Located in Southern Europe, the Italian Republic, includes mainland and the major islands of Sicily and Sardinia covering a land area of 301,230 square km. Italy’s capital city is Rome. Italy shares its northern border with France, Switzerland, Austria and Slovenia. The biggest island of the Mediterranean and of Italy is Sicily whose capital is Palermo. Sardinia the second biggest island is situated 320 km northwest of Sicily and its capital is Sassari. Within the frontiers of Italy the sovereign Republic of San Marino, with an area of 61.2 square km, and the state of Vatican City, which covers 44 hectares are located.
Italy is mostly mountainous country with narrow plains on the coast. The mountain ranges are the Alps (with the highest peak in the country Mont Blanc 4,807 m), the Dolomites and the Apennines that run towards South of the country. At the foot of the Alps, there is the Po River, the only large river in Italy that provides water for the plains that surround it and forms the agricultural and industrial heartland of the country. Other smaller rivers are Arno and Tiber. Italy has the only active volcanoes in Europe: Vesuvius (Naples), Mount Etna (Sicily) and Stromboli (Aeolian Islands).
In general, Italy has four seasons. On the coast the climate is mainly mild with cool, rainy winters and hot, dry summers. Inland and the mountains are colder with cold winters, warm summers, and considerable rain, falling mostly in spring and autumn, with heavy snow in the mountains. The coldest period is from December to January, the hottest from July to August. Winter temperatures range from below zero in the north to 18°C in Sicily, while during summer temperatures are often similar north to south from 24°C to 30°C. The east coast of the Italian peninsula is not as wet as the west coast, but is usually colder in the winter. Annual rainfall varies from about 50 cm per year, on the southeast coast and in Sicily and Sardinia, to over 200 cm in the Alps.
The Italian language is a Romance language that originated from Latin spoken by the Ancient Romans. Italian is very close to other Romance languages: 89 percent of its vocabulary is shared with French, 88 percent with Catalan, 82 percent with Spanish and Portuguese, and 77 percent with Romanian. If you speak one of these languages it will be easier for you to understand and learn Italian.
The standard Italian language is based on the writings of Tuscan writers in the 12th century. However, only in the 19th century it became the standard language of a newly unified Italy (with 2.5 percent of the population that could speak the language at that moment). Nowadays, Italian holds the status of the official language and is spoken by the majority of people. Almost every Italian region has its own regional dialect (Sicilian, Roman, Venetian, Neapolitan etc.). It is estimated that about half of Italy’s population first gets familiar with the dialect and is then exposed to the standard Italian in elementary school. However, standard Italian stays the only written language.
Italian is the fourth most studied language in the world. The Italian alphabet has 21 letter. Letters j, k, w, x and y don’t exist in standard Italian, except for in loan words (e.g. ‘jeans’). Italians are often said to be singing when speaking. That is because almost all words in Italian end with a vowel.
Where is Italian spoken outside of Italy?
Italian is spoken also as an official language in Switzerland, Istria (region of Croatia), San Marino, Vatican, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Romania. Twelve minority languages are spoken in Italy: German, French, Greek, Albanian, Ladin, Slovene, Sardinian, Friulian, Occitan, Provençal and Croatian.
Italian political system
Italy is a democratic parliamentary republic (from 1946), with a multi-party system. The president (currently Sergio Mattarella) is the head of state, though this is a largely ceremonial role. Prime Minister has the most important role in the country and he presides the Council of the Ministers. The president is not elected by the people, but by secret voting by parliament and regional representatives and serves seven-year terms. Parliamen is reelected every five-years. After World War II, the centrist Party of Christian Democracy and the left-wing Italian Communist Party dominated Italian politics. Today there is a shift towards centrist and right wing orientation with the Democratic Party, Five Star Movement (centrist), Lega Nord (right wing) and Forza Italia (center-right) being the main parties. Italy is divided into 20 regions. Five of these: Sardinia, Sicily, Trentino-Alto Adige, Aosta Valley and Friuli-Venezia Giulia have special status and a greater degree of independence. The regions are divided into provinces and provinces into communes.
Please, for more information refer to a chapter Political system and society.
Italy has a mixed ethnical heritage due to influences and domination of different groups in the past.
Italy is the sixth most populated country in Europe with a population of approximately 60 million. The largest ethnic group are the Native Italians. Population density is very uneven. In the Po Valley, the density is high with almost half of the country’s population. Other densely inhabited areas include the metropolitan areas of big cities like Rome, Milan and Naples. 71.8 % of the population is urban (42,587,390 people in 2018) and the average age in Italy is 46.3 years.
The notion of ethnic minority groups in Italy is connected to the language they speak. So people speaking minority languages like German, French, Greek, Albanian, Ladin, Slovene, Sardu, Friulian, Occitan, Provençal and Croatian are considered minorities. The Rom and Sinti are considered separately.
The presence of different ethnicities in Italy continues to the present day as Italy has transformed into an immigration country from the 1970 onwards. Until then Italy was a country of strong emigration with about 13 million people who emigrated from 1880 to 1976. This makes Italy a country of short immigration history. It is estimated that there are over 5 million foreign residents in Italy today, which accounts for 7.5% of the total population. Their distribution over the Italian regions is unequal with 2.9 million residing in the North region, 1.3 millions in the Centre and 800 000 in the South and the Islands. Largest groups of migrants living in Italy come from Romania, Albania, North Africa, China, and Ukraine. The most numerous foreign communities in Sicily come from Romania, Tunisia, Morocco and Sri Lanka.
Italy’s geographical position in the heart of the Mediterranean (but also close to conflict areas like the Balkans or Maghreb) has contributed in becoming a country of immigration. The first immigrants to Italy came for work purposes from North Africa, Asia and Latin America. Migrants are arriving in Italy via land and via seaports on the Adriatic coast, in Sicily and in Sardinia claiming refugee status. From the 1980s onwards and further on with the collapse of communist regimes in Eastern Europe immigrants arrived from the ex-Yugoslavia region, Poland, Romania and Albania. Nowadays, African immigration has taken the lead in the number of arrivals making more than 60 percent of all migrants arrived. According to data provided by UNHCR (https://data2.unhcr.org/en/situations/mediterranean/location/5205) in 2017 around 119.247 migrants, most of them from Nigeria, Pakistan, Gambia and Senegal, arrived in Italy.
Further information & links
General information about Italy: https://www.britannica.com/place/Italy/Education#ref27024
Immigration to Italy how it has changed over the last half century: https://openmigration.org/en/analyses/immigration-to-italy-how-it-has-changed-over-the-last-half-century/
Italian political system: https://www.thelocal.it/20170518/italys-political-system-key-things-to-know
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|The course includes a comic book workshop, attend a book-reading activities of professional actors and have a direct exchange with students of high schools in Rome.|
The didactics of the course also includes visits to museums, theatre and outdoor lessons.
|Visit the website|
|“Ataya App”, the first App dedicated to foreign students with little or no previous schooling.|
The project was born within the Italian School of Cooperativa Impresa Sociale Ruah, belonging to the Cgm network, on the experience of migrant reception.
|Visit the website|
Italian Lessons at “Centro Astalli”
|The Italian school of the Centre is a first reception service in which transformation and experimentation dominate. For example, classes welcome new students every month and volunteer teachers are increasingly interested in learning innovative teaching methods. Different levels of Italian are taught according to the needs of the students.||Visit the website|
On-line Italian Club
|This online course offers a rich content such as grammar lessons, listening and comprehension activities, expression exercises and an explanation after every lesson. Different levels of Italian are taught from A1 to C2 according to the needs of the students.||Visit the website|
One World Italian
|The course offering resources and didactic material is divided in 2 levels. Additionally, learners can find video exercises, grammar explanation, vocabulary section etc. A YouTube channel with video courses, which is easily accessible.||Visit the website|
Political system and society
Italian political system
Italy is a democratic parliamentary republic (from 1946), with a multi-party system. There are three branches of power in Italy: executive, legislative, and juridical.
- The president (currently Sergio Mattarella) is the head of state, though this is a largely ceremonial role. The president is not elected by the people, but by secret voting by parliament and regional representatives and serves seven-year terms. The president’s duties are to name the Prime minister (though this usually happens after a general election), to call for elections, to call referendums, and to officially put laws into effect (though they are created and passed by others).
- Prime Minister has the most important role in the country and he presides the Council of the Ministers. The Council holds the executive power in Italy. The ministers are responsible for executing laws and other political decisions.
- The legislative power belongs to Parliament; whose main job is to make laws. Italy’s parliament is made up of two houses which both have equal power: The Chamber of Deputies (or Lower House) and the Senate (Upper House). Italian citizens reelect parliament every five-years on the elections.
- The judiciary power belongs to judges, who are responsible for implementing the laws passed by Parliament
Some rules of the voting system:
- Italians have the right to elect and to get elected (if they are candidates of a party).
- Political parties participate on the elections, not individuals. Individuals vote.
- Italians get to vote for each of the houses of Parliament.
- You can vote on the elections only when you get the Italian citizenship. If you are a refugee, after 5 years of residence in Italy you can ask for the citizenship. For migrants this period is 10 years.
- All Italian citizens aged over 18 can vote for members of the Chamber of Deputies. When it comes to Senate elections, however, the voting age rises to 25.
The Italian constitution is the highest general act which establishes the basic ground rules of society. The current Constitution dates back to 1948. The articles are divided into three categories: fundamental principles, rights and duties of the citizens, and organization of the Republic. Thus, everyone living in Italy has guaranteed the same human rights and fundamental freedoms, regardless of nationality, race, sex, language, religion, political or other belief, material status, birth, education, social status, disability or any other personal circumstance.
Political parties in Italy
Italy has a plenty of political parties. After World War II, the centrist Party of Christian Democracy and the left-wing Italian Communist Party dominated Italian politics. Around 1992 a series of scandals (investigation about political corruption) rocked Italy’s major political parties. This major changes of the parties marked the end of the period known as the ‘First Republic’ and the period from then until now is known as the Second Republic. On today’s political scene in Italy there is a shift towards the centrist and right wing orientation with the Democratic Party, Five Star Movement (centrist), Northern League (right wing) and Forza Italia (center-right) being the main parties.
Italy is divided into 20 regions. Five of these: Sardinia, Sicily, Trentino-Alto Adige, Aosta Valley and Friuli-Venezia Giulia have special status and a greater degree of independence. The regions are divided into provinces and provinces into communes.
