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2015 UNHCR subregional operations profile - Northern, Western, Central and Southern Europe

| Overview |

UNHCR 2015 Northern, Western, Central and Southern Europe subregional operations map

The number of asylum applications received in 2014 in European Union (EU) Member States has risen by 25 per cent compared to the same period in 2013. A quarter of the applicants are of Afghan, Eritrean or Syrian origin, and a similar proportion are under 18 years of age. There have also been many more asylum applications from stateless people, with an estimated total of 436,000 people across the European Union. Germany continues to be the recipient of the largest number of asylum applications, followed by France, Sweden, Italy and the United Kingdom.

In the first seven months of 2014, more than 87,000 people arrived in Italy by sea, mainly from Eritrea and the Syrian Arab Republic (Syria). In an effort to reduce the risks linked to such journeys, in October 2013 the Italian Government launched the Mare Nostrum operation, which has rescued more than 100,000 people. Greece and Spain also recorded an increase in arrivals.

The economic situation in the region has had an impact on the capacity and readiness of many countries to strengthen their protection systems. Austerity measures have also hit civil-society organizations that provide services to asylum-seekers and refugees. Xenophobia and intolerance have led to incidents of discrimination and violence. States have responded by concentrating on curbing irregular movements, including through tighter border controls and detention, or penalization for illegal entry.

UNHCR will build on international and regional law and policy to support States' efforts to find durable solutions for unaccompanied and separated children, who have been arriving in the subregion in large numbers.

The Office continues to be particularly concerned about reports that some EU countries are placing barriers to entry or forcibly returning asylum-seekers and refugees.

In April 2014, the European Union adopted the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund, representing a commitment of over EUR 3 billion for the next seven years (2014-2020). A major portion of this fund will be allocated to Member States' national programmes to complement their own domestic budgets, which should help improve asylum systems, reception modalities, and integration policies.

In this context, UNHCR's work in the subregion will also focus on:

  • Assisting and supporting governments to build and maintain fair and efficient asylum and protection systems;

  • Ensuring border management is more protection-sensitive. The Office will promote alternatives to detention. It will also advocate for reception conditions that meet minimum international standards;

  • Promoting responsibility-sharing among EU Member States, complementing the efforts of the European Commission and the European Asylum Support Office (EASO);

  • Promoting community participation and preventing and responding to incidents of sexual and gender-based violence(SGBV);

  • Advocating for more resettlement places and enhancing integration capacity in resettlement countries;

  • Urging States to accede to the 1954 and 1961 UN Statelessness Conventions, improving mechanisms to identify and protect stateless people and preventing and resolving situations of statelessness; and

  • Supporting EU policy-making processes related to people of concern and mobilizing regional political and financial support for UNHCR's work worldwide.

| Response and implementation |

Asylum and protection

In 2015, one of UNHCR's priorities will be to ensure the safeguarding of asylum space. To prevent deaths at sea, the organization will work with European States towards more concerted action. These efforts will be guided by its Central Mediterranean Sea Initiative (CMSI), which includes measures not only within the European Union, but also in transit or first asylum countries, and in countries of origin. The CMSI seeks to strengthen cooperation with relevant stakeholders. Admission practices will be monitored and the capacity of immigration and coast guard officials built, to help prevent refoulement and ensure that those in need of international protection can access territory.

UNHCR offices in Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and the United Kingdom will follow up on measures in respect of the Response to Vulnerability project. Standard operating procedures will be instituted in reception centres to respond to incidents of SGBV.

The Office will pursue efforts to build and maintain an effective asylum and protection system. Since 2013, UNHCR and the Government of Albania have worked in close collaboration to ensure the safe arrival of more than 240 former residents of the Hurriya temporary transit location (ex-Ashraf) in Iraq who are in need of international protection, and will continue working on durable solutions for this refugee group.

UNHCR will also work to assure reception conditions and procedures that are adequate for responding to asylum-seekers' specific needs and maintaining their dignity. UNHCR and UNICEF are developing guidance on how States can ensure respect for the best interests of unaccompanied children in Europe.

