Plight of refugees must not be ignored: Italy's president
Updated Jun 20, 2023
Marking World Refugee Day, Italy's President Sergio Mattarella has called for greater attention to the plight of refugees forced to flee their homes in search of safety from violence and economic hardships.
"A sense of humanity and respect for the highest values ... requires that we do not ignore their plight," he said in a press statement on Tuesday.
"In celebrating World Refugee Day today, it is appropriate to reiterate that initiatives to assist these people -- and in particular refugees in particularly vulnerable conditions -- must be accompanied by the search for indispensable and urgent long-term structural solutions," Mattarella added.
Last year, nearly 110 million people were "forcibly displaced" globally, an increase of 19 million compared to the end of 2021, according to a report published in June by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Xinhua news agency reported.
In Europe, UNHCR data showed that the number of displaced and stateless people rose to 21.8 million at the end of last year, with much of the increase due to the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, deteriorating economic and weather conditions, and political conflicts in Africa and the Middle East.
Italy is by far the most common landing spot for migrant arrivals from Africa, the Middle East, and beyond, most of whom via the dangerous route across the Mediterranean Sea. As of Sunday, more than 56,000 people have arrived in Italy this year, UNHCR said.
Meanwhile, around 7,000 arrived -- by land and sea combined -- in Greece and around 10,400 arrived in Spain.