Further links & info:
In Italy the constitution and other laws and policies protect religious freedom (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_of_religion). There is no state religion in Italy. Each and every faith is welcome. Some have been practiced along with Catholicism (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_Church) since the earliest times, like Judaism. Others have become important in much more recent years, as a result of immigration, like Orthodoxy (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oriental_Orthodoxy), Islam (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islam) and Budhism (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddhism). However, due to its sovereign status and historical political authority, the Roman Catholic Church has some privileges not given to other religious groups.
Geographically, the heart of the Catholic Church is within Italian soil with the Vatican city.
The dominant religion in Italy is Christianity (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christianity). 74.4% of Italy’s residents are Christians, 22.6% of the population does not belong to any religion – either since birth or because they have resigned from a religion, 3.0% adhere to other religions. The most numerous subgroup of Christians are Catholics that make around 71,1% of the population. Among religious minorities, Eastern and Oriental Orthodoxy (1,6 million (2,60%)) is the largest, followed by, Islam (1,4 million (2,34%)) and almost entirely Sunnits) Protestantism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikhism and Judaism. They have their places of worship in Italy.
Holidays in Italy follow the Christian religion (Catholic) or historic incidences. There are no Muslim holidays. Wearing a headscarf because of religious reasons is allowed, but there are laws that penalize those who attempt to hide their identity by wearing a face-concealing attire (burqa and niqab).
Religious and political affairs are separated in Italy. The Italian law is superior to any religious regulations.
As everywhere in Italy there is a percentage of people who are willing to share and be connected with people of different religions. There are associations working towards a peaceful coexistence and interreligious dialogue between citizens. If you are a victim of discrimination, please refer to anti-discrimination offices open in many municipalities or to:
Rights and responsibilities
Individual and collective rights of residents
As resident on the Italian territory you are guaranteed fundamental rights (UN Declaration of Human rights) and specific rights defined by the Italian Constitution (Article 2) (For further information, check: http://www.prefettura.it/FILES/AllegatiPag/1187/Costituzione_ENG.pdf). You also have specific responsibilities.
Article 2 expresses the Italian State’s acknowledgement of inviolable human rights. Legal foreign residents’ rights in Italy are based on the principle of equity. They include political participation, civil, family, and social rights such as:
- access to work;
- right to family reunification;
- right to social assistance;
- right to health care;
- right to request a travel document equivalent to a passport (if your embassy in Italy is not willing to issue the passport);
- right to public education;
- Education in Italy is compulsory from 6 to 16 years of age, but for unaccompanied foreign minors, beyond age proscribed the obligation is the third year of the middle school. This is obligatory also for those who have studied in their country of origin and cannot do a conversion of their diploma. However, for them there is the possibility of doing 3 years in one year.
- right to move freely within the territory of the European Union (excluding Denmark and Great Britain) without any visa, for a period not exceeding 3 months;
- right to apply for Italian citizenship after 5 years of residency in Italy;
- right to marriage;
- right to participate in the allocation of public housing;
- right to issue a driving license;
- right to be protected against discrimination;
- right to freely participate in public life.
Rights of the asylum seeker
In Italy asylum seekers have the right to an asylum procedure and to primary care including adequate housing, food, health care and pocket money. You are also allowed to work (http://www.asylumineurope.org/reports/country/italy/reception-conditions/employment-education/access-labour-market) once 60 days from the application request have passed. You are protected against discrimination (https://www.esteri.it/mae/en/politica_estera/temi_globali/diritti_umani/litalia_e_i_diritti_umani.html) Asylum seekers have the duty to contribute to the asylum procedure. However, you don’t have the right to family reunification before you get the answer from the Immigration office about your application.
Right to the Italian citizenship
As a holder of international protection in Italy, you have the right to acquire the Italian citizenship (https://www.cittadinanzattiva.it/approfondimenti/giustizia/11085-cittadinanza-italiana-come-si-ottiene.html) on the conditions defined by the relevant law.
- Refuges can apply for the citizenship after 5 years of regular residence in Italy
- Subsidiary and Humanitarian protection holders can apply for the citizenship after 10 years of regular residence in Italy
- Possess sufficient personal income (€ 263,31) or family income (€ 11.362,05 increased for € 516.00 for each additional family member)
The application for Italian citizenship is done exclusively ON LINE, by registering on the portal of the Ministry of the Interior at the following link: https://cittadinanza.dlci.interno.it
The residence permit renewal
Residence permit is automatically delivered when you get the answer on you application for international protection.
When you receive your residence permit, you will sign the integration agreement (http://www.stranieriinitalia.it/l-esperto-risponde/accordo-di-integrazione-e-permesso-a-punti/accordo-di-integrazione-e-permesso-a-punti/laccordo-di-integrazione-in-16-lingue.html) that obliges you to certain commitments (such as language and civic education) that represent conditions for permit renewal when it expires.
Conditions set by the Integration agreement for the residence permit renewal:
- acquire an adequate level of knowledge (http://www.integrazionemigranti.gov.it/en/services/language/Pages/default.aspx) of the Italian language (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Italian_language) equivalent to at least A2 level of Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (you will pass a test);
- acquire sufficient knowledge of the fundamental principles of the Constitution and of functioning of public institutions in Italy;
- acquire sufficient knowledge of civil and social life in Italy (health, school, social services, work, tax obligations);
- guarantee the fulfillment of the education obligation for minor children;
- adhere to and respect the principles of the Charter of values of citizenship and integration (https://www.istruzionepadova.it/studenti/EdCivica/MI_Carta-Dei-Valori_EN.pdf) .
Some proofs that you respected the Agreement will be asked from you:
- Accumulation of 30 credits
- Credits are acquired by attending Italian language courses, civic culture courses and activities such as: education and vocational training, having chosen your primary care physician, signing of a lease or purchase of a house, voluntary work.
- Credits are lost if the person violates a law and gets convicted
- Participation to the Session on civic training (16 credits)
- Language test
For further information about the integration agreement:
Integration Agreement in 16 languages: http://www.stranieriinitalia.it/l-esperto-risponde/accordo-di-integrazione-e-permesso-a-punti/accordo-di-integrazione-e-permesso-a-punti/laccordo-di-integrazione-in-16-lingue.html https://www.cittametropolitana.bo.it/immigrazione/Engine/RAServeFile.php/f/Accordointegrazione_vademecum_2015.pdf
Duties to fulfill living in Italy (http://www.insardegnamigranti.it/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=136&Itemid=43&lang=en)
As an equal member of the Italian society, you will have certain duties (http://www.pratomigranti.it/en/documenti/permesso-soggiorno/accordo-integrazione/pagina54.html) to fulfill like: learning the Italian, respecting the laws proscribed by the Italian Constitution and sharing the norms and fundamental values of the Republic (e.g. gender equality, the rights of the others, the duties of solidarity…). You should also actively participate and work together with the local population in building a better and cohesive society. This can be realized through socially useful work such as volunteering (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volunteering) or community activities. As you will be hosted in Italy, it is important to show your will to integrate in the new society and to contribute to its development. This will be at the same time a precious opportunity for cultural and social exchange and personal growth of both you and the locals.
Italian state duties
The Italian State has the corresponding duties to provide you with the equality (https://ec.europa.eu/home-affairs/content/principle-equal-treatment-0_en) and equal dignity, the freedom of religion, access to education and training, adequate housing and a sanitary system.
Italy commits to support the process of integration of the foreign citizen through various initiatives in agreement with the Regions and Local Authorities. These can be realized through the collaboration with the Adults education centers, third sector organizations, employers ‘organizations and workers’ organizations. The civic and informative training session on life of the foreign citizen in Italy is also guaranteed.
Further information & links
La Constituzione, Diritti Fondamentali: http://medea.provincia.venezia.it/pm4/costit/ricostituz.htm
Caneva, E (2014).The integration of migrants in Italy: an overview of policy instruments and actors. INTERACT research report. http://cadmus.eui.eu/bitstream/handle/1814/32019/INTERACT-RR-2014_05.pdf
Access to the labour market: http://www.asylumineurope.org/reports/country/italy/reception-conditions/employment-education/access-labour-market
Rights and responsibilities of asylum seekers: https://refugeerightstoolkit.org/advocate/legal-services/case-management/rsd-procedures/rights-and-responsibilities-of-asylum-seekers/
Knowledge of the Italian language and integration agreement: http://www.integrazionemigranti.gov.it/en/services/language/Pages/default.aspx
PIANO NAZIONALE D’INTEGRAZIONE DEI TITOLARI DI PROTEZIONE INTERNAZIONALE: http://www.interno.gov.it/sites/default/files/piano-nazionale-integrazione.pdf
Articolo 2 Testo unico sull’immigrazione, Diritti e doveri dello straniero: https://www.brocardi.it/testo-unico-immigrazione/titolo-i/art2.html
Il piano del governo: profughi integrati con diritti e doveri https://www.avvenire.it/attualita/pagine/diritti-in-cambio-di-doveri-ecco-il-piano-integrazione
Protection against discrimination
Discrimination can be based on race, color, ancestry or national or ethnic origin, beliefs and religious practices, age, sex, ability. It can compromise human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social fields and cultural and in every other sector of public life.
It is not necessary that the person has some of these characteristics or belongs to some group. Sometimes it is enough that the person is perceived as such or connected to a person or group of persons with certain characteristics.
Individuals or organisations are discriminating against you if they treat you differently from everyone else because of something about you that they do not respect. Discrimination can be a horrible and hurtful experience and, in many instances, it is against the law as a form of violence on an individual and/or a group.
Some examples of discrimination:
- someone saying hurtful, offensive things or attacking you repeatedly
- being made fun of (making jokes about you)
- being excluded or left out
- having a group of people gang up on you
- being made to do hurtful or inappropriate things
- being threatened
- finding yourself having to defend who you are and what you believe against stereotypes and untrue claims.
It’s against the law to be discriminated against in these areas of public life:
- workplace, access to labour market, employment
- education, science and sports
- social welfare, pension system, social and health insurance
- government services – access to justice and administration
- accessing goods, services and facilities
- public information and media
- membership in trade unions, NGOs, political parties and other organizations
- participation in culture and arts.