In line with the organization's global Beyond Detention strategy, rolled out in Hungary, Lithuania, Malta and the United Kingdom, the Office will promote alternatives to detention, as well as the release of children held and improvements in detention conditions.

Monitoring and reporting on national practices will help identify gaps and good practice. The follow-up study to Beyond Proof, which assesses credibility in claims lodged by unaccompanied children, will be completed in 2014 and will require implementation in 2015.

Having analysed the reasons for their movements, UNHCR has started developing a more comprehensive protection strategy for Afghans.

Comments on legislation in the context of the transposition of the asylum acquis, comparative analyses and judicial engagement, will allow UNHCR to contribute to the setting of national and regional legal standards. It will implement quality audit mechanisms and participate in some national asylum procedures, such as those in France, Italy and Spain.

UNHCR will continue to complement EASO's efforts to improve practical cooperation among EU Member States in building asylum systems and improving the quality of country-of-origin information.

The Office will pursue its efforts to identify cases for judicial engagement with national and European courts. It will continue to support the conference of refugee law judges in Germany. Judicial engagement and court interventions will permit UNHCR to ensure the correct application of relevant laws in refugee cases.

UNHCR works closely with civil-society organizations and others involved in refugee protection. Innovative approaches include high-visibility campaigns in public spaces and transport. In 2015, particular attention will be paid to improving social media communication.

Durable solutions

Despite 22 out of 36 countries contributing to UNHCR's resettlement efforts in some capacity, the number of resettlement places for the region remain limited. Special attention will be devoted to resettlement and humanitarian admission of Syrian refugees, and the Office will continue managing the Emergency Transit Centres in Timisoara (Romania) and Humenné (Slovakia).

In order to enhance reception and integration capacities and improve refugees' local integration prospects, the Office will work to raise awareness of the integration challenges facing 1.6 million refugees in the region and to promote good practice in labour market integration, housing and the building of social and professional networks.

Statelessness

UNHCR has launched a 10-year campaign to end statelessness, and will advocate for more EU Member States to accede to the 1954 and 1961 UN Statelessness Conventions. The organization will encourage and support States to adopt national action plans to address statelessness, conduct public awareness activities and advocate for a formal identification and protection mechanism for stateless people be established in countries that lack one.

The Office will continue to advocate for law reform preventing statelessness at birth or later in life, and the facilitation of naturalization. Cooperation with the European Network on Statelessness will continue.

| Financial information |

The budget for the subregion has increased significantly in the past years, from USD 51.1 million in 2011 to USD 68.1 million in 2015, primarily owing to the impact of the Syria Situation and asylum-seekers arriving by boat to the shores of Southern Europe.

The budget for the subregion will however be reduced during the course of 2015 as the operation in Albania will move to South-Eastern Europe within the context of UNHCR's regionalization process in the western Balkans.

Approximately 94 per cent of the 2015 budget is allocated to refugee programmes, with the remaining 6 per cent for statelessness activities.

UNHCR 2015 budgets for Northern, Western, Central and Southern Europe (USD)
Operation 2014
Revised budget
(as of 30 June 2014)
2015
Refugee
programme
PILLAR 1
Stateless
programme
PILLAR 2
Reintegration
projects
PILLAR 3
Total
Total 68,075,927 62,431,037 4,479,646 1,191,163 68,101,847
1. Includes activities in Austria, France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, the Liaison Office in Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
2. Includes activities in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and as from 2015, also Croatia.
3. Includes activities in Albania, Cyprus, Greece, Malta and Spain.
4. Includes activities in Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania and Norway.
Belgium Regional Office[1] 14,521,916 14,603,538 1,431,980 0 16,035,518
Hungary Regional Office[2] 17,069,083 11,993,641 1,702,007 1,191,163 14,886,811
Italy Regional Office[3] 24,976,188 22,677,175 223,092 0 22,900,267
Sweden Regional Office[4] 5,538,754 4,518,289 965,440 0 5,483,728
Regional Activities 5,969,986 8,638,394 157,127 0 8,795,521

