From the non emergency of refugee landings to the migrants of climate change,
from the countries that host the highest number of refugees to the reasons for which they escape:
here the coordinates to orient oneself on one of the most complex phenomena of our time
NATIONALITY OF MIGRANTS LANDED IN ITALYup until 31 AUGUST 2018
A -79.8% decline compared to 31 August of the previous year, when the refugees who had reached Italy by sea amounted to 99.119. A very different snapshot from the widespread perceived emergency and from the narratives used for political or electoral purposes.
There is however a change in the declared nationality of those who land on our shores. The majority of those who arrived in Italy in the first few months of 2018 claimed to be Tunisian (3,279), with various units of Eritreans (3,027) and Sudanese (1,595). An increase essentially justified by a mix of economic and social difficulties afflicting all of North Africa and the impossibility of obtaining regular entry visas into Europe. "It is a phenomenon that we have observed since last September, and essentially derives from growing economic difficulties in the country," explains Flavio Di Giacomo, spokesman for the World Migration Organization (IOM). "Unlike the refugee from Libya who, in our opinion, have almost always suffered human rights violations, here we are dealing with economic migrants. In any case, considering the 80% drop in landings, we are not talking about high numbers".
NATIONALITY OF MIGRANTS LANDED IN ITALYup until DECEMBER 31st 2017
Nationality declared at the time of landing
Source: Ministry of the Interior
THE LIBYAN NODE
In general, the trend of landings in Italy undergoes a sharp decline at the beginning of 2018 after the peak recorded in 2016 with over 181 thousand arrivals. A solid result thanks to agreements signed by former Interior Minister Marco Minniti
with Libyan mayors in early 2017. The agreement is however strongly contested by human rights activists for the treatment suffered by migrants in the country's detention centers. "We are witnessing a state of continued human rights violation. Migrants are arbitrarily crammed into detention centers without having committed any crime, centers where conditions are often unacceptable and in which also pregnant women and children are present" stresses Flavio Di Giacomo (OIM)
LANDINGS IN ITALY FROM 2013 TO 2017
Source Ministry of the Interior
ESCAPING FROM VIOLENCE
If the most represented ethnic group, in the landings of 2017 are Nigerian with 18.153 new arrivals certified by the Ministry of the Interior, relevant percentages are also constituted by the arrivals from Bangladesh, with 8,995 landings in the last year, and from western African countries: Guinea, Ivory Coast and Senegal. Most of those who arrive on our shores come from Libya and give escaping from violence as the main motivation, as recalled by Flavio di Giacomo (OIM): "Few remember that Libya is not only a transit country, but also a country of destination for many migrants. There are over 700,000 estimated migrants in the country: there many come into contact with hell, some are kidnapped and tortured, and for many of them the need arises to flee to Europe “
NOT ONLY ITALY: ARRIVALS IN OTHER MEDITERRANEAN COUNTRIES
Greece, Spain and Italy are generally considered the first countries of entry for most migrants from the Middle East, Asia and Africa. The majority of the refugees who landed in 2017 in Greece fled from what are the real tragedies of the Middle East: from Syria, shaken by a 7-year-long civil war, from Iraq threatened by terrorism and in the midst of a difficult normalization, up to Afghanistan, torn by a war now endemic against the Taliban militia. On the other hand, the migratory flow towards Spain originates from neighboring countries of North Africa (Algeria and Morocco) and West Africa.
2017 Arrivals - Nationality declared at the time of landing
2017 Arrivals - Nationality declared at the time of landing
THE DECLINE IN LANDINGS
In general, since 2015, the year of the immigration explosion throughout the Mediterranean area, fueled mainly by the flight of Syrians, Iraqis and Afghans, from 2016 onwards we witness a sharp decline in landings. A drop strongly influenced by the EU and Turkish agreement, signed on 18 March 2016.
The agreement virtually closed the "Balkan route", but was contested by human rights activists: many doubts remain also on the guarantees offered by Turkey to migrants (some rejections have been vetoed by the Greek Court of Appeal for this reason).
LANDINGS IN MEDITERRANEAN COUNTRIES 2014 - 2017
EUROPE: HOW REFUGEES ARE DISTRIBUTED
Despite media alarms and requests for restriction for applications for international protection,
the percentage of refugees (people who have had there international protection request in Italy accepted) hosted by us, is significantly lower than those of other European countries. We host on average three refugees every thousand person, much less than most Western European countries like Sweden (24.3 out of 1000), Germany (11.8) or France (5.1). Below a graphic representation of how refugees are distributed in some key nations of our continent.