There are various laws against discrimination of all types:
- International: (Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Convention of Rome https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Convention_on_Human_Rights , International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination https://www.ohchr.org/Documents/ProfessionalInterest/cerd.pdf
- European: Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charter_of_Fundamental_Rights_of_the_European_Union
- Italian legislation: Italian Constitution (https://www2.immigrazione.regione.toscana.it/?q=antidiscriminazione) Article 3, Article 10, Article 21, Article 43, Article 44, Law 205/93
UNAR or National Anti-Racial Discrimination Office is the official mechanism of the Italian state for promoting equal treatment and repressing race and ethnicity discrimination. It was established in 2003 and has a hotline number (800 90 10 10) where you can report discriminatory behavior.
If you are victims of discrimination, please refer to anti-discrimination offices open in many municipalities or to :
ASGI juridical help https://www.asgi.it/servizio-antidiscriminazione/
UNAR (National Anti-Racial Discrimination Office) http://www.unar.it/
Forum antirazzista Palermo: https://www.facebook.com/groups/112901105393866/
CLEDU Palermo: https://www.facebook.com/CLEDU-1663643247204597/
Avvocato di strada: http://www.avvocatodistrada.it/
If you need to file a complaint for discrimination:
- ask for information to the associations protecting the rights of immigrants present in your city if you have any doubt about the opportunity to file a complaint.
- Provide some proofs, testimonies.
Further links & info:
Living in the community & neighbourhood
How the community is organized (formally and informally); Societal norms of living in the community: what is expected; living with others in the community and neighbourhood; individualistic and collectivistic outlook
In the Italian society it is expected to respect other, their rights and their privacy. You will be expected to respect the public places (parks, squares, streets, public transport). There are some societal rules to follow such as not to disturb public order by yelling, playing loud music, making noise, leaving garbage and similar. It is not allowed to smoke in the restaurants and some cafes (unless there is a sign that it is allowed), neither it is allowed in hospitals, schools and other public facilities. It is also generally prohibited to drink alcohol in public places (streets). You should pay attention to your voice (intonation), as yelling even if not in anger can make people feel offended or uncomfortable.
Communities in Italy are officially divided into city quarters or local/village communities, which carry out administrative matters at the lowest level. They are engaged in meeting public needs of the community. Through local communities, the inhabitants of a certain area can influence decisions in their community. Communities are arranged in such a way that each community provides main public services like kindergarten, school, health center or doctor, grocery store, ATM, public transport and cultural and leisure activities.
People in the community are also connected through different associations, clubs and interest groups who organize different events on local level.
Societal norms of living in the neighbourhood: in houses or in multi-flat buildings; relations with the neighbours; preservation of the common goods, preservation of the environment, waste separation
Living in the big city and in the town in Italy is different. If you live in a big city, you won’t be that close to your neighbours. This might also depend from your quarter, if it is more popular and how long you have been living there. In smaller towns and villages, usually people are more connected. If you live in a big apartment block there will be more rules to follow because you will be in a close contact with your neighbours. Whereas, if you live in a house of yours you are more independent but should still stay in good relations with your neighbours.
It is usual to greet your neighbours when you meet them no matter where you live in the city or in a smaller town.
- Get to know each other
When you arrive in a new environment, it is good education to present yourself. This gesture will be appreciated by the neighbours who will be better predisposed towards you. It is usual to call/ to be called for a coffee or a lunch with your neighbours in order to get to know them better (both in the city and in a town). It is not offensive if they refuse – especially in the big apartment blocks.
- Ask a little help
In addition, it is usual to ask your neighbours or that they ask you for a small favour – if they need some help with moving or want to borrow some sugar, milk etc.
It is nice to be friendly and to get integrated in the new neighbourhood, but above all you should respect others, their rights and their privacy.
Try not to disturb your neighbours with: yelling, using noisy appliances, playing loud TV and radio. You should avoid to produce loud noises at any time but, specifically, at the following times of rest: 22.00 – 9.00; 14.00pm – 16.00pm. You as parents are required to monitor your children so that they do no harm or disturb the neighbours with games or shouting, especially during the hours dedicated to rest.
- Common areas
The laundry – sometimes it is forbidden to hang out the laundry on the balconies overlooking the street. In that case the laundry can be hung in the inside of the building, but it must not drip.
Don’t throw water from your balcony and be careful when you water your flowers (do it in the evening and don’t exaggerate with the water)
Check before leaving things like bicycles, baby strollers, objects, etc in the stairs, common terraces, gardens…
Do not throw your garbage from the window and try not to leave it in the corridor for a long time before you throw it away.
- Ask for permission and put a notice if:
You will throw a party that will produce a lot of noise.
It is a good practice to warn your neighbours and apologize in advance for the inconvenience and noise if you are doing renovations in your apartment even small adjustments.
Ask a permission if you want to park your car in the inner courtyard of the building or you want to keep baby strollers or carts in the entrance hall of the building
However, if you or someone is disturbed by other neighbour’s behaviour, you can politely talk to them and if your calls are not heard, it is advisable to contact the condominium administrator.
- Gardens and courtyards
If you live in a house and have a garden if you don’t use it for planting, make sure that you cut your grass regularly.
If you live in a building, often there are courtyards. Courtyard is a meeting point for everyone in the area and is often a play area for children. Everyone has to be careful about plants and shrubs and other common facilities and use the litter bins provided in the courtyard.
- Garbage and recycling
In general, recycling is mandatory in Italy. However, this might differ from area to area. Mandatory separation is more established in the North, than in the South Italy. Usually there is a garbage tax that is paid (spese condominiali).
You can find litter bins for certain types of garbage and recycle it. This includes paper and cardboard bins, bins for glass and bins for plastic and tetra pack, and a separate bin for the rest of the waste. It is preferable to recycle because it is good for the environment and community. Even if you decide not to recycle, you still need to be careful about throwing your garbage in the belonging bin. Bulky waste items can be collected by the local garbage contractor upon arrangement with the municipality. This may be provided free of charge.
Guidelines for recycling can be found on the website of the municipality’s garbage contractor. Here is a guide to street recycling for the city of Rome (http://www.amaroma.it/images/multilingue/10x21_6ante_(A3)_EN_lowres.pdf).
Further links & reading
Family & children
- Relations before marriage
In Italian society, it is usual to meet the person and get in a relationship before the marriage. You usually do not get married immediately. Everyone has the right to choose the person to date or to keep seeing. Nobody has the right to impose it to you.
- Marriage and family
Once you get married, you will make a family. Traditionally, family in Italy constitutes of man, woman and their children. Many couples live together and have children before they get married, some also choose not to marry at all. If they live together as a couple for a long time they have the majority of rights as married couples. Two women or two men can form a civil union, which means their relationship is legally recognized and in rights equal to the marriage of men and women. However, same sex couples can adopt children only if it is a child of their partner.
Wedding can be civil and religious. For a wedding to be valid, it must be performed by a registered and approved celebrant. This can be a state appointed registrar or a priest and other religious officials with the right to solemnise marriages. A civil marriage is a ceremony that is unconnected to any religion. If the wedding is a religious ceremony performed by a celebrant who does not have the right to solemnise marriages (e.g. imam), the marriage is not official in the eyes of the law. It is possible to have only religious and only civil marriage because they are both official.
In Italy, you can only be married to one person at a time. To marry, both woman and man have to be older than 18. Exceptionally, person not younger than 16 can marry with the prior permission of a Court for minors. Marriage between blood relatives is not possible.
Italian law also forbids forced marriage. This means that no one can force anyone else to marry. Everyone has the right to decide whom he or she want to marry. You always have the right to say no to getting married.
- Equality of spouses
A man and a woman have equal rights and responsibilities. A woman and a man are both allowed to work if they want to and choose what kind of work they do. They decide where they want to live together, if they want to have children or not and how many children they would like to have. They have to equally take care of their children and household. All family members have to be respected, should help each other and support each other.
- Being a parent in a new country
Coming to a new country, especially for those who are forced to move, can be difficult both for parents and children. Parents might be faced with cultural norms, customs and legal obligations regarding parenting that are different from what they are used to and the ways they were brought up as children.
Sometimes, children find it easier to integrate into the new community than their parents. Children naturally learn the language quicker especially if they go to school and spend time with their peers. This can lead to changing roles in the family and placing too many responsibilities on the child. It is important for parents to stay supportive to the development of the child and realization of their potentials. This include allowing the child to pursue its own interests.
- Rights of a child
In Italy, the main document in the area of children’s rights is Convention on the Rights of the Child (http://www.unhcr.org/protection/children/50f941fe9/united-nations-convention-rights-child-crc.html).
Every person under 18 years of age is considered a child. Every child is equal and has equal rights – it does not matter if the child has a mother and/or a father or not, or if parents of the child are married or not. Children you adopt are equal to your biological children. Male children and female children are equal and should be treated equally.
You should NEVER leave your child under the age of 7 without a care of a person that is at least 16 years old. This includes leaving your child alone at your house.
Children also have other rights:
- to get and share information;
- to go to school;
- to relax and play and to join cultural,
- artistic and other recreational activities;
- to think and believe what they want and to practise their religion, as long as they are not stopping other people from enjoying their rights;
- a right to privacy;
- to meet together and to join groups and organisations according to their interests and appropriate to their age.
- Children have the right to good quality health care and to get help from the government if they are poor or in need.
- Children who have any kind of disability have the right to special care and support.
- Children have the right to be protected from all forms of sexual exploitation and abuse.
- They have the right to live with their parent(s), unless living with the parents is dangerous for the child.
- Children whose parents do not live together have the right to stay in contact with both parents, unless this might hurt the child.
If you are a person with international protection and you are separated from your family (from your parents and brothers/sisters (child) or your children (adult), you have the right to family reunification – your family members have the right to come and live with you.
- Prohibition of violence against children & possible consequences
Children have the right to be protected from being hurt and mistreated, physically or mentally. It is forbidden for parents to hurt or mistreat the child in any way. Any form of discipline involving violence is forbidden by the law. Beating, hurting or mistreating child in other way can be punished by financial fine or with imprisonment.
If parents do not meet children’s existential, emotional and social needs, they will be warned about their parental mistakes by the Centre for Social Work. If they decide that parents need help with upbringing of their child, they will provide professional assistance. In that case, a professional might come to your house according to the agreement and give you advice and support.
If the child’s life or health are seriously in danger, the social services might temporarily place him/her outside the family. The child will then be provided with care in special and safe accommodation or foster family until the risk or the problem is resolved. If children are severely or continuously mistreated and/or neglected, the court can decide to restrict parental rights or take away parental rights completely.
The Center for Social Work is in charge of protection of rights of the child.
