• Over 45,000 boat migrants reached Italy in 2013. The deaths of over 500 in two shipwrecks in early October highlighted the need for more effective and coordinated EU rescue operations. A subsequent Italian naval operation has saved hundreds of lives. Authorities summarily return to Greece unaccompanied migrant children and adult asylum seekers who stow away on ferries.  Serious concerns persist about inadequate reception facilities for asylum seekers and substandard conditions in immigration detention. Roma endure evictions from informal camps, segregation, and discrimination. The repeated racist slurs faced by the nation’s first black minister highlighted wider intolerance. Italy was the first EU country to ratify the ILO Convention on Decent Work for Domestic Workers.

  • On the dock in Port Augusta, Sicily, weary sub-Saharan migrants await an initial health screening after three days at sea. (September 2014)
    The commitment by European Union heads of state to triple the capacity of Frontex operations in the Mediterranean is an important step towards preventing migrant deaths at sea.


  • Summary Returns of Unaccompanied Migrant Children and Adult Asylum Seekers from Italy to Greece
  • Racist and Xenophobic Violence in Italy
  • Italy's Forced Return of Boat Migrants and Asylum Seekers, Libya's Mistreatment of Migrants and Asylum Seekers


  • May 21, 2015
    European Union military action against human smuggling networks should not put the lives and rights of migrants and asylum seekers in jeopardy, Human Rights Watch said. The Council of the European Union agreed on May 18 to create a naval operation, dubbed EUNAVFOR Med, to identify, capture, and destroy boats used by smugglers in the Mediterranean.
  • Apr 29, 2015
    So far this year, at least 1,750 people have died in the Mediterranean trying to reach European shores on unseaworthy, overcrowded boats. More than 1,000 people died in a single week in April, making it the deadliest month on record on the world’s most dangerous migration route.
  • Apr 23, 2015
    The commitment by European Union heads of state to triple the capacity of Frontex operations in the Mediterranean is an important step towards preventing migrant deaths at sea.
  • Apr 22, 2015
  • Apr 19, 2015
    The European Union (EU) should act immediately to prevent further deaths at sea, Human Rights Watch said. As many as 700 migrants and asylum seekers are feared dead in a single shipwreck in the Mediterranean north of Libya on April 19, 2015, bringing the estimated death toll to over 1,000 in one week
  • Apr 15, 2015
    Reports of 400 lives lost in the Mediterranean between April 11-13, 2015, should force the European Union to implement a vast search-and-rescue operation.
  • Mar 13, 2015
    In the past twenty years, at least 15,000 people have died trying to reach Europe's shores from Africa and the Middle East. Many of those who died were refugees and asylum seekers, women and children, human beings fleeing wars, abject chaos and despair.
  • Feb 25, 2015
    On the Mediterranean island of Lampedusa stands a graveyard filled with simple wooden crosses. We don’t know the names and stories of those buried there, except that they perished at sea trying to reach Europe, fleeing conflict in Syria, human-rights abuses in Somalia and Eritrea, poverty in West Africa.
  • Feb 20, 2015
    “Aman.” a 29-year-old Eritrean, had just described his arduous journey to Europe when I heard the news about hundreds of deaths in the Mediterranean.
  • Jan 29, 2015
    European Union leaders during 2014 were too often willing to sideline human rights at home when expedient in a year marked by success for populist and Eurosceptic parties in European Parliament elections and beyond, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2015. It highlights developments in 10 EU member states, EU human rights foreign policy, and Union-wide developments on migration and asylum, discrimination and intolerance, and counterterrorism.