While the landings decline, Italy, Greece and Spain continue, not infrequently, to be perceived as first landing countries. Often the journey of migrants continues towards Northern Europe, even if the flow seem to be significantly lower than those of the past few years.
(The darker dots indicate the number of refugees, the lighter dots the natives, each dot corresponds to 10 inhabitants, alongside the percentage of refugees per thousand inhabitants)
85% OF REFUGEES HOSTED IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES
Where are the refugees that don’t reach our shores? Despite the often alarmist narrative, Italy and the other European states are not the most welcoming countries in the world: four refugees out of five stop in neighbouring countries to the one they fled from. Taking a global look, Turkey is home to the highest number of refugees (3.5 million), followed by Pakistan (1.9 million) and Uganda (1.9 million). 85% of refugees live in developing countries, many of whom are in extreme poverty and do not receive adequate support to assist these populations. From Syrians to Nigerians, from Eritreans to Afghans, the chart below shows the major destination countries for refugees arriving on the Mediterranean coasts.
ESCAPING FROM CONFLICTS AND VIOLENCE
More than 11 million people have been forced to leave their homes in 2017 due to conflicts and persecutions.
Syria is still the country from which the local population flees the most. According to estimates by the Norwegian Council, internally displaced people for a war that seems endemic, and that has lasted 7 years, were almost 3 million in 2017.
Internal emigration is the first step of what, in many cases, turns into a real haemorrhage of inhabitants from their home countries.
Internal displacement for wars and persecutions
2.2 millionDemocratic Republic of the Congo
539.000Central African Republic
Tribal conflicts, such as those in the Democratic Republic of the Congo that provoked over 2 million displaced persons in the last year, to religious persecutions, to unresolved regional crises like the one that continues to characterize Iraq: the great diaspora of those who flea from violence does not stop. Altogether there are about 40 million people in the world today displaced as a result of conflict and persecution.
ESCAPE FROM CLIMATE
Not only conflicts and persecutions: of the 30.6 million people who were forced to leave their homes in 2017,
as much as 18.8 million of those were forced to move due to climatic events.
Internal displacements for climate disaster
A dynamic in which global warming and climate change play a non-marginal role. This is well verifiable by the so-called long-term effects of "global warming", such as desertification or rising sea levels, it is also due to extreme weather events. According to a large part of the scientific community, there is a link between phenomena such as storms, floods, waves of extraordinary droughts and global warming. A 2016 UN report highlighted how the likelihood of these events increased 10-fold due to climate changes triggered by human activities.
2017: THE GREATEST WORLD CLIMATE DISASTERS MONTH BY MONTH
NATIONALITY OF REFUGEES, ASYLUM SEEKERS AND INTERNAL DISPLACED ASSISTED BY UNHCR
A NEW TYPE OF MIGRATION
Natural disasters and the effects, in the medium and long term, products of climate change, continue to generate displaced people and potential migrants who do not today have a formal humanitarian cover. International law bases refugee status on persecution on racial, religious, ethnic and political grounds, as indicated by the Geneva Convention on Refugees of 1951. A law that has stood for most of the 20th century but seems insufficient to address a new category of refugees, the result of the dynamics that led to modernity. In the map below, the areas where UNHCR (the UN refugee agency) is particularly active. According to the IOM, environmental refugees could amount to 200 million by 2050, but the international community still seems reserved in recognizing the problem.
INTERNATIONAL PROTECTION: AN INSUFFICIENT INSTRUMENT
An impact that is most incisive on the equator and very profound in the less developed areas of the planet: is the index on climate change that NASA analyzes year by year at every latitude and longitude of the globe.
By superimposing the map of the climatic variations of the American Space Agency to that of those who take advantage of some form of international protection and are assisted by the UNHCR, two data points emerge: it is often the poorest countries to pay the price of climate changes that will be more likely irreversible, while the often dramatic effects of this process overlap and probably exacerbate the effects of tribal conflicts and tensions; a dynamic that seems to be evident in the African regions. Moreover, international protection seems to be insufficient today in some areas that see an increasing number of displaced persons as in the countries of South East Asia, threatened by storms and events.
Index of climate change
The redder areas indicate the most relevant temperature variations according to NASA data during 2017.
Editorial project - Visual Lab (Front End Development and UI: Mirko Aloisi and Paola Cipriani, text and research data: Carlotta Dotto and Daniele Tempera).
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