giovedì 20 giugno 2013

Refusals of international protection in Bologna



First results of a research project on appeals to the Court

Asilo in Europa (lit. Asylum in Europe) is an NGO born in 2013. It is based in Bologna (Italy), but comprises professionals who work in the field of asylum in a number of other European countries.

One of the main aims of Asilo in Europa is to conduct research projects around issues of international protection, with a particular focus on its European dimension and the development of the Common European Asylum System.

On the occasion of the World Refugee Day (June 20th) the organisation is releasing the first results of a study it is conducting in the Court of Bologna on the appeals against refused international protection’s applications.

Since September 2010, a Territorial Commission for the Recognition of International Protection in Bologna has been in charge of examining asylum applications lodged in Emilia Romagna (the region of which Bologna is the capital city). It is possible to appeal the decisions of the Commission to the Court of Bologna (Tribunale ordinario di Bologna), which re-examines the request.

In Italy the decisions of Courts on asylum applications are very rarely studied and analysed. With this study then, Asilo in Europa aims at filling, at least partly, this lacuna.

So far, 125 Court’s decisions have been analysed. Out of those, 35 (i.e. 28%) have been positive, that is there has been a recognition of the protection which had previously been denied by the Territorial Commission.

It is important though to specify that the majority (26) of those positive results concerned individuals who reached Italy following the recent conflict in Libya, and who had been inserted in the so-called ENA[1]  (Emergency North Africa) reception system.

Out of the 80 decisions which were concerned with individuals not inserted in the ENA reception system, only 9 times (11%) did the Court modify the decision of the Commission by giving in one case refugee status, in another humanitarian protection[2], and in seven cases, all concerning Nigerian citizens, subsidiary protection.

The data gathered until now show that, on average, 15 months pass from the moment an asylum seeker applies for asylum at the police, and the end of the process (1st and 2nd instance). At times, the process can take up to 36 months.

The “typical appealer” to the Court of Bologna is male (86%), aged between 18 and 35 (81%), and is not a CIE[3]’s detainee (80%).

Regarding the nationality, most of the appeals analysed came from citizens of Nigeria (25 %), Pakistan (18%) and Ghana (17%).

The research is still on-going. At the moment the organisation has released the first gathered data while the final version of the research, which will also include the analysis of the reasons of the decisions of the Court, will be released this coming fall.

Meanwhile, by visiting the blog of the association,, it is possible to see the details of the first results of the study.

For more information please contact

[1] ENA was a system made up of several hundreds of reception centres spread all across Italy, aimed at hosting the people who arrived in Italy  after fleeing the Libyan war and  applied for asylum there.  After a Ministerial decision, published on October 30th 2012, all those persons were given a humanitarian leave to remain.

[2] Humanitarian protection is a national form of protection accorded to individuals who do not qualify as refugees but in respect of whom there are serious humanitarian reasons justifying their stay on the Italian territory.

[3] CIE (Centres of Identification and Expulsion) are the Italian detention centres for irregular migrants. Detainees can apply for asylum.