Friday, November 13, 2015


Two developments this week would seem to indicate that the wider world is at last beginnng to recognise the humanitarian work that Italy has been doing for so long with regard to migration:

On Monday we learnt that IFRC [International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies] is to award its biennial Henry Davison prize to the Sicilian Red Cross for its humanitarian work on behalf of refugees. This award is given to individuals or societies who have significantly improved the lives of vulnerable people.

The President of the Sicilian Red Cross, Rosario Valastro, will receive the award in Geneva on 6th December.  Mr Valastro has written to all Sicilian Red Cross volunteers to thank them and has said, 

"I only want to think of everything that you have seen with your own eyes, the real-life stories that you have heard, the hands of men, women and children that you have touched: men, women and children, not numbers, nor just migrants, but people to help without asking questions."

Yesterday the UN announced the appointment of Italian Filippo Grandi, formerly of UNWRA, as the new High Commissioner for Refugees. This is being seen in Italy as a positive development and Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni has said that it shows recognition of Italy’s efforts and commitment over the years on behalf of refugees. Outgoing High Commissioner Antonio Gutteres said,

“Filippo Grandi has huge experience in the field: his capacity and deep knowledge of forced migrations will be of great help for the agency and for its mandate to protect and assist millions of people.”

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