Foreign residents as a percentage of the regional population, 2011
Foreign residents as a percentage of the regional population, 2011

As of 1 January 2021, there were 5,171,894 foreign nationals resident in the country of Italy. This amounted to 8.7% of the country's population and represented an increase of 132,257 over the previous year. These figures include children that were born in Italy to foreign nationals (who were 75,066 in 2014; 14.9% of total births in Italy), but exclude foreign nationals who have subsequently acquired Italian nationality; this applied to 129,887 people in 2014. Around 6,200,000 people residing in Italy have an immigration background (around the 10.4% of the total Italian population).[1][2] They also exclude illegal immigrants whose numbers are difficult to determine. In May 2020, The Times estimated them to number 600,000.[3] The distribution of foreign born population is largely uneven in Italy: 59.5% of immigrants live in the northern part of the country (the most economically developed area), 25.4% in the central one, while only 15.1% live in the southern regions. The children born in Italy to foreign mothers were 102,000 in 2012, 99,000 in 2013 and 97,000 in 2014.[4]

Since the expansion of the European Union, the most recent wave of migration has been from surrounding European states, particularly Eastern Europe, and increasingly Asia,[5] replacing North Africa as the major immigration area. There are 1,076,412 Romanians living on Italian soil (excluding Romanians who have acquired Italian citizenship), making them the largest minority group in the country.[6] As of 2021, the foreign born population origin was subdivided as follows: Africa (22.25%), Asia (22.64%), America (7.49%), and Oceania (0.04%).[7]

Statistics

Senegalese workers at the Potato festival in Vimercate (Lombardy) in 2015
Senegalese workers at the Potato festival in Vimercate (Lombardy) in 2015

On foreigners only, for more information dealing with foreigners who have subsequently acquired Italian citizenship refer to Eurostat site.