Adolescents and children in need can call 1.96.96 to express their concerns. This is a toll-free and 24 hours a day service established and managed by the association S.O.S. Telefono Azzuro.. (http://english.azzurro.it/)
- Divorce; custody over children
A man or a woman can ask for a divorce if they do not want, for whatever reasons, to stay married any longer. Divorce can happen if one or both persons want to end the marriage. The divorce is done in the Municipality if the consensus has been reached between the spouses or in the Court. You do not have to be accompanied by a lawyer.
For spouses who encounter issues or who want to get divorced and have underage children together can get free counselling in Center for Social Work or Family Planning centers (http://www.salute.gov.it/portale/temi/p2_6.jsp?id=1933&area=saluteBambino&menu=assistenza ). The spouses should try to agree on Plan for Joint Parental Care before going to the judge. The judge will draw up the separation plan. This Plan defines where children will live after divorce, time they will spend with each of the parents, how important decision in the interest of the child will be made, alimony and other issues parents consider important.
Usually after the divorce, a man and a woman do not live together anymore. However, even if they do not live together, both parents have to continue taking care of the children they have together. Each parent has the right and obligation to spend time and create emotional relationships with their children.
Child custody means that the legal guardians, usually the parents, have legal responsibility for the child. If a child does not have parents or parents lose their parental rights, the state appoints another adult person as legal guardian. Parents or other persons who are legal guardians have the right and obligation to care after the child, make decision and act in the best interest of the child. The law states that children must have legal guardians until they are 18 years old. If your child continues studying after the age of 18, you have to support him until he or she finishes school. If parents are divorced, this is usually the obligation of both parents.
The best option is that parents that divorce agree on custody over children. If they cannot agree, the court will decide on the custody and which parent the child will live with. A parent who does not live with the child any longer, will have to financially provide for the child. If parents cannot agree about financing the livelihood of the child or where the child will live, it will be defined by the court during divorce.
- Where to get help and support regarding family and parenting issues
It is quite common and preferable to seek help of professionals if you have doubts and difficulties regarding family and parenting issues. Help and support can be provided by social workers, psychologists, school counsellors and other professions. If your child goes to kindergarten or school, the easiest way is to talk privately with counsellors or teachers there. They will refer you to other services if needed. You can also contact the social worker in the Centre for Social Work and in the Family Planning Centre who will inform and refer you to appropriate service. There are many other providers of help and support, such as counselling services in non-profit organizations, where you can schedule and appointment and get help and support free of charge and without referral.
Family Planning centres (http://www.salute.gov.it/portale/temi/p2_6.jsp?id=1933&area=saluteBambino&menu=assistenza)
Centres for Family in different regions
Family Observatory: http://www.osservatoriofamiglia.it/
Union of Family planning Associations Pescara: http://www.ucipempescara.org/
Organisation that offer help to children: http://www.unicef.it/default.aspx.htm?PH=3
Protection against violence
Violence is prohibited by Italian Constitution which states that any type of physical and moral violence against people (Article 3), discrimination, hatred or violence for racial, ethnic, national or religious reasons (law n.205) shall be prohibited and punishable by law. Italy also ratified Istanbul convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence in 2013, which provides highest level of protection of women regardless of their citizenship status. Unfortunately, violence is widely spread in Italy, but most forms of violence are punishable.
Violence against women is recognized as a form of violation of human rights and discrimination against women. It is unfortunately a very present and serious problem in Italy. Domestic violence or family violence is prohibited by several laws but there is also a special law n.93/2013 against Domestic Violence. Family violence includes:
- any use of physical force or psychological pressure;
- causing feelings of fear;
- forced marriage
- physical attack regardless of whether or not it results in physical injury,
- verbal assaults, insults, cursing, name-calling and other forms of severe disturbance;
- sexual harassment;
- illegal isolation or restriction of the freedom of movement or communication with third persons;
- damage or destruction of property or attempts to do so..
Victim can denounce the violence and can be accommodated in a safe house. In the case of domestic violence, the victims of abuse have the right to a free lawyer sponsored by the state. Other interventions consist of the protection of victims of ill-treatment and domestic violence, training on listening techniques and approach to victims, risk assessment and identification of protection measures, courses on domestic violence and stalking.
Where to ask for help?
For any form of violence, you can contact police or human rights organisations:
Fire Fighters: 115
Family or domestic violence.
Call Centre Centro Antiviolenza– free of charge phone : 1522 (24/7) puts you in contact with the closest Anti Violence Centre.
Association of women lawyers https://www.telefonorosa.it/ that in several cities of Italy offer free of charge legal help, psychosocial counseling, counseling in the case of trauma.
Women’s network against violence: https://www.direcontrolaviolenza.it/i-centri-antiviolenza/
Association Donne di Benin city Palermo: https://donnedibenincitypalermo.wordpress.com/
Hate crime is a crime committed based on differences in race, skin colour, religious beliefs, national or ethnic origin, gender, disability, sexual orientation or gender identity. Hate speech is speech that attacks a person or group on the basis of their characteristics. Both hate speech and crime are prohibited and punishable by the Italian Criminal Code (Article 415 (https://www.brocardi.it/codice-penale/libro-secondo/titolo-v/art415.html) ). Discrimination by public istitutions can be reported to some of the non-governmental organisations that work on human rights protection or to a lawyer.
Amnesty international: https://www.amnesty.org/en/
Human Rights Watch: https://www.hrw.org/
Legal Clinic for Human Rights (Palermo): https://www.facebook.com/CLEDU-1663643247204597/
Avvocato di strada: http://www.avvocatodistrada.it/sedi-locali/
Italian Coordination of Services against Mistreatment and Child Abuse: http://cismai.it/
Further information & links
Contracts and binding agreement
A contract is a binding agreement on certain rights and duties of both contract partners.
Contracts can be made in a written form or orally. Although oral contracts are respected, it is advisable to agree on a written contract – also depending on the issue. Oral contracts are widespread on daily issues.
Written contracts are common for instance for: mobile phone, rent of room/flat, electricity, heating, employment, service, loans (for loans see chapter 10 –insert link). In the case a contract is written the both sides who sign it are protected by law, this is not the case for oral contracts.
Before signing a contract, it is advisable to compare different providers, as often there is more than one company offering for example electricity.
The extent of the rights and duties depend on the age of the person agreeing on a contract. As men and women have the same rights, both are allowed to agree on contracts in equal measures. The contractual capability of a person is the essential prerequisite. Between the age of 14 – 18 a person has limited legal capacity, above the age of 18 a person has full legal capacity.
Limited contractual capability (age 14-18) means that you have means of things that were given to you (for example pocket money, income). You are allowed to work as far as your wellbeing or attending school is not at risk. Full contractual capability (above age 18) means that you are entitled to conclude any business and contracts.
IMPORTANT: You can access to contract if you have a residence permit in Italy.
Regarding employment most contracts underlie the collective agreement protection which is widespread in Italy. This means the contract ensures that all employees earn at least the minimum wage and ensures labour rights. It is negotiated by the Union.
Collective agreements do not take into account every detail. They refer to a mix of conditions of company rules and the law.
- You as a new employee must be given a copy of the collective
- Usually the work contract is explained to the new employee.
- You can ask short period of reflection before you sign the contract.
- After you sign, a binding contract is stipulated with the employer.
- Among other things, collective agreements cover: voluntary social security payments, remuneration according to tariffs, working hours, reimbursement of travel expenses and compensation for transfer to a new location.
There are various other kinds of contracts (http://www.farmalavoro.it/contratti-di-lavoro) for employment depending on the service.
In principle, a work contract should always be written. Normally verbal agreements are invalid and are difficult to prove. For both parties, written contracts create unquestionable clarity and proof.
If the conditions of your contract get changed to your detriment, if you are discriminated at your workplace and for any other doubt you can contact some of the syndicates for help:
Service for consumer rights protection
There are services providing help for consumers offering advice in many fields regarding consumerism (consumer rights, juridical advice, etc):
The big syndicates offer this service also: http://www.adiconsum.it/.
Further links & info:
Employment & labour law in Italy: https://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=a6bcddcf-32a5-4f7e-b879-31c3111b44ef
List of syndicates in Italy: https://www.soldioggi.it/elenco-dei-sindacati-in-italia-9290.html
Online magazine offering advice about consumerism: https://www.guidaconsumatore.com/
Money and finances
In Italy for receipt of money (from your employer for example), you will need to open a bank account. There are many different banks to choose from, that offer similar types of services. The price of services may vary greatly, so it is recommended that you first check different providers and choose your bank according to your needs.
Documents to provide:
If you are granted asylum or subsidiary protection or asylum seeker you need to provide an identification document (ID card, valid passport) and an address in Italy where the bank can send you communications to open a bank account. You will be asked to sign a contract in the bank. Different banks in Italy have different policies when it comes to opening bank accounts to foreigners. The best would be to ask advice where the conditions are the best.
There are also different bank cards. Most common are debit cards for payments and withdrawing the money at the bank or ATMs. When you open the account, the bank will issue this card to you free of charge. There are also various credit cards, which allow you to buy things or pay for services on credit (paying in monthly instalments). You need to be very careful and informed about using credit cards, to avoid paying much more then you wish and can afford. Prepaid card or store-valued card (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stored-value_card) are also used in Italy.
International bank transfers (sending and receiving money)
There are three main instruments for transferring money: post offices, banks and money transfers. The last one is the most used one with Money Transfer (http://moneygram.it/) and Western Union (https://www.wikihow.com/Transfer-Money-with-Western-Union). List of the Western Union locations in Palemo (https://locations.westernunion.com/search/italy/sicily/palermo).
In Italy, the official currency is Euro (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Euro). The most common way of payment is in cash or by bankcard. For services, you use like electricity, gas, telecommunication (land phone, mobile phone, TV), water and other utilities, the service provider will send payment orders to your address. You can pay them in the bank or post office. You can also pay the bills through e-banking that you can order with opening a bank account. For the bills, you have to pay every month; you can use long-term payment order, which means it will be automatically paid from your bank account every month. Commissions for the payment can vary considerably (most expensive being at the bank and post offices).
You must pay your bills regularly. The date of payment is indicated on each bill and a service provider can charge you the late payment interest. If you do not pay your bills, for example for electricity, the service provider will disconnect it, and you will have to pay back costs as well as any costs associated with disconnection and later re-connection of the electricity.
With inattentive money handling and non-payment of your bills and other expenses, you can quickly fall into debt. It is advisable to learn how to manage your money so that you have control over spending. It would be good if you can devote some of your income to saving each month.
