Community of Practice


The family is the fundamental core of society and its integrity is protected by international law and binding legal instruments. Article 16(3) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that the family is the natural and fundamental group of society and is entitled to protection by society and the state. At the regional level in Europe, the right to family life is protected under the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights (Article 7), the European Convention on Human Rights (Article 8), and the Council Directive 2003/86/EC.

Furthermore, under EU and ECHR law, refugees are entitled to family reunification under preferential conditions and States have an obligation to facilitate the exercise of this right. Standing jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights requires states to give effect to the right to family life and family unity through flexible, prompt and effective access to family reunification.

When forced to flee their country of origin, refugee families are sometimes split up and remain separated for long periods of time. Family reunification in this sense becomes the only means of protecting their right to family unity.
States have a responsibility to protect and restore the family life through family reunification procedures, which is the most widely used, though still underdeveloped, channel of legal entry and is also the only route based on a fundamental human right, that of family unity.

Family reunification procedures are not only a safe and legal route to enter a country where a family member is staying, but a necessary tool to prevent refugees and migrants from resorting to dangerous and irregular journeys, putting their lives at risk. In this sense, effective family reunification procedures can discourage smuggling networks that abuse refugees’ and migrants’ need to be reunited with their families.

Finally, reuniting separated families helps refugees heal from the trauma of conflict and increases prospects for integration of refugees and migrants. Reunited families adapt better to their new communities and family members can provide a sense of security, especially for vulnerable groups such as women and children, and support economic self-sufficiency.


The Community of Practice (CoP) on family reunification for beneficiaries of international protection and migrants aims to promote and facilitate access to family reunification through the organization of training meetings, information exchange, sharing of good practices and critical issues, and analysis of relevant jurisprudence among international and non-governmental organizations, institutions, social and legal practitioners, and experts in the field.

The CoP is composed of the following founding members of the CoP: ARCI, Caritas, Italian Red Cross, Italian Refugee Council, Save the Children, International Organisation for Migration (IOM).

The founding members develop an annual work plan, over the course of three years from the launch of the CoP that will include the organisation of events, seminars, analytical or other documents aimed at achieving the activities of the CoP.
The founding members commit to meet periodically, upon convocation by the CoP Secretariat, to agree on strategic lines, exchange experiences and good practices, review achievements, agree on potential common advocacy lines, test new programmes, and reach further practical collaborative solutions. With reference to the potential common advocacy lines, the unanimity criteria will be used; in case of lack of unanimity, organizations can still go public on their own without the “CoP brand”.

The CoP is open to membership by other members – either as individuals or representatives of organisations – who share CoP’s aims and regularly participate in its activities.

The CoP’s activities will be carried out by ensuring a community-based approach, guaranteeing the participation of refugee-led organizations in its meetings and/or conducting periodic thematic focus groups with beneficiaries of international protection.
  • Coppie non sposate e matrimoni tradizionali
  • Genitori infra e ultra sessantacinquenni
  • Documenti di viaggio

Emergency Travel Document dell’International Red Cross Committee (ETD):

  • Minori adottati e/o affidati
  • Minori diventati maggiorenni durante la procedura
  • Minori sotto tutela
  • Figli maggiorenni

Croce Rossa Italiana, pagina dedicata al Servizio Restoring Family Links (RFL):

Croce Rossa Italiana, Progetto SAFE – foSter cooperAtion For improving access to protection – SAFE:

Servizio Restoring Family Links del Movimento Internazionale di Croce Rossa e Mezzaluna Rossa:

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Pagina Ricongiungimento Familiare su sito web OIM Italia:

Pagina Facebook dell’unità:
@OIMfamilyreunification oppure

L’OIM favorisce il ricongiungimento familiare dei cittadini di paesi terzi che vogliono riacquistare l’unità familiare e supporta i richiedenti che, non potendo provare i legami parentali attraverso documenti, possono ricorrere al test del DNA. In alcune situazioni, infatti, i cittadini stranieri sono impossibilitati ad esercitare il proprio diritto al ricongiungimento familiare perché non possono fornire la relativa documentazione che attesti la parentela. Questi casi riguardano, per esempio:
  • beneficiari che provengono da paesi in guerra e non hanno potuto portare con sé i propri documenti;
  • beneficiari che sono cittadini di un paese senza un’autorità locale riconosciuta;
  • beneficiari che provengono da zone rurali prive di servizi anagrafici o registri civili che rilascino documenti d’identità.
In questi casi i legami parentali non possono essere provati documentalmente ed è possibile quindi che sia richiesto il test del DNA che viene sempre svolto su base esclusivamente volontaria. La maggior parte dei beneficiari del programma provengono da Kenya, Etiopia, Nigeria, Ghana, Rep