Total foreign resident population on 1 January[note 1]
Year Population
2002 1,341,209[8]
2003 1,464,663[8]
2004 1,854,748[8]
2005 2,210,478[8]
2006 2,419,483[8]
2007 2,592,950[8]
2008 3,023,317[8]
2009 3,402,435[8]
2010 3,648,128[8]
2011 3,879,224[8]
2012 4,052,081[9]
2013 4,387,721[10]
2014 4,922,085[11]
2015 5,014,437[1]
2016 5,026,153 [12]
2017 5,047,028 (8.34%)[13]
2018 5,144,440 (8.52%)[14]
2019 5,255,503 (8.7%)[15]
2020 5,039,637 (8.4%)[16]
2021 5,171,894 (8.7%)[17]
2022
Immigration by country[note 2]
Country 2008 2009 2010 [18] 2011 [19] 2012 [20] 2013 [21] 2014 [22] 2015
[23]
2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 Regions with significant populations
 Romania Increase 625,278 Increase 796,477 Increase 887,763 Decrease 823,100 Increase 834,465 Increase 933,354 Increase 1,081,400 Increase 1,131,839 Increase 1,151,395 Increase 1,168,552 Increase 1,190,091 Decrease 1,145,718 Decrease 1,076,412 Lazio
 Albania Increase 401,949 Increase 441,396 Increase 466,684 Decrease 451,437 Decrease 450,908 Increase 464,962 Increase 495,709 Decrease 490,483 Decrease 467,687 Decrease 448,407 Decrease 440,465 Increase 440,854 Decrease 433,171 Lombardy
 Morocco Increase 365,908 Increase 403,592 Increase 431,529 Decrease 407,097 Increase 408,667 Increase 426,791 Increase 454,773 Decrease 449,058 Decrease 437,485 Decrease 420,651 Decrease 416,531 Increase 432,458 Decrease 428,947 Lombardy
 China Increase 156.519 Increase 170,265 Increase 188,352 Increase 194,510 Increase 197,064 Increase 223,367 Increase 256,846 Increase 265,820 Increase 271,330 Increase 281,972 Increase 290,681 Increase305,089 Increase330,495 Lombardy, Lazio
 Ukraine Increase 132,718 Increase 153,998 Increase 174,129 Increase 178,534 Increase 180,121 Increase 191,725 Increase 219,050 Increase 226,060 Increase 230,728 Increase 234,354 Increase 237,047 Increase240,428 Decrease 235,953 Lombardy
 Philippines 103,678 Decrease 82,066 Increase 129,188 Increase 139,835 Increase 162,655 Increase 168,238 Decrease 165,900 Increase 166,459 Increase 167,859 Increase169,137 Decrease 165,443 Lombardy, Lazio
 India 105,863 Increase 116,797 Increase 118,409 Increase 128,903 Increase 142,453 Increase 147,815 Increase 150,456 Increase 151,430 Increase 151,791 Increase161,101 Increase165,512 Lazio, Lombardy
 Bangladesh 73,965 Increase 80,639 Increase 81,683 Increase 92,695 Increase 111,223 Increase 115,301 Increase 118,790 Increase 122,428 Increase 131,967 Increase147,872 Increase158,020 Lazio
 Egypt 82,064 Decrease 65,985 Increase 66,932 Increase 76,691 Increase 96,008 Increase 103,713 Increase 109,871 Increase 112,765 Increase 119,513 Increase136,113 Increase139,569 Lombardy
 Pakistan 64,859 Increase 69,877 Increase 71,031 Increase 80,658 Increase 90,615 Increase 96,207 Increase 101,784 Increase 108,204 Increase 114,198 Increase127,101 Increase135,520 Lombardy
 Moldova 105,600 Increase 130,619 Increase 132,175 Increase 139,734 Increase 149,434 Decrease 147,388 Decrease 142,266 Decrease 135,661 Decrease 131,814 Decrease124,545 Decrease122,667 Lombardy
Lazio
Veneto
 Nigeria 48,220 Increase 56,476 Increase 66,833 Increase 71,158 Increase 77,264 Increase 88,533 Increase 106,069 Increase117,809 Increase119,089 Lombardy
 Sri Lanka 75,343 Decrease 71,203 Increase 71,573 Increase 79,530 Increase 95,007 Increase 100,558 Increase 102,316 Increase 104,908 Increase 107,967 Increase114,910 Decrease112,018 Lombardy
 Senegal 72,618 Increase 72,458 Increase 73,702 Increase 80,325 Increase 90,863 Increase 94,030 Increase 98,176 Increase 101,207 Increase 105,937 Increase111,380 Decrease111,092 Lombardy
 Tunisia 123,584 129,015 82,997 88,291 97,317 96,012 95,645 94,064 93,795 98,321 97,407 Lombardy
 Peru 87,747 93,905 93,841 99,173 109,851 109,668 98,176 99,110 97,379 97,738 96,546 Lombardy
 Poland 105,608 84,619 84,749 88,839 97,566 98,694 97,986 97,062 95,727 91,681 77,779 Lazio
 Serbia
 Kosovo
 Montenegro
53,875 n.a. 95,834 90,506 96,421 92,378 88,076 83,579 82,105 77,540 73,590 Lombardy
 Ecuador 85,940 80,645 80,333 82,791 91,861 91,259 87,427 83,120 80,377 77,408 72,193 Lombardy
 Bulgaria 42,000 47,872 54,932 56,576 58,001 58,620 59,254 59,806 50,355 Lazio
 North Macedonia 92,847 73,407 73,972 76,608 78,424 77,703 73,512 67,969 65,347 58,057 55,771 Lazio
 Brazil 37,567 39,157 43,202 42,587 43,783 45,410 48,022 54,556 50,666 Lombardy
 Ghana 44,364 48,575 51,602 50,414 48,637 48,138 49,940 51,619 50,778 Lombardy
 Russia 28,604 30,948 34,483 35,211 35,791 36,361 37,384 39,484 39,746 Lombardy
 Germany 34,936 35,576 38,136 36,749 36,661 36,660 36,806 36,980 35,091 Lombardy
 France 23,985 25,016 29,078 27,696 28,634 29,281 29,991 31,400 31,354 Lombardy, Lazio
 United Kingdom 22,839 23,744 26,377 25,864 26,634 27,208 28,168 31,183 30,325 Tuscany
 Ivory Coast 20,878 23,563 25,953 25,362 25,056 26,159 30,271 31,155 29,673 Lombardy
 Dominican Republic 23,020 25,405 28,623 28,804 28,202 28,002 28,451 30,743 30,255 Lazio
 Spain 15,129 17,021 20,682 21,286 22,593 23,828 24,870 27,433 32,637 Lazio
 Cuba 16,350 17,538 19,316 19,999 20,662 20,986 21,418 23,476 22,958 Lombardy
 Bosnia and Herzegovina 28,015 28,996 29,831 29,442 27,199 25,791 25,034 23,019 21,442 Umbria
 Algeria 20,725 21,801 23,095 22,679 21,765 20,437 19,823 19,466 18,538 Lombardy
Rest of Sub-Saharan Africa 133,272 151,841 158,142
Rest of Europe 117,416 116,645 119,361
Rest of Americas 92,927 97,707
Rest of North Africa and Western/Central Asia 81,147 86,019
Rest of East and South-East Asia 22,895 19,877
Rest of South Asia 1,516 1,630
Europe 2,601,313 2,588,451 (4.28%) 2,600,748 (4.31%) 2,609,690 (4,33%)
North Africa and Western/Central Asia 741,090 729,064 (1.21%) 735,681 (1.22%)
South Asia 474,736 488,486 (0.81%) 507,553 (0.84%)
East and South-East Asia 459,572 471,326 (0.78%) 478,417 (0.79%)
Sub-Saharan Africa 369,567 397,309 (0.66%) 444,058 (0.74%)
Americas 376,556 369,555 (0.61%) 373,354 (0.62%)
Oceania 2,104 2,122 (<0,01%) 2,157 (0,01%)