Be careful when borrowing money, particularly large amounts, as you may not be able to repay them and you can only accumulate additional debts. If you do not repay debts in a time, the creditor or the state can automatically take certain amount of revenue from your bank account. If you cannot avoid taking loans or credits, make sure you deal with financial institutions accredited by the state. Also, be careful you understand all the conditions.
There are some examples of good practices with banks that have created special designed for migrants and refugees: https://www.bancaetica.it/blog/laccesso-ai-servizi-bancari-per-rifugiati-immigrati-nel-progetto-re-lab
If you need help or you have questions about how to open a bank account you can contact any service working with immigrants like:
Further links & information
Check the best bank account for your needs: http://www.migliorcontocorrente.org/stranieri.htm
Documents required to open a bank account: https://www.confrontaconti.it/guide-e-strumenti/domande-frequenti/quali-documenti-si-devono-presentare-per-aprire-un-conto-corrente.aspx
What is typically Italian
The Italian way (https://internationalliving.com/countries/italy/) of living has been influenced by the history and culture of the country. Italians are open, convivial and welcoming people. They love to relax, celebrate in company of their beloved ones. Festivities often take place at the table, at home or at a restaurant enjoying the traditions of Italian cuisine and enjoying good wine, while chatting with relatives and friends. In short, this is what the expression la dolce vita would refer to – living your life without too much haste and enjoying the moments with people you like, eating well and drinking well.
Food is a very significant aspect of the Italian way of life. The custom that the whole family meets for Sunday lunch is still very present. There are even dishes that are rather prepared for Sunday lunch than for other days (like pasta al forno or parmigiana).
Italian style (https://theitaliancommunity.co.uk/blog/lifestyle-eventi/italian-style/) and Italian fashion are famous in the world. However, the Italian habit to dress well does not mean dressing up extraordinary, it is more about caring about your appearance.
Italians are very talkative and expressive. The use of gestures to express and emphasize the meaning of their words is also quite characteristic for Italian people. Taken by the conversation the corporal distance tends to disappear and the conversations can become very loud.
- Italy has only been a country for 157 years.
- In 1827 the first novel in Italian was written by Alessandro Manzoni’s I Promessi Sposi (The Betrothed).
- Double consonants are frequent in Italian. Some words have as many as four pairs of consonants, ‘appallottolare’(to reduce into balls) and ‘disseppellire‘ (to dig up).
- The region of Liguria is known as ‘Riviera of flowers’. (http://www.bronsheimmusic.com/brassband-bladmuziek-partituren/originele-werken/riviera-dei-fiori-brassband.html?SID=p68k55bj79vssus214vkpkbv57&___store=bronsheim_en&___from_store=default )
- Sicily (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sicily) has the largest opera house (https://www.balarm.it/eventi/itinerari-culturali-e-visite-turistiche/teatro-massimo-due-giorni-di-visite-guidate-dagli-studenti-palermitani-67181) in Italy – the famous Teatro Massimo in Palermo is the third biggest opera house in Europe.
- The smallest country in the world is the Vatican City (https://www.infoplease.com/country/vatican-city-holy-see) , in Rome.
- Pizza was invented in Naples in 1860.
- The first thermometer was made by the Italian inventor Santorio Santorio in 1612.
- Palermo (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palermo) is one of the cities famous for its tasty and most varied street food. Some local specialties are: Arancine (https://la.repubblica.it/cucina/ricetta/arancine-siciliane-ricetta-originale/24619/ rice balls served with meat), Panelle (https://www.cookingwithnonna.com/italian-cuisine/panelle-siciliane.html smashed chickpeas eaten with bread), Sfincione (https://la.repubblica.it/cucina/ricetta/sfincione-palermitano/53114/ a local version of pizza), Stigghiola ( https://www.ricettegourmet.com/piatti-tipici-italiani/piatti-tipici-siciliani/stigghiola/ sheep’s intestines).
- Etna is the tallest active volcano in Europe (3,000 m) and is located in Sicily near Catania.
Further information & links
Fun facts about Italy: https://www.roughguides.com/article/23-fun-facts-about-italy/
What is International protection?
International protection (https://ec.europa.eu/home-affairs/content/international-protection-0_en) is recognized to persons who are obliged to flee from their countries of origin owing to well-founded fear of being persecuted or of undergoing serious damage.
Types of international protection
There are three types of protection: status of refugee, subsidiary protection and humanitarian protection.
- The status of refugee (https://ec.europa.eu/home-affairs/content/refugee-0_en)in Italy is defined according to the Geneva Convention (1951):
“A refugee is someone who has been forced to flee his or her country because of persecution (https://ec.europa.eu/home-affairs/content/well-founded-fear-persecution_en), war, or violence. A refugee has a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group. Most likely, they cannot return home or are afraid to do so. War and ethnic, tribal and religious violence are leading causes of refugees fleeing their countries.” (UN)
- Subsidiary protection (https://ec.europa.eu/home-affairs/content/subsidiary-protection-0_en) is recognised to third country nationals or stateless persons who do not qualify as refugees but who have well-founded reasons to believe that they would run the actual risk of undergoing serious damage (death, torture, inhuman treatment).
- Humanitarian protection (https://ec.europa.eu/home-affairs/content/humanitarian-protection-0_en) in the absence of grounds for international protection, the Police (Questura) can grant the asylum seeker a permit for humanitarian reasons whenever the Local Commission finds there are “serious justifications of a humanitarian nature”(Resettlement observatory). The permit lasts one year, is renewable and permits the person to work.
A person can request International protection because he is fleeing persecution, torture or war, even if he/she entered Italy illegally and is without documents. The applicant will have to justify in the application the circumstances of persecution or serious harm that have motivated the escape.
Procedure for international protection and time frame
The procedure for international protection has four steps (https://ec.europa.eu/home-affairs/content/application-international-protection_en):
- Presentation of the request for the international protection
- Formalisation of the international protection request fill in C3 module
- The interview with the Commission
- Decision of the Commission
- Appeal to the Court in case of denial
Logging the application (http://www.meltingpot.org/Practical-instructions-The-procedure-for-the-recognition-of.html#.Wx-R6dUzbIW)
There is no official time limit to file the application, but it has to be submitted personally to the Border police or to Police Department ‐ Police Immigration Office (Questura). The applicant must provide documentation to justify the application (newspaper articles, photos, official documents such as complaints or medical reports). The lack of documentation or the time of application (after 8 days from entering Italy) cannot be the reasons for the rejection of the application.
If a person has entered Italy without a visa, the police will carry out the identification (photo, fingerprints). Then the application is sent to the body called Territorial Commission that deliberates on the acceptance of the request for international protection. While waiting for the answer the applicant can stay in Italy and can be accomodated in government hosting center or in SPRAR centers.
Procedure of examination
The hearing should take place within 30 days from the submission of the application and the Commission should make a decision in the next three days. However, on the ground it take much longer since the hearings take place only after several months. You have the right on the interpreter during the procedure.
The decision has to be communicated to you in written form with information about the rights, duties, timing and means to complete the application. The answer can be:
- recognized international protection- refugee status
- refused refugee status, but given subsidiary protection
- refused refugee status, but given humanitarian protection
- application rejected as unfounded (https://ec.europa.eu/home-affairs/content/rejected-applicant-international-protection_en)
- inacceptable application (already applied in another EU country) (https://ec.europa.eu/home-affairs/content/inadmissible-application-international-protection_en)
In the case of rejection, there is the possibility of re-exam, but exclusively when there are new documents previously not available to provide. Otherwise, you can present an appeal (https://ec.europa.eu/home-affairs/content/right-appeal_en) to the court within 30 days from the date of communication of the decision of the Territorial Commission (for detained applicants it is 15 days) and it stops the expulsion procedure (https://ec.europa.eu/home-affairs/content/expulsion-0_en). You will receive a temporary permit of stay.
Rights and responsibilities of asylum seekers
- Asylum seeker has the right to work (https://ec.europa.eu/home-affairs/content/work-permit-0_en) once 60 days from the application request have passed.
- You have the right to medical assistance as long as your residence permit (https://ec.europa.eu/home-affairs/content/residence-permit-0_en) is valid (on the condition you registered in the National Health Service).
- You have the right to have an interpreter during the application procedure and a legal representative.
- When it comes to your responsibilities, they include the respect of the Italian law and regulations as well as maintenance of public order.
- Moreover, you have the duty to cooperate with the official institutions (tribunal, police).
Detention (https://ec.europa.eu/home-affairs/content/detention-0_en) – an applicant can be detained in the CIE center in the case one has committed a crime, has already been sentenced or has the expulsion order after his asylum application has been rejected.
Further information & links
International protection: https://canestrinilex.com/en/readings/international-protection-in-italy-asylum-humanitarian-assistance/
The Italian Asylum system: http://www.resettlement-observatory.eu/documents/italy/outputs/countryprofile/italycountryprofile.pdf
Temporary protection: https://ec.europa.eu/home-affairs/what-we-do/policies/asylum/temporary-protection_en
What is relocation
Relocation is a EU solidarity programme that involves relocating individuals in need of protection from one-member state of the European Union to another EU member state. The programme aims to relieve pressure on individual member states, particularly those located at the external borders of the EU. The basis for relocation programmes are joint decisions of European Union member states.
Which current relocation programmes exist in the EU?
Because of the increase in the immigration of people seeking protection within the European Union, in 2015 two new relocation programmes were agreed upon. In May 2015 a relocation programme for 40,000 individuals from Italy and Greece was passed by the European Union. This was followed by a further relocation programme for 120,000 people seeking protection in September 2015. Under these resolutions, a total of 160,000 individuals from Greece, Italy, and Hungary were planned to be admitted by various EU countries within 2 years. Following the resolutions, Hungary refused to participate in the relocation programme so the relocations only come from Italy and Greece. The number of relocated persons from Italy for the period 2015-2017 was around 10 000.
The Dublin Unit of the Department of Civil Liberties and Immigration (http://www.libertaciviliimmigrazione.dlci.interno.gov.it/it/relocation) is responsible for the procedure of relocation, acting in close cooperation with European Asylum Support Office (EASO) (https://www.easo.europa.eu/easo-matching-tool) and liaison officers seconded from the relocation countries. Operational support to Italy was launched since mid-September 2015. The EASO operating office in Rome has recently set up a ‘Relocation Hotline’, which can be contacted on +39 345 405 73 16 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is the legal basis of the current relocation program?