Source: UNHCR Global Appeal 2015 Update

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Statistical Snapshot*
* As at January 2014
  1. Country or territory of asylum or residence. In the absence of Government estimates, UNHCR has estimated the refugee population in most industrialized countries based on 10 years of asylum-seekers recognition.
  2. Persons recognized as refugees under the 1951 UN Convention/1967 Protocol, the 1969 OAU Convention, in accordance with the UNHCR Statute, persons granted a complementary form of protection and those granted temporary protection. It also includes persons in a refugee-like situation whose status has not yet been verified.
  3. Persons whose application for asylum or refugee status is pending at any stage in the procedure.
  4. Refugees who have returned to their place of origin during the first six months of 2013. Source: Country of origin and asylum.
  5. Persons who are displaced within their country and to whom UNHCR extends protection and/or assistance. It also includes persons who are in an IDP-like situation.
  6. IDPs protected/assisted by UNHCR who have returned to their place of origin during the first six months of 2013.
  7. Refers to persons under UNHCR's statelessness mandate.
  8. Persons of concern to UNHCR not included in the previous columns but to whom UNHCR extends protection and/or assistance.
  9. The category of people in a refugee-like situation is descriptive in nature and includes groups of people who are outside their country of origin and who face protection risks similar to those of refugees, but for whom refugee status has, for practical or other reasons, not been ascertained.
The data are generally provided by Governments, based on their own definitions and methods of data collection.
A dash (-) indicates that the value is zero, not available or not applicable.

