With 105,417 refugees fleeing Ukraine arriving in Italy at the end of April, UNHCR has opened two blue points to assist vulnerable people entering through Italy’s northeast borders.
The Prime Minister’s decree implementing temporary protection has entered into force. More than 78,000 people have applied for temporary protection since the start of the emergency, while more than 1,100 have applied for asylum.
Together with Refugees Welcome and CIAC, UNHCR launched the Community Matching program to enhance integration by connecting refugees with volunteer friends from host communities.
■ Emergency in Ukraine.1 In late April, just over two months after the outbreak of conflict in Ukraine in February 2022, 105,417 Ukrainian refugees arrived in Italy by land and air, most often entering the country via the Fernetti and the Tarvisio border crossing points in the northern region of Friuli Venezia Giulia. There was a slight decrease in arrivals around the Easter festivities, but numbers picked up after Easter, with more than 26,370 people recorded as having entered in April alone. Access to the territory was regularly granted to Ukrainian citizens as well as non-Ukrainian nationals who lived in Ukraine before the start of the state of emergency and fled the country when military hostilities began.
■ UNHCR staff continued to be present at the Fernetti and Tarvisio border crossing points, providing new arrivals with information on the relevant procedures for obtaining protection in Italy and assisting the authorities in coordinating the response and identifying the vulnerable people, including children traveling alone. At the end of April, 22,092 people received basic information on registration services and procedures from UNHCR staff at the border. The intervention of UNHCR and its partners with the authorities ensures that children are quickly self-identified and that adequate follow-up is organised, with referral to ad hoc services after a thorough assessment of individual circumstances.
■ Since April 21, two blue points have become operational at the border crossing points of Fernetti and Tarvisio.
Blue dots are safe spaces established by UNHCR and UNICEF and managed in partnership with ARCI,
DiRE., Save the Children and Stella Polare, providing essential information and services to refugees who need additional care, such as children traveling alone, women with young children, people with disabilities and survivors of sexual violence. Blue Points are managed in close collaboration with local authorities and are common in emergency contexts. Around 20 blue dots have been established by UNHCR and UNICEF in countries affected by the Ukrainian emergency over the past few weeks. The Blue Dots of Fernetti and Tarvisio are the first to open in Italy and intend to provide a coordinated response to the specific needs of women and children, who are often exposed to gender-based violence, trafficking, abuse, psychological trauma and family separation. .
Women and children make up around 90% of those fleeing Ukraine1.
■ In mid-April, the decree of the President of the Council of Ministers implementing temporary protection in Italy entered into force, allowing authorities to issue temporary protection permits. Temporary protection is an exceptional measure of immediate protection in the event of a mass influx of displaced persons. While planned in 2001, temporary protection was first triggered by the Council of the European Union in 2022 in response to the Ukrainian emergency. Some 78,000 people requested temporary protection in Italy between the start of the emergency and the end of April. While temporary protection largely applies to people who fled Ukraine after the outbreak of the conflict on February 24, 2022, people who left Ukraine before that date can seek protection by applying for asylum. In Italy, more than 1,100 asylum applications have been filed by Ukrainians since the beginning of the conflict, ie 91% of all asylum applications filed by this nationality since the beginning of the year.