The Open Society Foundations’ Support for Italy
The Open Society Foundations have been working in Italy for more than a decade, providing grants to local groups involved in a range of social issues, including migration.
The Open Society Foundations do not and have never funded the important direct humanitarian response of NGOs, such as the operation of search and rescue vessels in the Mediterranean. However, we uphold the principles that motivate their efforts to save human lives.
Our funding helps organizations in Italy that work on all aspects of the challenges posed by migration. This ranges from ensuring that refugees and migrants are treated with dignity and humanity by the authorities, to supporting local host communities and volunteers, who provide services such as language lessons. In Italy, we also work with groups involved in a range of other issues including drug policy reform, promoting equal rights for LGBTI people, promoting civic and youth participation, and supporting freedom of expression. See examples of our work in Italy.
Earlier this month, our founder and chair George Soros urged the other member states of the European Union to compensate Italy financially for hosting asylum seekers that land there. Writing in Corriere della Sera [link in Italian] on June 3, he repeated his criticism of the EU’s “Dublin rules,” which have effectively prevented migrants who land in Italy from moving to other European countries to file asylum claims.
The Open Society Foundations urge Italy’s political leaders to stop undermining the work of civil society groups and recognize their positive role, which is fundamental in democratic societies.
A Promising Step
Q&A: Progress for Migrant Workers in Italy
The government of Italy’s COVID-19 stimulus proposal includes measures to protect migrant laborers working in some of the country’s most important industries. While this is welcome news, more is needed.
Hope on Lesvos
Q&A: Forging a Bond between Locals and Refugees
The Greek island of Lesvos remains at the frontlines of refugee arrivals to Europe. Currently, more than 21,000 refugees are held there. A grassroots group called the Starfish Foundation is working to improve the lives of locals and refugees.
A Garden Grows on Lampedusa
On the Mediterranean island of Lampedusa, which remains on the forefront of migration to Europe, the locals are reclaiming their culture of farming and building community—one ancient seed at a time.