Prison population

According to the ISPI, the Italian prison population in 2018 counted 59655 and of those 34% were foreigners, with the largest groups coming from Morocco (3751), Albania (2568), Romania (2561), Tunisia (2070) and Nigeria (1453).[24]

Public opinion

See also: Opposition to immigration in Europe

According to poll published by Corriere della Sera in 2019, one of two respondents (51%) approved closing Italy's ports to further boat migrants arriving via the Mediterranean, while 19% welcomed further boat migrants.[25]

In 2018, a poll by Pew Research found that a majority (71%) wanted fewer immigrants to be allowed into the country, 18% wanted to keep the current level and 5% wanted to increase immigration.[26]

A 2019 poll by Yougov showed that 53% thought authorities should not accept more refugees from conflict areas, 25% were in favour of more refugees and 19% were undecided.[27]

2000s Mediterranean Sea crossings crisis

Due to the peninsula geographical position and close proximity to the North Africa coast, the crossing of the Mediterranean Sea has historically been the most used route for undocumented migrants. This route has become gradually more prominent, as flow through other routes to the EU gradually faded and political turmoil in Libya caused a general weakening of borders and coastal control, opening opportunities to people smuggling organisations.

The principal destination for sea crossings boats and rafts are the southernmost Italian territories, the Pelagie Islands. These islands are 113 km from Tunisia, 167 from Libya and 207 from Sicily.

The close distance between these islands and the African mainland has caused people smuggling organisations to employ boats and rafts otherwise hardly seaworthy, generally vastly filled above their capacity. Official reports list boats filled up to 2 or 3 times nominal capacity, including the use of rubber dinghies. This has led to several accidents at sea, as in 2007, the 2009, the 2011, the 2013, 2015.[28] These accidents have become harder to document between 2014 and 2017, as people smuggling organisations changed their tactics: instead of aiming for a full crossing of the sea towards Lampedusa, their boats aimed just to exit Libyan territorial waters and then trigger rescue operation from passing mercantile vessels, seek and rescue organisations, Italian and Maltese coastguards and militaries. As per the United Nations Convention of the Sea, of which Italy is a subscriber, people rescued at sea have to be transported to the closest safe harbor: as Libya continues to be in political turmoil this means they are transported to Italy.