Source: UNHCR/Governments.
Compiled by: UNHCR, FICSS.
Residing in Italy [1]
Refugees [2] 78,061
Asylum Seekers [3] 13,653
Returned Refugees [4] 0
Internally Displaced Persons (IDPS) [5] 0
Returned IDPs [6] 0
Stateless Persons [7] 350
Various [8] 0
Total Population of Concern 92,064
Originating from Italy [1]
Refugees [2] 66
Asylum Seekers [3] 79
Returned Refugees [4] 0
Internally Displaced Persons (IDPS) [5] 0
Returned IDPs [6] 0
Various [8] 0
Total Population of Concern 145
Government Contributions to UNHCR
2013 Contributions Breakdown
Total contribution in USD: 10,531,936 [rank: 20]
Total contribution in currency: 7,749,637 (EUR); 323,480 (USD)
Unrestricted contribution (USD): 646,831 [rank: 22]
Donor ranking per GDP: 35
Donor ranking per capita: 29
2013 Contributions chart
Contributions since 2000
YearUSD
2014
More info10,854,756
As at 8 December 2014
2013
More info10,531,936
Total contribution in USD: 10,531,936 [rank: 20]
Total contribution in currency: 7,749,637 (EUR); 323,480 (USD)
Unrestricted contribution (USD): 646,831 [rank: 22]
Donor ranking per GDP: 35
Donor ranking per capita: 29
2012
More info12,827,585
Total contribution in USD: 12,827,585 [rank: 18]
Total contribution in currency: 9,379,824 (EUR); 691,678 (USD)
Donor ranking per GDP: 33
Donor ranking per capita: 28
2011
More info 7,841,708
Total contribution in USD: 7,841,708 [rank: 19]
Total contribution in currency: 5,141,469 EUR; 777,245 USD
Unrestricted contribution (USD): 408,719 [rank: 22]
Donor ranking per GDP: 30
Donor ranking per capita: 27
2010
More info11,477,673
Total contribution in USD: 11,477,673 (rank: 18)
Total contribution in currency: 7,762,338 EUR; 733,355 USD
Unrestricted contribution (USD): 2,164,502 (rank: 17)
Donor ranking per GDP: 31
Donor ranking per capita: 27
2009
More info15,449,784
Total contribution in USD: 15,449,784 (1) (rank: 18)
Total contribution in currency: 9,756,465 EUR; 1,911,460 USD
Unrestricted contribution (USD): 1,646,904 (rank: 19)
Donor ranking per GDP: 29
Donor ranking per capita: 26
(1) Includes USD 150,602 from the Region of Veneto.
2008
More info44,117,001
Total contribution in USD: 44,117,001 [1] (rank: 10)
Total contribution in currency: 30,238,213 (EUR)
Unrestricted contribution (USD): 10,204,082 (rank: 11)
Donor ranking per GDP: 19
Donor ranking per capita: 19
[1] Includes USD 129,534 from the Region of Veneto.
2007
More info19,074,876
Total contribution in USD: 19,074,876 [1] (rank: 16)
Total contribution in currency: 13,907,485 (EUR)
Unrestricted contribution (USD): 2,735,978 (rank: 14)
Donor ranking per GDP: 23
Donor ranking per capita: 23
[1] Includes USD 186,966 from Regione Veneto and USD 25,628 from the Municipality of Rome.
2006
More info10,473,189
Total contribution in USD: 10,473,189 [1] (rank: 20)
Total contribution in currency: 7,126,531 (EUR); 1,492,781 (USD)
Unrestricted contribution (USD): 5,102,041 (rank: 13)
Donor ranking per GDP: 24
Donor ranking per capita: 22
[1] Of which, USD 84,643 from Regione Veneto. In addition, USD 12,844 from Regione Emilia Romagna is shown in the donor profile for the private sector fund-raising programme in Italy.
2005
More info15,863,839
USD 15,863,839 of which USD 5,821,475 (37%) unrestricted; USD 323,415 (2%) earmarked at the subregional level, USD 9,317,914 (59%) earmarked at the country level and USD 401,035 (2%) earmarked at the sectoral / thematic level.
2004
More info12,175,249
USD 12,175,249 [1] of which USD 5,514,706 (45%) was unrestricted, USD 6,295,127 (52%) earmarked at the country level, USD 365,415 (3%) at the sector /thematic level and USD 261,438 undefined [2]
[1] Does not include a 2004 contribution of USD 261,438 from the Emergency Bilateral Fund which is shown as allocated in 2005 for the Supplementary Programme Budget: Indian Ocean Earthquake / Tsunami.
[2] This 2004 undefined contribution of USD 261,438 from the Emergency Bilateral Fund is allocated in 2005 for the Supplementary Programme Budget: Indian Ocean Earthquake / Tsunami.
2003
More info21,555,360
USD 21,555,360 [1] of which USD 5,701,254 (27%) was unrestricted, USD 12,492,376 (58%) earmarked at the country level, USD 3,133,159 (15%) at the sectoral level and USD 228,572 (1%) undefined [2]
[1] Does not include a 2002 contribution of USD 173,872 from the Emergency bilateral fund which was shown as undefined in the 2002 Global Report donor profile allocated in 2003 for the Supplementary Appeal for Côte d'Ivoire, in the context of the Liberia emergency.
[2] The 2003 undefined contribution of USD 228,571 from the Emergency bilateral fund was allocated in February 2004 for the emergency in eastern Chad.
2002
More info13,809,819
USD 13,809,819 of which USD 5,051,813 unrestricted (37%), USD 198,556 earmarked at the sub-regional level (1%), USD 6,749,413 earmarked at the country level (49%), USD 1,636,165 earmarked at the sector level (12%), USD 173,872 undefined (1%).
2001
More info24,731,596
USD 24,731,596 of which 5,339,670 (22%) unrestricted and 19,132,035 (78%) earmarked.
2000
More info10,484,922
USD 10,484,922 of which 1,116,809 (11%) unrestricted and 9,368,113 (89%) earmarked.
Private Sector Contributions to UNHCR
Private sector fund raising 2013

Total contribution in USD: 17,254,729
Total contribution in currency: 13,039,841 (EUR)
Major donorsUSD
Fondazione Prosolidar-Onlus332,902
AC Milan194,805
Nando Peretti Foundation163,620
Consiglio Italiano Rifugiati144,937
CNA64,350

