ADHRRF – On January 25, 2018, the first national immigration convention of Diaconia Valdese, with the theme of “All Home” (Tutti a Casa), was held at the Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art (the Galleria d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, GAM) in Turin. During the convention, attendees analyzed the current plight of immigrants and asylum seekers in Italy according to the old and new policy of accepting immigrants and refugees, reflected on the serious consequences caused by the distorted comments on immigrants and refugees from journalists and refugee reception workers, and emphasized the importance of the veracity of news presented on social media.
Almost 400 people attended the one-day convention, including experts, scholars, religious figures and human rights advocates. The speakers for the convention included Dr. Sandra Sarti (President of the Italian National Asylum Commission, NAC), Paolo Naso (Head of Mediterranean Hope, FCEI), Tareke Brhane (President of the 3rd of October Committee), Daniela di Capua (Director of the Protection System for Asylum Seekers and Refugees, SPRAR), Carlo Verna (a journalist and President of the National Order of Journalists), Massimo Gnone (Integration Expert at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, UNHCR) and others.
During the convention, Dr. Sandra Sarti, President of the NAC showed the processing result of refugee claims in Italy of 2017 with data chart. According to the related data, the total number of refugees in 2017 is 119,310 people, of whom only 25% got short-term protection while up to 52% were rejected. According to the analysis of relevant persons, the inaccurate comments on refugees are one of the reasons why many of them were rejected. Attendees rethought about the previous prejudicial attitude to refugees and redefined the image of refugees.
Paola Barretta, researcher at Pavia Observatory on Migration and collaborator of Rome Charter Association, said that it is very unfair to the reported groups if the media messages show prejudice and preference.
Claudio Paravati, the editor of Confronti mentioned in his speech that we could know more of those immigrants and refugees in Italy only by combining authentic resources with their own narration, and that we shouldn’t judge them by our culture while listening to their stories.
In addition, Daniela di Capua, Director of SPRAR stressed the importance of receiving refugees. And she said that they are working for it though they can not solve the issues of all refugees in a short time.
After the convention, a Christian of The Church of Almighty God said, “The Italian media is wide awake now. Media is the platform for publishing real news, and the consciousness of the media represents that of the country.… I believe that the public misunderstanding and prejudice against the refugees will be gradually eliminated, and the positive comments will far outweigh the negative.” She also mentioned that the Chinese media, under the manipulation of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), disseminates fake news to create public opinion pressure and make Christians fall into desperate conditions and unable to live in China. Those facts need to be focused and reported by more justice media and be exposed to the whole world.
This first national immigration convention in Italy aroused the concern of various sectors of society. It concerns the stability of European society and the peace and development of the world whether EU countries can actually know the real experiences of the refugees, reverse the public misunderstanding of the refugees, and provide help to them to promote humanitarian spirit. Meanwhile, it also tests the conscience of mankind.