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Every year, thousands of forced migrants leave their homes fleeing wars, violence, environmental disasters and persecutions. Their number is constantly on the rise; at the end of 2019 they were almost 80 million people.

Some of them do not manage to leave their country of origin. Homeless and oftentimes living in very precarious conditions, they remain within the national territory of their country. For this reason, they are called internally displaced people.


Some people succeed in crossing an international border to seek safety in another country. Among them there are young people, families, women and children. Everyone has a different story to tell. There are those fleeing from fightings with nothing more than a bag filled with some clothes and pictures of their dear ones; but there are also those chosen by the family to embark in the difficult journey towards a safe place where they hope to be able to earn some money that they can send back home, to sustain the weaker ones who could not undertake the journey.


When they finally reach a safe country, in which they feel safe from suffering further violence, many of these people apply for international protection. In Italy, this entails submitting an application to the Questura (regional headquarter of the Ministry of the Interior), requesting a recognition of the risk they run back in their country of origin, and asking for a residency permit to start a new life in Italy. A person that has undertaken this procedure and is waiting for a response is called an asylum seeker.


The outcome of this procedure may be the recognition of the status of refugee, according to the 1951 Geneva Refugee Convention. According to the Convention a person that “owing to well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country” is called a refugee.


Other asylum seekers may be granted different kinds of protection, such as subsidiary protection or a special protection permit.


Refugees, asylum seekers and forced migrants are under the protection of international law and cannot be repatriated without first verifying the risks they run in their country of origin. They are people who have dealt with great sufferings, which are often a consequence of the immense inequalities between rich and poor countries, and of the economic interests of Western powers. Nevertheless, they are also people with great qualities and resources, not least the capacity of transforming the experience gained through the hardship into energy to build a better future.


For us, it is an honour to walk side by side with refugees and asylum seekers who arrive in Trentino seeking peace. However, this is a journey that the refugees and us cannot walk alone. In order to welcome those coming from far away and promote their inclusion in our society, the involvement of the whole community is needed. For this reason, we ask you to walk together with us towards a richer, more welcoming and serene Trentino for all.

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I migranti forzati nel mondo. Dati e grafica UNHCR

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