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A group of 99 refugees and asylum seekers evacuated from Libya arrive in Italy

A group of 99 vulnerable refugees and asylum seekers was evacuated from Libya to Italy during the night. It is the first evacuation flight in 2022, organized through the joint efforts of the UNHCR, the UN Agency for Refugees, the Italian Ministries of the Interior and of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and the INMP, the National Institute for Migration and Poverty.

With the persisting crisis in Libya, Italy and the UNHCR continue their efforts to help vulnerable refugees to leave the Country. The persons evacuated yesterday come from Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. Many of them have suffered long periods of uncertainty and deprivation, including of their personal liberties, and are in urgent need of assistance.

“This humanitarian evacuation confirms the joint commitment of the Ministries of the Interior and of Foreign Affairs and of the UNHCR to open a road for fragile and vulnerable people to legally enter Italy’s national territory, who are offered a reception and integration process by the State,” stated the Head of the Department for Civil Liberties and Immigration of the Ministry of the Interior, Francesca Ferrandino.

“The Farnesina’s resolute commitment continues to assure safe entryways to refugees in conditions of vulnerability in the Libyan territory,” said Luigi Maria Vignali, Director General for Migration Policies of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. He added: “It is a reason of great satisfaction to be able to welcome to Italy the first refugees of 2022 benefiting from the humanitarian evacuations from the Libyan centres.”

“The will of the Italian authorities to enable today’s evacuation once again shows the key role played by Italy in protecting refugees, which is a source of inspiration for other Countries,” said Chiara Cardoletti, UNHCR Representative for Italy, the Holy See and San Marino. She added: “It is necessary to continue to reinforce safe channels like evacuations and resettlements, which often represent the only lifeline possible for people obliged to flee.”

The refugees and asylum seekers who arrived yesterday will be subjected to a 10-day mandatory quarantine in the light of the Covid-19 pandemic before being transferred to facilities of the Reception and Integration System (Sistema Accoglienza Integrazione – S.A.I.) by the Ministry of the Interior and distributed throughout the national territory.

The evacuation flights from Libya to Italy, which have been suspended for more than two years, have brought to safety over 1,100 refugees from 2017 to date.