A little more than 100 days after the start of the conflict and in two months of activity, the two blue dots - safe spaces dedicated to women, children and people with specific needs, opened in Friuli Venezia Giulia by UNHCR and UNICEF in partnership with ARCI, D.i.Re, Save the Children and Stella Polare, have already reached 2600 people. 

Since the beginning of the conflict, on 24 February, over 130.000 refugees from Ukraine have arrived in Italy, 50% of them are women, over 30% of children and adolescents, visibly affected by the conflict and by flight. To respond to the most urgent needs of incoming children, women, families and other people with special needs, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and UNICEF, the United Nations Children's Fund, in partnership with ARCI, D.i.Re (Women on the Net against violence), Save the Children and the Stella Polare association activated two blue dots support centers in April. 

Both during the trip and once in Italy, people forced to flee are particularly vulnerable, have countless needs and are exposed to risk of gender abuse and violence. 1 Among the challenges, access to services such as health and education, as well as orientation in the host country. Through the involvement of social workers, psychologists, legal operators, and linguistic-cultural mediators, the blue dots present themselves as safe spaces and places of refreshment for the identification, assistance and dispatch of minors. at risk - including unaccompanied foreign minors - and people with specific needs for services in the area; first psycho-social support; and basic legal advice. 

Over 2600 people reached, of which about half are children and adolescents. Among adults, 80% are women, 20% men.

- over 800 minors have had access to the child-friendly space;

- about 1000 had access to information on legal services, educational services, psychosocial support services.

Many also received essential goods and recreational materials (including masks and sanitizers, diapers and baby food).

 

UNHCR and UNICEF in partnership with ARCI, D.i.Re, Save the Children and Stella Polare will continue their joint blue dot activity in favor of the fleeing population, in response to emerging needs.

"Providing adequate and timely assistance to refugees, particularly people with special needs, is not only essential for their immediate well-being, but also promotes the opportunities they will have to integrate in Italy" said Chiara Cardoletti, UNHCR Representative for the 'Italy, the Holy See and San Marino. " We are happy to be able to guarantee a safe space through the blue dots, a guarantee that should be extended to all people on the run ”. 

“In the blue dot we come into contact every day with girls, boys, girls and women who are visibly affected by the conflict. The presence at the border in support of the authorities and the coordination with the partners, allow us to intervene promptly for the identification and assistance of minors and women at risk and to provide concrete answers to specific needs "Anna Riatti, UNICEF Program Coordinator in Italy, Office for Europe and Central Asia.

“After more than 100 days of war, the plight of Ukraine's boys, girls and adolescents is increasingly critical. It is necessary to ensure - for the refugees of the Ukrainian emergency as well as for all people fleeing the many scenarios of crisis and conflict - an adequate reception from the moment of arrival in Italy. The collaboration activated at the borders between international agencies, NGOs and institutions represents a good practice to be strengthened and disseminated in order to build a permanent protection network close to all the people forced to leave their country to seek asylum "said Raffaela Milano, Director of Save the Children's Italy-Europe Programs.

“The presence of D.i.Re - with expert cultural operators and mediators - has also brought our approach to combating gender-based violence to the Friulian border crossings, through support for refugee women who have to leave their country due to this latest and upcoming war. The anti-violence centers are open to all women and for years we have been working to improve the reception of refugee women and asylum seekers, also through the specific training of new cultural mediators "declared Antonella Veltri, President D.i.Re – Donne in Rete contro la violenza

“Opening spaces close to the borders represented an important opportunity for Arci. The Blue Dots aim to give space and time to the specific needs of families fleeing conflict. Places to start informing and guiding, to give answers to the most pressing questions of people seeking protection in Italy, without distinction or discrimination. " Valentina Itri, Coordinator of the Immigration, Asylum Right and Fight Against Racism Office of Arci Nazionale.

On the occasion of World Refugee Day, (UNICEF, ARCI, D.i.Re (Women on the Net against violence) Save the Children and Stella Polare reaffirm in one voice that refugees have the right to be protected and to rebuild their lives in dignity, whoever they are, wherever they come from, always. 

For info https://www.unhcr.org/it/giornata-migioni-del-rifugiato/