Once in Italy, the EU Dublin Regulation requires migrants to apply for legal residence, protection or asylum permits in the first EU country they cross into, effectively barring them from legally crossing internal EU borders until their case has been processed and positively concluded. As the vast majority of migrant people landing in Italy targets destinations in Central and Northern European States, there is a tendency to avoid filing permits applications in Italy and rather try a northwards land journey.[29]

Refugees and migrants arriving in Italy by sea, 1997–2015[30]
Refugees and migrants arriving in Italy by sea, 1997–2015[30]

As a reaction to the gradual increase in migration flows through the Mediterranean Sea, Italian governments stepped up cooperation with Tunisian and Libyan authorities to halt activities of people smuggling organisation on land, as well as to allow boats rescued from the Italian Military in international waters to be towed back to the port where they left from. This policy, enacted in 2004 and 2005, sparked controversies related in particular to the compatibility with Italian and EU laws, as numerous reports documented acts of violence from Libyan authorities on migrant people. The policy was openly criticised by the EU Parliament.[31]

In 2008, Berlusconi’s government in Italy and Gaddafi’s government in Libya signed a treaty including cooperation between the two countries in stopping unlawful migration from Libya to Italy; this led to a policy of forcibly returning to Libya boat migrants intercepted by the Italian coast guard at sea.[32] The cooperation collapsed following the outbreak of the Libyan civil war in 2011. In 2012 the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Italy had violated the European Convention on Human Rights by returning migrants to Libya, as it exposed the migrants to the risk of being subjected to ill-treatment in Libya and violated the prohibition of collective expulsions.,[33] thus effectively ending the policy.

Rescued male migrants are brought to southern Italian ports, 28 June 2015
Rescued male migrants are brought to southern Italian ports, 28 June 2015

In 2009, as the flow of migrants picked up again, the overcrowded conditions at the Pelagie Islands' temporary immigrant reception centre came under criticism by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The unit, which was originally built for a maximum capacity of 850 people, was reported to be housing nearly 2,000 boat people. A significant number of people were sleeping outdoors under plastic sheeting.[34] A fire started as an inmate riot destroyed a large portion of the holding facility on 19 February 2009.

In 2011, as Arab Spring rebellions in Tunisia and Libya disrupted government control over borders and coasts, by May 2011, more than 35,000 immigrants had arrived on the island of Lampedusa from Tunisia and Libya.[35] By the end of August, 48,000 had arrived.[36] As migration and asylum policies are exclusive responsibilities of each member State, the increased migration pressure at the EU Southern border sparked tensions between EU States on how to differentiate between people migrating due to economic reasons, which in principle are regarded as unlawful immigrants and thus are forced to leave or deported, and people fleeing violence or persecution for religious, sexual orientation, political reasons, who can be granted asylum rights.[37] As the Libyan authoritarian governments struggled to keep control of the country, it allowed an increase in northbound migrant flows as a tactic to pressure Italy and the EU not to militarily intervene in the country, as Gaddafi feared his regime would be overthrown.[36]

Some Italian towns and cities disobeyed instructions from the national government to house migrants.[38] The Mafia Capitale investigation revealed that the Italian Mafia profited from the migrant crisis and exploited refugees.[39][40] The murder of Ashley Ann Olsen in her Italian apartment by an illegal immigrant from Senegal rapidly acquired political significance in the context of the European migrant crisis. The police chief of Florence addressed safety concerns and "assur[ed] the public that Florence remained safe" in the wake of the Olsen murder.[41]

Eritrean migrants in Messina, October 2015
Eritrean migrants in Messina, October 2015

Since 2014, thousands of migrants have tried every month to cross the Central Mediterranean to Italy, risking their lives on unsafe boats including fishing trawlers.[42] Many of them were fleeing poverty-stricken homelands or war-torn countries and sought economic opportunity within the EU.[43][44] Italy, and, in particular, its southern island of Lampedusa, received enormous numbers of Africans and Middle-Easterners transported by smugglers and NGOs operating along the ungoverned coast of the failed state of Libya.[43][45]

There were 153,842 Mediterranean sea arrivals to Italy in 2015, 9 percent less than the previous year; most of the refugees and migrants came from Eritrea, Nigeria, and Somalia, whereas the number of Syrian refugees sharply decreased, as most of them took the Eastern Mediterranean route from Turkey to Greece.[46]

The first three months of 2016 saw an increase in the number of migrants rescued at sea being brought to southern Italian ports.[47][48][49] In April 2016, nearly 6,000 mostly sub-Saharan African migrants landed in Italy in four days.[50] In June 2016, over 10,000 migrants were rescued in four days.[51] In 2016, 181,100 migrants arrived in Italy by sea.[52]

