate information on their rights. In partnership with ARCI, UNHCR supports a national toll-free number providing refugees with free legal counseling and information, as well as Juma Map, an open source map of services and resources available for refugees across Italy. In Rome, UNHCR runs a drop-in service, providing refugees with information through individual, confidential counseling.