2013 Contributions chart
Contributions since 2006
YearUSD
2014
More info19,332,835
As at 8 December 2014
2013
More info17,254,729

Total contribution in USD: 17,254,729
Total contribution in currency: 13,039,841 (EUR)
Major donorsUSD
Fondazione Prosolidar-Onlus332,902
AC Milan194,805
Nando Peretti Foundation163,620
Consiglio Italiano Rifugiati144,937
CNA64,350
2012
More info14,265,922

Total contribution in USD: 14,265,922
Total contribution in currency: 11,056,253 (EUR); 58,114 (USD)
Major donorsUSD
Fondazione Prosolidar-Onlus224,755
ITA AC Milan194,805
Consiglio Italiano per i Rifugiati152,255
2011
More info13,758,375

Total contribution in USD: 13,758,375
Total contribution in currency: 9,830,373 (EUR); 143,340 (USD)
Major donorsUSD
Prosolidar848,915
Fondazione Nando Peretti253,394
Comitato Collaborazione Medica143,340
Fondazione Milan122,989
Consiglio Italiano Rifugiati (CIR)118,857
BNL Foundation65,341
2010
More info 8,794,379

Total contribution in USD: 8,794,379
Total contribution in currency: 6,657,170 EUR
Major donorsUSD
Pirelli246,569
Fondazione Nando Peretti139,862
Prosolidar111,737
2009 5,495,833
2008 4,967,245
2007 5,210,109
2006 3,403,315

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Drifting Towards Italy

Every year, Europe's favourite summer playground - the Mediterranean Sea - turns into a graveyard as hundreds of men, women and children drown in a desperate bid to reach European Union (EU) countries.

The Italian island of Lampedusa is just 290 kilometres off the coast of Libya. In 2006, some 18,000 people crossed this perilous stretch of sea - mostly on inflatable dinghies fitted with an outboard engine. Some were seeking employment, others wanted to reunite with family members and still others were fleeing persecution, conflict or indiscriminate violence and had no choice but to leave through irregular routes in their search for safety.

Of those who made it to Lampedusa, some 6,000 claimed asylum. And nearly half of these were recognized as refugees or granted some form of protection by the Italian authorities.

In August 2007, the authorities in Lampedusa opened a new reception centre to ensure that people arriving by boat or rescued at sea are received in a dignified way and are provided with adequate accommodation and medical facilities.

Drifting Towards Italy

Angelina Jolie meets boat people in Malta, Lampedusa

Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie joined UNHCR chief António Guterres on the Italian island of Lampedusa, where they met with boat people who have fled unrest in North Africa.

More than 40,000 people, including refugees and asylum-seekers, have crossed the Mediterranean on overcrowded boats and descended on the small island since the beginning of the year.

The UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador flew to Lampedusa from Malta, which has also been a destination for people fleeing North Africa by boat.

Angelina Jolie meets boat people in Malta, Lampedusa

Fleeing Libya by sea

Thousands of people, mainly sub-Saharan Africans, are taking to the sea in ancient, leaky and overcrowded boats to escape war in their adopted homeland. Libya. The destination of choice is the Italian resort island of Lampedusa, some 600 kilometres north of Libya in the Mediterranean. Many of the passengers arrive traumatized and exhausted from the high seas journey. Others perish en route.

One Ivorian migrant describes life in Tripoli before leaving: "There was no peace. There was rifle fire everywhere. Then NATO started to bomb. We had nothing to eat. Some Libyans started to attack strangers at night, to steal your money, your mobile, whatever you have ... No way to stay there with them. Better to flee."

UNHCR estimates that one in 10 people die during the sea journey from Libya. Those bodies which wash ashore get a simple burial in Lampedusa's cemetery.