In April 2017, more than 8,000 migrants were rescued near Libya and brought to Italy in three days.[53] From January to November 2017, approximately 114,600 migrants arrived in Italy by sea.[54] Approximately 5,000 African migrants were rescued in waters off the coast of Libya between 18–20 May 2017.[55]

Since 2013, Italy took in over 700,000 migrants,[56] mainly from sub-Saharan Africa.[57]

Controversies regarding NGOs

This section needs expansion with: Add the disputes between Salvini and NGOs, and detail any change in policy under the Conte II cabinet. You can help by adding to it. (May 2020)
The Conte I Cabinet, influenced by hard-line Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, refused to let migrant ships dock in its waters. This map shows the journey of Aquarius Dignitus in June 2018, which was refused to dock in Malta and Italy before being granted access by the recently installed left-wing government in Spain.[58]
The Conte I Cabinet, influenced by hard-line Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, refused to let migrant ships dock in its waters. This map shows the journey of Aquarius Dignitus in June 2018, which was refused to dock in Malta and Italy before being granted access by the recently installed left-wing government in Spain.[58]

After 2015, as an increased use of unseaworthy vessels by people smuggling organisations caused a marked increase in accidents at sea involving loss of lives, several European NGOs have started seek and rescue operations in close coordination with Italian Navy and coast guard units. These operations often happen close to Libyan territorial waters at the same time in order not to unlawfully enter Libyan jurisdictions and yet ensure migrants' safety. As per UNCLOS, rescued people are brought to the closer safe harbor, which is in most cases on Italian shore. This effectively means NGOs vessels are covering most of the distance between Libyan and Italian coast. Right-wing Italian newspapers and activists picked on that to make various claims, among which that NGOs active in migrants' assistance and rescue at sea would reap financial profits from their collaboration with the Italian authorities,[59] or that some NGOs are part of unlawful people smuggling operations in coordination with operatives on Libyan coast, and funded by international criminal groups and financial institutions interested in developing political turmoil in Italy.[60] The Italian Parliament investigated these claims and has found them to be unsubstantiated, with no further actions.[61] Regardless of this, right-wing newspapers have continued campaigning against Italian and foreign NGOs.

In August 2017 the ship "Iuventa" operated by the German NGO "Jugend Rettet" (youth to the rescue) was impounded on the island of Lampedusa on the order of an Italian prosecutor on suspicion of facilitating illegal immigration. Jugend Rettet is one of the six out of nine NGOs which refused to sign a new code of conduct by the Italian government covering migrant rescues in the Mediterranean. The prosecutor alleged that there were "contacts, meetings and understandings" between the boat's crew and the smugglers. No crew members from the "Iuventa" had been charged and the prosecutor admitted that their motive was likely humanitarian.[62] (Five out of eight refused to sign the new code of conduct, according to a Guardian article, the others refusing to sign being MSF, the Germany groups Sea-Watch, Sea-Eye and Jugend Rettet, and France's SOS Mediterranée '[all of whom] abstained'. 'MSF, SOS Mediterranée and Jugend Rettet... called for clarification of the rules' while MOAS and Spanish group Proactiva Open Arms agreed to the conditions, and Save the Children 'backed the measures'.)[63]

Italian naval mission to Libyan waters

On 2 August 2017 Italy's parliament authorized a limited naval mission to Libyan waters aimed at supporting the country's coastguard in the fight against illegal migration. Italy sent two patrol boats at the request of the UN-backed government in Tripoli and insisted it had no intention of violating Libyan sovereignty. However, General Khalifa Haftar, who controls most of eastern Libya, threatened to use his own forces to repel the Italians.[62][64]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ The figures for 2002–2011 have been revised downwards as a result of the 15th General Census of Italy which offered more precise data. The figures since 2012 are calculated adding to the foreign population enumerated by the census the foreign population inflows and outflows recorded in all Italian municipalities during each calendar year.
  2. ^ Since 2013, the European Union foreign nationals are no longer counted in the immigration statistics. This includes the Romanians, the largest minority group in Italy.