The legal basis is the decisions of the EU Commission for the redistribution of refugees in “countries of arrival” (Italy and Greece) to other member states and the decisions of the Ministry of Interior of Italy. Persons that leave Italy via a relocation program are legally treated as asylum seekers in other countries.
How does the current relocation programme work?
The selection of protection-seeking individuals in the currently ongoing relocation programme is based on proposals by national offices in Italy and Greece, with the support of staff of the EUROPEAN ASYLUM SUPPORT OFFICE/ EASO (link: https://www.easo.europa.eu/). The Ministry of the interior of other member states grants approval for admission. Relocation involves individuals who have already applied for asylum in Greece or Italy and among whom a high protection rate of at least 75% is expected. People seeking protection who have already applied for asylum in another European country are not considered for the relocation programme by the national offices.
The individuals admitted to a specific member state via relocation must complete the full asylum procedure after arrival from Italy. They are first registered in the national reception centre. After registration, the process is the same as for all asylum seekers including an application for asylum and later an interview.
While you are still in the transit country/Before arriving in country of relocation
Who is responsible on site
- National asylum authorities
- European Asylum Support Office
- International Organisation for Migration
What are the steps?
The National asylum authorities [link] in Greece and Italy select candidates for relocation with the support of the European Asylum Support Office [email@example.com]. The applicants are transferred to a regional “hub” in the shortest possible time. In these specific hubs, 5 EASO experts and 3 cultural mediators provide information on relocation. The matchmaking between the applicant and the possible relocation country is conducted with the support of 10 EASO (European asylum support office) experts and liaison officers and consists of examining the profiles of people to be relocated (in terms of academic qualifications, professional qualifications, languages spoken, etc.) and of combining such information with the offers made available from the various Member States.
It then proposes them to the Ministry of the interior of a particular member state. As soon as a particular country grants approval for admission (there have to be places available and the integration prospects of the asylum seeker need to be favourable), IOM [http://www.italy.iom.int/it/contatti] is involved and gets the final list with beneficiaries that have been selected for relocation and who have accepted the decision.
IOM then starts implementing important pre-departure activities to ensure the beneficiaries are well informed about the process and can travel in safety and dignity.
A pre-departure health assessment and a fit-to-travel check before departure, ensure that the beneficiaries’ health needs are assessed, relevant information is shared with the Member State of Relocation, public health concerns are addressed and everyone can travel in safety and dignity.
IOM also provides pre-departure orientation sessions, sharing key information about the Member State of Relocation. This is a valuable opportunity to give basic information on the country they will be relocated to, manage expectations and inform the beneficiaries of initial post arrival reception and early integration assistance.
Regarding the journey itself, IOM manages the movements, conducts a pre-departure embarkation session during which the beneficiaries are informed about the practical details of the travel, provides medical or operational escorts on the flight if necessary, supports groups in transit where needed and welcomes and receives the beneficiaries upon arrival at the airport.
How long does it take?
If it is decided that you are eligible for relocation, the transfer should be completed as quickly as possible (after 2 months). In reality, the delays for the relocation from Italy are much longer. The fact that testifies about the lengthy procedure on the ground is that only 30% of planned number of people has been relocated.
IOM on relocation: http://www.italy.iom.int/it/aree-di-attivit%C3%A0/relocation-e-resettlement
The procedure of relocation: https://www.unhcr.it/risorse/carta-di-roma/fact-checking/relocation-programma-la-redistribuzione-richiedenti-asilo-stenta-decollare; http://www.asylumineurope.org/reports/country/italy/asylum-procedure/relocation
Relocation of unaccompanied children: http://www.lavoro.gov.it/documenti-e-norme/studi-e-statistiche/Documents/Report%20di%20monitoraggio%20i%20minori%20stranieri%20non%20accompagnati%20(MSNA)%20in%20Italia,%20dicembre%202017/Report-di-monitoraggio-MSNA-31-dicembre-2017.pdf
What is resettlement?
Resettlement (http://www.unhcr.org/information-on-unhcr-resettlement.html) is a tool/way to protect particularly vulnerable refugees. You are transferred from a first host country, which you have fled to from war, conflict or persecution, to a third country that offers you admission and refugee protection. UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, has developed specific criteria for the selection of refugees considered for resettlement. Third country provide physical and legal protection to refugees, including access to civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights similar to that granted to their own citizens. They should also enable refugees to become naturalised citizens.
Comment for Italy:
Refugee protection in Italy doesn’t mean permanent settlement. After five years of stay authorities will check if the reasons on which you have been granted asylum still apply. If they do, you get a residence permit, if not, the refugee status will end and no further residence permit is issued and you have to leave Italy.
Background/if space permits:
Most refugees look for protection in immediate neighbouring countries, (only a small percentage ever leaves to distant countries of the European Union to seek asylum there) but reliable assistance and long-term prospects are not always guaranteed there.
Legal requirements for resettlement
What are the criteria for admission to resettlement?
UNHCR has developed eight criteria for the selection of refugees to be considered for resettlement, the so called “UNHCR Resettlement Submission Categories”. In general, refugees must first be registered and recognized by UNHCR. According to UNHCR, individuals who meet at least one of the following criteria are considered for resettlement:
- Legal and physical protection needs
- Survivors of violence and torture
- Medical needs
- Women at risk
- Family reunification
- Children and adolescents
- Elderly refugees
- Lack of local integration prospect
Background/if space permits:
UNHCR assesses individual resettlement need with these criteria and then suggests which people should be selected. The final decision about the admission of a person is, however, the responsibility of the receiving country. Many countries have additional national admission criteria that are not the same as those of UNHCR.
How does the resettlement procedure work?
The selection and transfer of a refugee as part of a resettlement process is a complex process involving various international and national actors
Resettlement procedure consists of 6 steps:
Identification> Selection> Pre-departure assistance> Travel> Reception> Integration
In order to benefit from a resettlement procedure, the person concerned must be recognized as a refugee by UNHCR.
Additionally, there has to exist a special degree of vulnerability [Link to legal requirements for resettlement].
This is the case, for example, where the individuals concerned are children, if they have a disability, illness or if they are threatened by serious human rights violations in the first country of refuge.
UNHCR has developed eight resettlement criteria with which it assesses individual resettlement needs and then suggests which people should be selected:
- If at least one of these criteria is met and there is no lasting solution for the person in the country of origin or the first country of refuge, the UNHCR proposes the person to a state for resettlement.
- This resettlement application is based on the approval of the (concerned) refugee.
- The final decision about the admission of a person is, however, the responsibility of the receiving country.
- Many countries have additional national admission criteria that do not coincide with those of UNHCR.
If a state agrees to admission, the necessary formalities are set for departure and the refugees are prepared for departure. Upon arrival, the host state grants the refugees prospects of temporary residence (for five years at least in Italy) and refugee protection.
While you are still in the first host country
UNHCR assesses individual resettlement need of refugees with its eight resettlement criteria [link to legal requirements above in point 1] and then suggests refugees to the Italian government. You can be resettled through the general program of resettlement with UNHCR or with another program of an NGO.
- Refugees cannot apply for the program themselves. In order to access this program you should contact IOM in the first host country. Under the Italian resettlement programme, IOM Italy (http://www.italy.iom.int/it/contatti) is responsible for the provision of support services, including medical screening, cultural orientation activities, language training and transfers to Italy. All activities are carried out in close cooperation with the Ministry of Interior, EASO, UNHCR and the staff of the accommodation centres.
- As a part of the project Humanitarian corridors of the Community of Sant’ Egido (http://archive.santegidio.org/pageID/11676/langID/it/Corridoi-Umanitari-per-i-profughi.html) you can also get involved in resettlement procedure. The associations involved in the project send volunteers on the spot. They make direct contact with the refugees in the countries involved in the project; they draw up a list of potential beneficiaries to be forwarded to the Italian consular authorities, which after verification by the Ministry of the Interior issue humanitarian visas with Limited Territorial Validity, valid only for Italy. Once they have arrived in Italy legally and safely, refugees will be able to apply for asylum.
UNHCR, the International Organization for Migration, conducts cultural orientation trainings before departure and will organise your trip to Italy/the receiving country.
The final decision about the admission of a person is, however, the responsibility of the authorities of the receiving/host country/Italy.
When you move to Italy
Once you arrive in Italy, you will follow the same procedure as any asylum seeker.
In Italy in charge of reception and integration are different NGOs that made an accord with the Italian Ministry of the Interior:
Community of Sant’ Egido with the project Humanitarian corridors is one of them: http://archive.santegidio.org/pageID/11676/langID/it/Corridoi-Umanitari-per-i-profughi.html. This initiative was launched at no cost to the State: the NGOs cover travelling and first reception expenses. So far the initiative has raised 1 million euros.
Once you have arrived in Italy, you are received at the expense of these associations in structures or houses.
Now you are able to apply for asylum. After a first interview, you will be granted refugee status. This entitles you to a stay of five years in Italy. Your data will be recorded and a picture of you and your family will be taken. In addition, medical examinations are carried out. The first interview should take place within 30 days from the submission of the application and the Commission should make a decision in the next three days (however the procedure in Italy tends to last longer).
You will receive your residence permit for people entitled to asylum. This will be your identity document.
For further information, please refer to International Protection chapter.
Further links & info:
Information for different groups
Women and girls – refugees, especially if they are alone, face more risks. That is why you have the right to have your specific needs addressed when you are asylum seekers as well as when you are granted international protection.
Women and girls are considered in greater risk of various forms of violence just because they are females. This include physical and sexual violence against women, domestic violence, forced marriage, “honour” crimes, trafficking for prostitution or forced labour and other forms of persecution and violence. These are considered as reasons for granting international protection to women and girls in Italy.
Women and girls have the right to submit an individual asylum application when family members accompany you. This means that your request will be treated and examined separately of request of family members accompanying you. You are entitled to be interviewed by female staff when your asylum request is examined. You should also be provided with women interpreters; however, this might not always be possible in Italy because of the lack of qualified interpreters for many languages of refugees, other than European.
In reception centres and communities, women and girls are accommodated separately from men and boys, except when you want to be accommodated with your families. Private bathing and sanitation facilities should be provided for women and girls in reception centres.
Pregnant women and women who gave birth have the right on same maternal health care services as Italian nationals, free of charge, whether you are asylum seekers or granted international protection. This include regular health exams, medications if needed and counselling during pregnancy, hospital care and assistance during and after childbirth.
