The Italian Refugee Council is an independent humanitarian organization formed in 1990 in Italy, at the initiative of the United Nations, with the objective of defending the rights of refugees and asylum seekers. The CIR works to encourage access to the protection of people fleeing from war and persecution and to help build decent reception and integration conditions in full respect for human rights. The CIR is a onlus, endowed with legal personality, and has a light structure of legal practitioners, social, cultural mediators, doctors and psychologists. CIR operates at national and European level as well as in North Africa, in a coordinated manner with other civil society organisations. The CIR does not have a specific state funding but operates on the basis of projects approved and financed by the UN, the European Union, the Italian Government, regions, municipalities and private foundations.