References

  1. ^ a b "Cittadini Stranieri. Popolazione residente e bilancio demografico al 31 dicembre 2014". ISTAT. 15 June 2015.
  2. ^ "Bilancio demografico nazionale". ISTAT. 15 June 2015.
  3. ^ Kington, Tom (7 May 2020). "Italy to give 600,000 migrants the right to stay". The Times. Retrieved 16 June 2020.
  4. ^ Programma, Integra (12 February 2015). "Istat: nel 2014 oltre 90mila i nuovi nati stranieri". Retrieved 25 March 2016.
  5. ^ Willey, David (13 April 2007). "Milan police in Chinatown clash". BBC News. Retrieved 28 August 2013.
  6. ^ "Bilancio demografico nazionale". Italian National Institute of Statistics (in Italian). 31 December 2014. Retrieved 10 June 2016.
  7. ^ "Tuttitalia".
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Ricostruzione della popolazione residente per età, sesso e cittadinanza nei comuni". ISTAT. 26 September 2013. p. 9.
  9. ^ Statistics for 2011 at istat.it Accessed 30 October 2017
  10. ^ Statistics for 2013 at istat.it Accessed 30 October 2017
  11. ^ Statistics for 2013 at istat.it Accessed 30 October 2017
  12. ^ Statistics for 2015 at istat.it Accessed 30 October 2017
  13. ^ Statistics for 2017 at istat.it Accessed 4 April 2018
  14. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 6 August 2017. Retrieved 18 April 2019.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  15. ^ "5.255.503 cittadini stranieri in Italia". aise.it (in Italian). 24 October 2019. Retrieved 15 March 2020.
  16. ^ "Tuttitalia".
  17. ^ "Tuttitalia".
  18. ^ Albani, Mauro (22 September 2011). "La popolazione straniera residente in Italia nel 2011". ISTAT. Retrieved 28 August 2013.
  19. ^ "Gli stranieri al 15° Censimento della popolazione" (PDF). ISTAT. 23 December 2013. Retrieved 16 August 2014.
  20. ^ "I cittadini non comunitari regolarmente soggiornanti". 30 November 2011. Accessed 30 October 2017
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  22. ^ I cittadini non comunitari regolarmente soggiornanti 5 August 2014 Archived 13 November 2014 at the Wayback Machine
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  32. ^ "Pushed Back, Pushed Around". Human Rights Watch. 21 September 2009.
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  34. ^ United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. "News".
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  36. ^ a b "Gaddafi planned to turn Italian island into migrant hell". AsiaOne. Archived from the original on 27 September 2016.
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  48. ^ "Tensions Mount Between Austria and Italy as Migrant Numbers Rise". The Wall Street Journal. 15 April 2016.
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  50. ^ "In the last four days, 6,000 migrants have arrived in Sicily by boat". Quartz. 16 April 2016.
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  52. ^ "Italy boat migrant numbers surge 20% in 2016". The Local. 6 January 2017.
  53. ^ "More than 8,000 migrants rescued in Mediterranean and brought to Italy over Easter long weekend ". The Daily Telegraph. 18 April 2017.
  54. ^ "Italy: 1,100 migrants rescued from Libyan coast in one day". Al Arabiya. 23 November 2017.
  55. ^ "5,000 refugees rescued on route to Italy from Libya". Al Jazeera. 20 May 2017.
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  61. ^ "DOCUMENTO CONCLUSIVO APPROVATO DALLA COMMISSIONE SULL'INDAGINE CONOSCITIVA SUL CONTRIBUTO DEI MILITARI ITALIANI AL CONTROLLO DEI FLUSSI MIGRATORI NEL MEDITERRANEO E L'IMPATTO DELLE ATTIVITA' DELLE ORGANIZZAZIONI NON GOVERNATIVE (Doc. XVII, n. 9)". Senato.it. 16 May 2017.
  62. ^ a b "Italy impounds German NGO migrant rescue ship, lawmakers boost support for Libyan coastguard". DW. 2 August 2017.
  63. ^ Reuters in Rome, 31 July 2017 "Aid groups snub Italian code of conduct on Mediterranean rescues: Five of eight groups operating migrant rescue ships refuse to agree to new measures, citing concerns over operational effectiveness and neutrality" at theguardian.com Accessed 24 October 2017
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Further reading