The UNHCR Asylum Trends 2013 claims that the number of boat arrivals has remained relatively high during the year, the number of new asylum applications (27,800) registered in Italy in 2013 being at its third highest number in a decade.
The number increased of 60% compared to 2012; this makes Italy the seventh largest receiving country during the investigated period. Nevertheless, these figures remained well below the all-time highest value of 2011 when more than 34,000 people applied for refugee status in Italy, mostly because of the ‘Arab Spring’ revolutions in North Africa. They are mainly Nigerian, Somali and Eritrean.
Asylum-seekers who accounted for this rise due to a double (Nigeria), triple (Eritrea) or almost quadruple (Somalia) asylum applications. Nigeria was the leading mother country of the asylum seekers in Italy (3,500 claims), followed by Pakistan (3,300 claims), Somalia (2,900 claims), and Eritrea (2,200 claims).
Other particularly important years as regards the asylum applications in Italy were 2008 (30.000 applications), 1999 (more than 33.000) and 1991 (23.000). This data reflect the last period’s political and geo-political sceneries: in 1991 the great Albanian exodus occurred after the first multi-party elections and the end of the socialist party government; in 1999, the Kosovo war increased the number; in 2008 the “landing emergency” of people coming mostly from Nigeria and African Horn.
Refugee protection in Italy
While waiting for the Committee enquiry, many of the asylum-seekers live in places called CARA. These centres were created after the D.L.gs.n. 25/2008 and took the place of the CDI (Identification Centres) of the “Bossi-Fini” Law, where asylum-seekers were obliged to stay.
In Italy there are many Territorial Committees in Gorizia, Milan, Torino, Rome, Caserta, Foggia, Bari, Crotone, Trapani, Siracusa.
Some of the asylum seekers in Italy enter the SPRAR Centres. They are 151 territorial projects in 128 municipalities, distributed in 19 regions. They can receive 3000 people. A Central Service in Rome by the Department of Interior, in agreement with the ANCI (Association of Italian City Councils), coordinates all these projects.
Each SPRAR project must ensure the reception, integration, protection duties that the Guideline from the Department request.
At the moment, we have three different reception systems, parallel and inhomogeneous, in charge of different subjects: Department of Interiors, Immigration and Civil Rights Department, North-African Emergency Civil protection for SPRAR and CARA.
There is the risk that these three system may work in diverse ways and do not communicate with one another.
Refugee protection in Umbria
Umbria entered the Italian reception system in 2001 with the cities of Perugia and Todi. Later on, Narni and Terni joined the system.
In 2005 the Region Council, the ANCI and the Territory Departments for the SPRAR projects signed a convention on refugees and asylum-seekers that launched the project “The right to be in Umbria”.
From July 2001 to June 30th 2012, Umbria had 706 people in its SPRAR projects. We can receive 92 people a year. According to the guideline of the protection system, every person can stay for a maximum of six months when his/her status has already been accepted. It is possible, if motivated, to apply for a longer period of staying.