Other women and girls have health care rights depending are you asylum seekers or persons with granted international protection. However, women and girls have usually available health care services regarding their reproductive health (women health) irrespective of their status.
If you are a victim of domestic violence (violence committed by the member of your family) you have the right to be specially protected. Your right is to be separated from perpetrator and protected by the police if necessary, and placed in special shelter for women and children – victims of violence. Where you are placed must be kept a secret from those who may hurt you. You are entitled to medical, legal and psychological help.
If you – victim of domestic violence are asylum seeker, your application will be examined separately if you want to. If you are already granted asylum or you have temporary residence in Italy, you can get renewal of the residency independently of family member (husband or partner). This applies also to women and girls who got their temporary residence as a result of family unification.
Associations where to ask for help:
Call Centre Centro Antiviolenza– free of charge phone: 1522 (24/7) puts you in contact with the closest Anti Violence Centre.
Ask for legal advice: https://www.sites.google.com/site/bibliotecadelledonne/
Association of women lawyers https://www.telefonorosa.it/ that in several cities of Italy offer free of charge legal help, psychosocial counselling, counselling in the case of trauma.
Le Onde Palermo : http://www.leonde.org/index.php
Women’s network against violence: https://www.direcontrolaviolenza.it/i-centri-antiviolenza/
Association Donne di Benin city Palermo: https://donnedibenincitypalermo.wordpress.com/
If a woman or a girl is a victim of trafficking in human beings, which means she is exploited, by tricking or forcing, for prostitution, forced labour or other activities she does not want to be involved in, she has the right to be specially protected. Whether she is asylum seeker, refugee or has residence, as soon as she is recognized as victim of trafficking she must be provided protection, safe place to be accommodated, medical, psychological and legal help. She will also be informed and counselled on her rights regarding temporary residence, legal prosecution of perpetrators and other rights that constitute the assistance and protection program for victims of trafficking.
If you are a victim of trafficking, you are not considered responsible for the things you were forced to do.
Girls have the right on education, according to their wishes and circumstances. Elementary education is mandatory and girls are enrolled in schools regardless of their status. They can also choose to go to secondary school both as asylum seekers and as refugees or temporary residents. Education on university is also available for young women refugees, but enrolment is connected with fulfilling certain criteria.
Children & youth
Every person under the 18 years is considered a child, according to the Italian law. Children are recognized as vulnerable group in asylum and migration and have the right to be specially protected, even when they are accompanied by adult relatives.
Application for international protection on behalf of a child files the legal guardian. This is usually parent or other person who has legal responsibility for the child. The asylum application of the child is included in the application of child’s parent(s) or legal guardian.
Children who are asylum seekers should not be separated from accompanying parents or relatives. The exception is when there are reasons to suspect that staying with parents or relatives may harm or endanger the child. In such cases, officials in the reception centres should inform specialised child protection services, which will take actions to place the child in safe accommodation.
Children who are staying with family members have the right to be accommodated separately from other adult asylum seekers in reception centres. They have the right to have their special needs, as children, satisfied.
All children until 18 years, including asylum seekers, those granted international protection and temporary residence, have the right on health care same as Italian citizens.
All children have the right on education, including asylum seekers, children granted status and with temporary residence status as a result of family unification. Children – asylum seekers can be enrolled in school under the conditions provided for Italian minors, and at any time of year. If the child doesn’t speak Italian language, he or she is entitled to preparatory language classes.
Elementary school is mandatory in Italy. The child who already started schooling in other country will be assessed before continuation in Italy. This means that sometimes the child will be enrolled in grade bellow its calendar age if school authorities find it necessary.
Secondary school is not mandatory but every child who want has the right to go to secondary school. Children have the right to choose what kind of secondary school they want to go to but that choice may depend on the achievements in elementary school. If you started secondary school you have the right to complete it, even after reaching the age of majority (after turning 18 years).
Preschool children can go to kindergarten (http://www.pratomigranti.it/en/vivere/scuola/nido-infanzia/pagina147.html) if they and their parents or legal guardians want them to. Children who are granted international protection or have temporary residence permit go to regular kindergartens close to the place their live. Preschool children who are placed in reception centres (asylum seekers) have kindergartens or other types of educational and play activities within the centre.
The main institution to protect your rights as a child, with or without parents, is Ombudsman for childhood and adolescence (https://www.crin.org/en/library/organisations/national-authority-children-and-adolescents-italy
Further information & links:
Policies and practices on unaccompanied minors in Italy: http://www.libertaciviliimmigrazione.dlci.interno.gov.it/sites/default/files/allegati/emn_-_accorinti_2014_online.pdf
If you are less than 18 years and there are no adult persons who are your family, relatives or legally responsible for you, you are considered unaccompanied minor. Unaccompanied minors are considered as vulnerable group and have the right to be specially protected. Minors are entitled to obtain a “residence permit for minors” for the sole reason that you are minors (cannot be expelled),17 even in the absence of official documentation and on the basis of their declarations.
On 6 May 2017, a new legislation regarding the “Protection Measures for Unaccompanied Minors” (law n. 47/17) entered into force in Italy. The new law:
– simplifies the procedures for the issue of a residence permit “for minors” to non-asylum seeking unaccompanied minors and a residence permit for employment or study when they turn 18;
– provides that a list of “volunteer guardians” for unaccompanied minors, selected and trained by the Regional Ombudsperson for Children, be established by Juvenile Courts;
– forbids the return of unaccompanied children at the border;
– provides that “assisted and voluntary return” of unaccompanied minors may be decided by a Juvenile Court, when family reunification in the country of origin or a third country is in the child’s best interests, after listening to the child and guardian’s opinion and taking into consideration the results of social assessment of the family situation in the country of origin or third country and the situation of the child in Italy.
In reception centres –you will be accommodated separately from other adult asylum seekers. In Italy you can be accommodated in a community for minors or in a family. Communities for minors are open type institutions, specialized to care for and support children and young people who are for various reasons separated from their families or have difficulties which prevent them to live with their families for a while.
IMPORTANT: You should be informed about the legal procedure and your rights once you arrive in Italy.
You will be appointed a guardian who takes parental responsibility and has the mandate to take important decisions in your best interest. However, you are entitled to be informed and asked about every decision concerning you, including do you want to apply for asylum in Italy. Your guardian has the duty to give you information on your rights, services that are available to you and opportunities you have. In 2017 in Italy was passed a law (https://www.savethechildren.it/blog-notizie/la-legge-la-protezione-e-accoglienza-dei-minori-migranti-%C3%A8-finalmente-realt%C3%A0) that among other things introduces legal guardians for unaccompanied minors (http://www.garanteinfanzia.org/news/minori-stranieri-non-accompagnati-bando-diventare-tutore-volontario). Any private citizen can become a guardian, after having passed a training course he becomes the legal representative ensuring that their rights are recognized: supervises reception conditions, promotes his physical and mental well-being and monitors his education and integration. However, without taking charge of accommodation or financial matters of the minor.
IMPORTANT: According to Italian law, an application for asylum submitted by a minor must be confirmed by its guardian (if the minor has submitted a request before the appointment of the guardian, the Police Headquarters suspends the procedure and informs the Juvenile Court and the Juvenile Office) http://www.libertaciviliimmigrazione.dlci.interno.gov.it/sites/default/files/allegati/emn_-_accorinti_2014_online.pdf
For more information about Legal guardians: https://www.savethechildren.it/diventare-tutore-volontario
You have the right to be re-united with your family, whether your family is in your country of origin or in some other country. In addition, you have the right to be in contact with your family while you are in Italy.
If you decide to apply for asylum, your application has precedence in decision making. It should be presented to the Minors’ Office at the Juvenile Court. The Territorial Commission will examine your request and conduct an interview with you (9 to 12 months after the presentation of the request). Your guardian has the obligation to prepare you for the interviews regarding examination of your asylum application and he should be present during the interview. You have the right to speak in your native language and to have an interpreter.
As an unaccompanied minor (person under 18 years) you have the right on health care in the same scope as Italian national covered with the basic health insurance.
You also have the right to go to school (http://www.integrazionemigranti.gov.it/normativa/procedureitalia/Pagine/Istruzione_formazione.aspx), in accordance with your age and interests. To decide which school grade you will start with, your previous education will be assessed. The additional classes and support in learning Italian language will be provided to you in the Provincial Centres for Adult Education (CPIA) for adult education.
You are entitled to stay in a reception system until 18 years old and a half. When it comes to the communities for minors until you finish your education but no longer than 21 years of age.
This time extension is called Prosieguo amministrativo and it allows you to continue to study and live in the residential community till max 21 years old: http://www.lavoro.gov.it/notizie/Pagine/Legge-sui-minori-stranieri-non-accompagnati.aspx
After that, you will need to find the place to live on your own and from 18 years old you have the right to work. Usually, the staff at social welfare home and other non-governmental organizations supporting children and youth in welfare homes will help you find a job before you have to leave.
As long as you are in Italy and no matter what is your status (did you apply for asylum or not, are you granted international protection) you are entitled to have psychological help, support and guidance if you need it. Your guardian has the obligation to connect you with professionals and organizations who are helping young refugees.
Children and youth who are separated from family or travel without adult family members are considered particularly in danger to become victims of trafficking in human beings. That means smuggling and exploiting children and youth, by force or by blackmail, for forced labour, prostitution, begging or some other criminal activities. The police officers you get in contact with, social workers and your guardian are especially concerned to determine if you are a victim of trafficking and to provide you protection and support if this happened to you.
Who to contact?
Emergency phone number for children in danger: http://www.azzurro.it/emergenza-0
Italian Coordination of Services against Mistreatment and Child Abuse: http://cismai.it/
Help center for minors and families: https://www.caf-onlus.org/
Further information & links:
Policies and practices on unaccompanied minors in Italy: http://www.libertaciviliimmigrazione.dlci.interno.gov.it/sites/default/files/allegati/emn_-_accorinti_2014_online.pdf
Families have the right to be united and stay together. Asylum seeking families are accommodated together in reception centres. All adult family members (over 18 years) apply for asylum separately; under aged family members’ asylum application is included in the application of the parent(s).
Single parents with under aged children are considered vulnerable and should be specially protected. If they are asylum seekers, they should be accommodated in reception centres separately from other adult residents.
