For more than 30 years, Italy has been a destination country for immigration, as it is home to more than 5 million foreigners (approximately 8.3% of Italy’s total population). These people, however, do not enjoy full rights, even if they have arrived seeking asylum because they are fleeing war and persecution on the basis of nationality, race, religion, sexual orientation or political views, or even if they have done so to create a better life expectancy for themselves and their children.

In the former case, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Article 14) states that everyone has the right to seek international protection if threatened with persecution in other countries. The 1951 Geneva Convention protects against the risk of being returned to such states. As stated in Article 10 of our Constitution, this is a protection that the government provides to those who are prevented from exercising in their own country all the rights and freedoms enjoyed in Italy.
For them, as well as for those seeking a better life, the lack of opportunities for legal entry and work means that they are often pushed into the hands of traffickers who kidnap them and subject them to violence, abuse and torture. In 2016, more than 5000 people died trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea.

Current Italian and European migration policies continue to focus on security, illegal detention and deportation, showing a generalised lack of political will to allow for safe and legal ways to enter the country.
The media often presents this issue in terms of invasion, provoking fear and hostility in the public, with politicians ready to take advantage of it for election purposes.
This is why our approach to the issue is multidisciplinary. With our Open Migration project, we support advocacy on refugee rights by publishing data-driven research and information, reports, expert editorials and interviews. We push back on stereotypes and clichés around this issue with real-time data and constant fact-checking, helping to foster informed debate for more effective policies that respect people's dignity and rights. We tell stories of people who have had to leave their land and, often, their families to build a possible future.
Within our Buchi Neri project, we tell of the system of administrative detention of foreigners, and how this, with its high costs and violation of rights, is also an ineffective way of managing migration issues. We also bring forward a proposal that non-coercive alternatives are a valid approach.
We seek dialogue with the media to change the narrative on migration and organise meetings such as The 19 Million Project and Cities for All to think about dignified and sustainable solutions. We also train people through our Media Academy and our Narrative Lab.

Within our Centre for Constitutional Rights we provide free information to those in need of it and use strategic litigation to ensure that fundamental rights are respected.

Rule 39 Pro Bono Initiative has won the PILnet Global Partnership Award

The Rule 39 Initiative - a pro bono project supported by 8 international firms and which has already assisted more than 500…