Milan: Italian President Sergio Mattarella has urged nations to protect the dignity of migrants and help improve security and living standards in their countries.
"They abandoned their homes and loved ones to flee war, persecution and hunger - women and men who have a right to the safeguarding of their dignity," Mattarella said on Friday while addressing a world trade fair in Milan to mark UN World Food Day.
Almost 310,000 asylum seekers have reached Italy since last year.
While solidarity had been shown by some, the sheer size of the migrant flows towards Europe had shocked its citizens and made them wonder what the future held, he said.
"We need to help improve life in migrants and refugees' countries of origin with strategies to boost economic and social conditions," Mattarella added.