If you are granted international protection in Italy and you have family in your country of origin or other country, you have the right to family reunification. Family members who can be re-united with you, according to the Italian law, are:
- Husband or wife if you are married, or partner with whom you are in the relationship which is considered life partnership according to the Italian law
- Yours and your spouse’s or partner’s under aged children and adopted children; children who are adults (over 18 years) can be re-united with you if they are unmarried;
- If you are a child (under 18 years) your parents or legal guardians (persons who have parental rights considering you)
- Your other immediate relatives like elderly parents, with whom you lived in common household and who are dependent on your care.
The person filing for the reunification needs to fulfil certain requirements:
- Have the availability of housing that falls within the minimum parameters provided by the regional law for public housing.
- Have a gross annual income of not less than:
- € 5.818,93 (for 1 person)
- € 8,728.39 for the reunification of 1 dependent family member;
- € 11,637.86 for the reunification of 2 dependant family members;
- 14,547.79 for the reunification of 3 dependant family members;
- € 17,456.79 for the reunification of 4 dependant family members;
Family unification is legal and administrative procedure that can be difficult and last long. It is advisable to consult with the organizations providing legal help and assistance to refugees and migrants to avoid mistakes and pitfalls:
One Stop Shop for Immigration: http://sportelloimmigrazione.it/richiesta-informazioni.html
Sindacate INCA: http://www.inca.it/
Persons with disability
Persons with disabilities are those with long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments. This includes wheelchair users and people with other mobility impairments, blind and deaf people, people with mental health issues – or ‘psychosocial disabilities’ – and people with intellectual disabilities.
Persons with disability are considered particularly vulnerable and have the right on protection and treatment appropriate for their condition. This means that they have the right to be accommodated, while they are asylum seekers, separately from other adult asylum seekers in reception centres. Safety of persons with disability is of particular concern.
In some cases, disability – usually issues of psychological health and intellectual disabilities can prevent the person to make decisions, which are in her/his own best interest. In such cases, it is possible by the law for person’s legal capacity to be restricted. This means that the person is not completely independent to make legally bounding decisions. Such person must have legal guardian who supports and assists in decision making in the best interest of the person with disability. This includes decision regarding applying for asylum.
IMPORTANT: Legal guardian should participate in each stage of the asylum decision process but he/she cannot act instead of the asylum seeker with disability.
As restriction of legal capacity is very delicate issue, if you are or you know person with disability who might need assistance in participating in legal matters, it is advisable to ask for legal help. National Association for the Promotion and Defence of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities http://www.aniepnazionale.it/ in Italy is the main institution for protection of human rights of persons with disabilities. Also, there is a number of associations of persons with disabilities and other non-governmental organizations which can offer advice and assistance:
Fish Onlus http://www.fishonlus.it/
Anffas Onlus http://www.anffas.net/it/chi-siamo/dove-siamo/
ANIE (National Association for the Promotion and Defence of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities): http://www.aniepnazionale.it/
If you are a person with disability you have the right on health care appropriate for your condition, whether you are asylum seeker or granted international protection in Italy.
You have the right on education, depending on your status and age, same as asylum seekers or persons granted asylum without disability. This means that, as asylum seekers, persons with disability have the right on elementary and secondary education, if they are under aged. Persons with disability who are granted asylum have the same rights on education as Italian nationals.
Elementary school is compulsory for at least 10 years and covers the 6-16 age group (hyperlink to education). Children and youth with disabilities have the right to go to secondary school and university, if they want to. Throughout education, children and youth with disability in Italy are entitled to have assistance in order to attend school and learn. Children with disabilities go to school with all other children and they have a specialist teacher assigned to facilitate their integration process
Persons with disability have the right to work in Italy, including persons granted asylum and asylum seekers, if they meet the conditions stipulated by the law. If you are a person with disability granted asylum in Italy, it is advisable to inquire about employment measures for persons with disability. This information can be obtained from Public Employment Service or from associations of persons with disabilities.
Discrimination of persons with disability is forbidden in Italy. If a person with disability experiences discrimination – that he or she is treated differently from persons without disability, he/she has the right to be protected. In such case, you can ask advice or file a complaint to a contact association of persons with disability nearest to you. Bear in mind, however, that there are usually no interpreters for your language in institutions and organizations which are not specialized in helping foreigners.
For more information about the rights and procedures for people with disability: http://www.aniepnazionale.it/cosa-fare-per/
List of associations working with the disabled: https://disabilinews.com/associazioni-onlus-per-disabili/link-associazioni-onlus-per-disabili/
Victims of trafficking in human beings
Victims of trafficking in human beings are persons who are controlled by other persons, to be exploited for things they would not choose to do on their own or to work without payment. Victims can be recruited and sometimes sold by acquaintances, relatives or criminal gangs, often with promises of well-paid jobs. They are usually transported from one country to another or from the remote rural areas to cities. Victims are manipulated, forced, blackmailed or tricked by traffickers, their documents and financial means are usually taken away as to make them completely dependent on the traffickers. Victims are often physically, sexually and psychologically abused; this sometimes includes keeping them under control by using drugs.
Traffickers exploit victims or transfer them to others for purpose of forced labour, prostitution, criminal activities or other things victims would not normally choose to do.
Women and children, particularly unaccompanied minors, are in greatest risk to be victims of trafficking. However, men can also become victims, usually to be exploited for forced labour. Person can become victim of trafficking in country of origin, during the journey and even in destination country.
ADVICE: Be very careful when someone offers help in transportation, crossing the borders and makes promises of good jobs. Caution is necessary even if this person is someone familiar, including relatives as in the most cases person has been trafficked by someone familiar.
Victims of trafficking are considered particularly vulnerable in asylum procedure. They have the right on special protection and assistance from the moment they are identified as victims of trafficking.
In Italy there is a National Action Plan Against Trafficking and Exploitation of Human Beings (http://www.pariopportunita.gov.it/materiale/piano-dazione-contro-la-tratta-e-il-grave-sfruttamento/). This system proscribes the procedures and responsibilities of all relevant institutions in identification and safeguarding of victims of trafficking. Main actors in this system are specialized police officers, social welfare centres and civil society organizations, who work together in the whole Italian territory. They are trained and obligated to apply special protection program for victims of trafficking.
Victims of trafficking will be placed in safe accommodation and provided medical, psychological, social and legal assistance, as soon as possible after being identified. Persons who can help in initiating protection program are police officers, reception centre staff, international organization, like UNHCR, Red Cross, UNICEF or other civil society organizations working in the reception centres or in the field.
Victims of trafficking who are foreigners have the right to stay in safe accommodation in Italy and they should decide do they want to accept offered program of protection. This also applies in the case if the victim is a child (under 18 years). Person cannot be expelled from the country during this period. Participation in protection program is voluntary. Victim will be informed about program, help and assistance available and conditions he/she needs to comply with in the language he/she understands. No decisions should be made without victim’s consent. If victim of trafficking accepts to be included in protection program, he/she has the right on temporary residence until he gets the answer on the international protection request.
Assistance and support are not conditioned on the victim’s willingness to cooperate with the police and judiciary system. Identity and personal data of the victim are protected as confidential and are not made public. Victims of trafficking should not be prosecuted or penalised for activities they were forced to do by their traffickers.
If victim of trafficking is a child additional protection measures will be put in place. Legal guardian will be appointed with parental responsibilities. Legal guardian has the obligation to secure all decisions are made in the best interest of the child; he/she is also obligated to inform and consult child’s wishes in all matters.
Victim of trafficking has the right to apply for international protection. They will not be returned to the country where there is a risk of death, torture or other inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. When the victim is to be returned to country of origin or some other country, the Ministry in charge of police has the obligation to ensure safety of the return.
FREE Anonymous number to REPORT trafficking: 800-290-290 offers multilingual support, is open 24h and gives detailed information on the legislation and services guaranteed to persons, directs them towards social welfare services.
Emergency phone number for children in danger: 114 and the website http://www.azzurro.it/emergenza-0
Doctors without borders: http://www.medicisenzafrontiere.it/chi-siamo/contatti
Torture is prohibited and considered as major violation of human rights. Torture is intentional infliction of physical or mental pain, carried out by state or government official for a specific purpose. Physical torture can take the form of severe beating, electric shocks, burns, mutilation, rape and sexual assault, suffocation. The most common methods of psychological torture include humiliation, isolation, mock executions or amputations, threats and being subject to viewing the torture of others.
The perpetrators of torture, in most instances, are members of the police, prison guards, military forces or government officials. In some instances, the perpetrators of torture can be health professionals including doctors or nurses, or co-detainees, acting with approval or on the orders of a public official.
Torture survivors are considered as vulnerable in asylum process and have to be protected and their needs addressed. Surviving torture is considered as reason for granting international protection.
Torture survivors have the right on appropriate reception conditions. This means that they should be provided with medical and psychological rehabilitation services and legal aid, according to the individual needs. These are proscribed by the Italian Ministry of Health (http://www.salute.gov.it/imgs/C_17_pubblicazioni_2599_allegato.pdf). Usually, in Italy, such help to torture survivors is provided by specialized non-governmental organizations.
In some cases, if person is identified as a torture survivor, medical and psychological report can be added in support to asylum application. These reports are documents which provide evidence of the effects of torture on psychical and psychological health of the survivor. They are written by experts, usually psychologist, psychiatrists and medical doctors. Medico-legal reports need to be commissioned by legal representatives or case officers of the asylum seeker. Asylum seekers informed consent is necessary for writing and submitting medico-legal report.
LGBTI stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex persons. LGBTI persons may have special reception needs and/or grounds for international protection. Italian law on international protection stipulates special guarantees regarding reception conditions and asylum procedures on the ground of person’s sexual orientation. In practice, however, these guarantees are often difficult to implement.
Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is forbidden by law in Italy. If you are LGBTI person, asylum seeker or are granted international protection in Italy, you might consider asking support of LGBTI organizations. Some of them offer legal as well as psychological counselling like ARCI gay https://www.arcigay.it/ that has a well-developed network in Italian cities.
Italy, as a whole is still considered to be conservative when it comes to LGBTI rights and freedoms even though the public opinion is slowly changing. In 2015 a law (http://www.ivanscalfarotto.it/2013/07/09/legge-contro-lomofobia-e-la-transfobia-il-testo-base/) against homophobic hatred has been adopted. Same-sex couples can be legally recognized and registered as life partnerships. In that case, you can enjoy rights almost the same as in the marriage. However, same sex couples can adopt children only if it is a child of their partner.