May 2011

Fleeing Libya by sea

Rescue at Sea on the Mediterranean

Every year tens of thousands of people risk their lives by crossing the Mediterranean on overcrowded and often unseaworthy boats in a bid to reach Europe. Many of them are fleeing violence and persecution and are in need of international protection. Thousands die every year trying to make it to places like Malta or Italy's tiny Lampedusa Island. It took the loss of some 600 people in boat sinkings last October to focus world attention on this humanitarian tragedy. Italy has since launched a rescue-at-sea operation using naval vessels, which have saved more than 10,000 people. Photographer Alfredo D'Amato, working with UNHCR, was on board the San Giusto, flagship of the Italian rescue flotilla, when rescued people were transferred to safety. His striking images follow.

Rescue at Sea on the Mediterranean

Rescue at Sea

Summer, with its fair weather and calmer seas, often brings an increase in the number of people risking their lives to cross the Mediterranean and seek asylum in Europe. But this year the numbers have grown by a staggering amount. In the month of June, the Mare Nostrum search and rescue operation picked up desperate passengers at a rate of more than 750 per day.

In late June, UNHCR photographer Alfredo D'Amato boarded the San Giorgio, an Italian naval ship taking part in the operation, to document the rescue process - including the first sighting of boats from a military helicopter, the passengers' transfer to small rescue boats and then the mother ship, and finally their return to dry land in Puglia, Italy.

In the span of just six hours on 28 June, the crew rescued 1,171 people from four overcrowded boats. Over half were from war-torn Syrian, mostly families and large groups. Others came from Eritrea and Sudan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Somalia, Bangladesh and beyond. D'Amato's images and the interviews that accompanied them are windows into the lives of people whose situation at home had become so precarious that they were willing to risk it all.

Rescue at Sea

Haunted by a sinking ship

Thamer and Thayer are two brothers from Syria who risked their lives in the hope of reaching Europe. The sea voyage was fraught with danger. But home had become a war zone.

Before the conflict, they led a simple life in a small, tight-knit community they describe as "serene". Syria offered them hope and a future. Then conflict broke out and they were among the millions forced to flee, eventually finding their way to Libya and making a desperate decision.

At a cost of US$ 2,000 each, they boarded a boat with over 200 others and set sail for Italy. They knew that capsizing was a very real possibility. But they hadn't expected bullets, fired by militiamen and puncturing their boat off the coast of Lampedusa.

As water licked their ankles, the brothers clung to one another in the chaos. "I saw my life flash before my eyes," recalls Thayer. "I saw my childhood. I saw people from when I was young. Things I thought I no longer remembered."

After ten terrifying hours, the boat capsized in the Mediterranean Sea, throwing occupants overboard. Rescue, when it finally came, was too late for many.

Theirs was the second of two deadly shipwrecks off the coast of Lampedusa last October. Claiming hundreds of lives, the disasters sparked a debate on asylum policy in Europe, leading Italian authorities to launch the Mare Nostrum search and rescue operation. To date, it has saved more than 80,000 people in distress at sea.

Eight months on, having applied for asylum in a sleepy coastal town in western Sicily, Thamer and Thayer are waiting to restart their lives.

"We want to make our own lives and move on," they explain.

Haunted by a sinking ship

A Cry for Those in Peril on the Sea

Earlier this month, within sight of shore after a long journey from Libya, a boat carrying hundreds of people foundered off the Italian island of Lampedusa. More than 300 people, many of them children, drowned and only 156 people were picked out of the water alive. The tragedy was staggering for its heavy death toll, but it is unlikely to prevent people from making the dangerous and irregular journey by sea to try and reach Europe. Many seek a better life in Europe, but others are escaping persecution in countries like Eritrea and Somalia. And it's not just happening on the Mediterranean. Desperate people fleeing poverty, conflict or persecution are risking their lives to cross the Gulf of Aden from Africa; Rohingya from Myanmar are heading into the Bay of Bengal on flimsy boats in search of a safe haven; people of several nationalities try to reach Australia by boat; others cross the Caribbean. And many remember the Vietnamese boat people exodus of the 1970s and 1980s. As then, governments need to work together to reduce the risk to life. These photos, from UNHCR's archives, capture the plight of boat people around the world.

