COUNTRY : Italy
PRESENTATION : The Consiglio Italiano per i Rifugiati (CIR) (Italian Council for Refugees) is a nonprofit and nongovernmental organization (Onlus) formed in 1990 with the support of UNHCR. Among CIR's founding organizations and members of the Board of Directors are Italy's most important humanitarian organizations and trade union confederations.
CIR's mission is to defend the rights of refugees and asylum seekers, to establish an integrated and efficient system to manage the diverse phases of resettlement, integration, and eventual repatriation assistance, in furtherance of international human rights norms established by the 1951 Geneva Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and by more recent European regulations.
Among the activities that have defined and distinguished our first 23 years of work, during which we have assisted more than 100,000 people, the most significant are:
- Direct assistance to individuals:
- Legal guidance: reception at the border, access to and assistance during the asylum process; interventions with the authorities;
- Social support: access to rights; orientation about Italy, integration assistance, family reunification;
- Reception and care for torture victims.Since 1996 we have been conducting projects aimed at the rehabilitation of torture survivors. Our projects take a multidisciplinary approach uniting social, legal, medical and psychological services to achieve a successful road to rehabilitation and integration. Over the course of 16 years we have helped approximately 3000 survivors of torture. The Together with ViTO Project, co-financed by the European Union European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights, is currently assisting about 600 families of asylum seekers and refugees who have survived torture, and is also conducting training, public awareness, capacity building, networking, and research activities in Cameroon and Chad. The Project is a member of the network headed by IRCT – the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (Copenhagen, Denmark).
- Public awareness and education;
- Promotion of the right to asylum.
All of CIR's activities are centred on the humanity of each individual, her rights, her needs, and her dignity. As an independent organization without political or religious constraints, CIR's only reference point for all of our activities is human rights. The only "political" interventions carried out by the organization in fact are those aimed exclusively at creating improved conditions for persons forced to flee their own countries.
CIR, long involved with the issue of transit countries affected by thousands of refugees coming principally from Sub-Saharan Africa, also carries out a series of activities aimed at improving conditions for refugees, asylum seekers and migrants in Libya and Algeria, and providing "capacity building" assistance to institutions in those two countries.
To reinforce the importance of our support activities in third countries, in 2009 CIR modified its charter to include cooperation activities on behalf of refugees, asylum seekers, and migrants among its action priorities.
Moreover, CIR collaborates with many academic institutions to create post-graduate Masters programs and other training programs, including: The Sapienza University of Rome, The University of Naples, The University of Pisa.
As the Italian member of ECRE - the European Council on Refugees and Exiles - CIR has always promoted political and legislative responses by the European Union to improve the conditions for refugees on the entire continent.
CIR is also member of the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network (EMHRN).