UNICEF Italy starts programme for unaccompanied minors

6,000 to be housed in stability and integrated culturally

21 December, 14:13

    A scene of the documentary film A scene of the documentary film "Invisible: It's not a journey, it's an escape"

    ROME - UNICEF Italy has launched a programme called "One UNICEF Response" in collaboration with the Italian Interior Ministry that will provide about 6,000 unaccompanied foreign minors in Italy assistance with housing, education, and cultural integration.

    The programme spans from first arrival accommodation through housing in smaller, more stable residency structures, as well as educational and cultural integration in communities throughout the country.

    Giacomo Guerrera, president of UNICEF Italy, said the programme is part of "concrete actions for living in Italy and building a future", speaking on the sidelines of the presentation of the documentary film "Invisible: It's not a journey, it's an escape".

    Guerrera said in the first 10 months of the year, 80% of minors that arrived in Italy took the journey by themselves.

    Italy's Labour Ministry said there are more than 22,000 unaccompanied minors registered in Italy, with nine out of 10 of them males aged 15-17, the majority from Egypt, Albania and Sub-saharan Africa.

    Compared to 2015, in 2016 Syrian minors were almost completely absent.

    Over 6,000 have disappeared from the system, headed for other European countries to reunite with family and friends.

    "What we have before us today on the Italian and European coasts of the Mediterranean is at the same time a humanitarian emergency and an epic change that involves the entire society and requires an unprecedented ability to respond and manage," Guerrera said.

    In Italy, UNICEF will apply its own methodologies and interventions from child protection programmes already in place in non-European countries.

    A pilot programme is already planned for transferring unaccompanied minors from temporary reception centres to host families.

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