A Cry for Those in Peril on the Sea

Italy: Desperate Rescue at SeaPlay video

Italy: Desperate Rescue at Sea

Tens of thousands are fleeing from the North African coast, seeking safety in Europe via a dangerous Mediterranean Sea crossings. Many are Syrian refugees, many others come from Sub-Saharan Africa - all risk their lives.

Italy: Haunted by a Sinking Ship Play video

Italy: Haunted by a Sinking Ship

"Every time I try to sleep I see what I saw in the water, what happened to me, the dead children"

Thamer & Thayer, brothers from Syria, escaped war, then unrest in Libya only to be faced with death on the Mediterranean

The Lampedusa boat tragedies sparked a debate on asylum policies in Europe, leading Italian authorities to launch a search and rescue operation in the Mediterranean Sea. Called Mare Nostrum, the operation had rescued more than 63,000 people at the time this video was published in July 2014.

Italy: Mediterranean RescuePlay video

Italy: Mediterranean Rescue

The Italy Navy rescues hundreds of migrants and asylum seekers on the high seas as the numbers of people undertaking the crossing of the Mediterranean from North Africa grows.

Italy: Thousands of Refugees Rescued in SicilyPlay video

Italy: Thousands of Refugees Rescued in Sicily

Over 1,200 migrants were rescued from inflatable boats off the boast of Lampedusa on the 7th of February by the Italian navy. Young men, women and children, crammed into eight dinghies and a boat, were spotted by helicopter half way between Tunisia and Italy.

Italy: Waiting for AsylumPlay video

Italy: Waiting for Asylum

Sicily has a high number of asylum-seekers because of its location in the south of Italy. In 2011, Cara Mineo was set up to provide asylum-seekers with a place to live while their applications were processed. Today, more than 4,000 people stay there and must wait up to a year for a decision on their applications.

Syrian Refugees: Stranded in MilanPlay video

Syrian Refugees: Stranded in Milan

Growing numbers of Syrians have been trying to reach Europe after fleeing their war-torn country. In the northern Italian commercial and financial centre of Milan, a refugee shelter was created in a day after large numbers of Syrian families were found camping in front of the Milan Central railway station. As they wait, they are glad to at least be protected from the cold winter.

Syrian Refugees: Desperate in LampedusaPlay video

Syrian Refugees: Desperate in Lampedusa

In the past year, more than 13,000 people have arrived by boat in Italy's Lampedusa Island on irregular migration routes. Many have died attempting the crossing. Young men from sub-Saharan Africa mix with families from Syria. All share the same dream - starting afresh in the security and stability of Europe.

Italy: Jolie and Guterres visit Lampedusa Play video

Italy: Jolie and Guterres visit Lampedusa

Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie and UNHCR chief António Guterres see conditions for migrants, including refugees, on Italy's Lampedusa Island.
Malta: Angelina Jolie meets asylum seekersPlay video

Malta: Angelina Jolie meets asylum seekers

UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie visits an old air force base on Malata and talks to asylum-seekers who have fled North Africa.
Italy Sea rescuePlay video

Italy Sea rescue

A Guardia di Finanza vessel, which normally operates against drug smugglers, arrives in Italy's Lampedusa Island with a group of boat people rescued at sea after fleeing Libya.
Italy: Surviving the High SeasPlay video

Italy: Surviving the High Seas

Thousands have risked their lives to make the sea crossing from western Libya Africa to Italy's tiny Lampedusa Island. Not everyone makes it. Here are some of the survivors.
UNHCR: Boat OrdealPlay video

UNHCR: Boat Ordeal

UNHCR spokeswoman Melissa Fleming talks about a boat that drifted in the Mediterranean for more than two weeks after leaving Libya. Only nine of the 72 passengers survived.
Italy: Fleeing TunisiaPlay video

Italy: Fleeing Tunisia

Thousands of Tunisians have landed on Italy's Lampedusa Island. They say they are looking for a better life and want to escape violence in their country.
Testimonial: Lampedusa Coastguard chiefPlay video

Testimonial: Lampedusa Coastguard chief

Testimony by Lampedusa Coastguard chief