(by Matteo Meloni)
ROME, JANUARY 31 – While in the United States and abroad airports were thrown into chaos by president Donald Trump executive order on immigration, Rome’s Fiumicino has become an international welcoming hub for refugees: another group of 40 Syrians – the first for this year – landed yesterday in the Italian capital’s hub, hoping to start a new life.
The Syrian children were given balloons as they arrived, and a colorful sign reading “Welcome to Italy” greeted the latest group of refugees to be resettled in the country via an agreement between the government and a Catholic-Protestant collaboration. Italy’s deputy foreign minister, Mario Giro, greeted the Syrians and insisted on the obligation to welcome those fleeing war.
The Humanitarian Corridors is Italy’s answer to the migrant crisis through which people coming from war zones are welcomed in a safe and controlled way. Syrians and Iraqis displaced in Lebanon and soon refugees from sub-Saharan countries, Eritreans, Somalis and Sudanese in Ethiopia have now a chance to reach the European continent without having to pay thousands of dollars to smugglers, then putting their lives at risk in the Mediterranean. This is an example of how States can fight human trafficking.
The project is backed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Ministry of Interior, Community of Sant’Egidio, Federation of Evangelical Churches in Italy, and Tavola Valdese. With this last arrival the number of refugees involved in the project counts 540. The 40 Syrians landed in Italy yesterday come from the cities of Aleppo, Homs and Damascus: among them many children, women and elderly people.
The Humanitarian Corridors are completely financed by the organizations that have promoted the pilot project: taxpayers are not economically involved in the costs. The funds come through the “eight per a thousand” tax provision of the Waldensian Church and other fundraising.
“Walls and bans of people from specific countries will end up creating a lack of security in the United States”, said Giro, himself a member of the Community of Sant’Egidio, commenting President Trump’s decision to stop the entry in the U.S. for the next 90 days for people coming from Iraq, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Libya and Somalia. “Italy wants to solve the problems. We don’t want to increase hate, but instead create policies which work, such as the organized acceptance and distribution of refugees, coupled with economic accords with countries of origin”, added Giro, welcoming the refugees at Fiumicino.
Bernard Cazeneuve, French Prime Minister, has recently shown his will to adopt the Humanitarian Corridors model. Cazeneuve took part at the annual event of the Fédération protestante de France where François Clavairoly, FPF’s president, has announced that the protestant federation has reached an agreement with the French government and the Community of Sant’Egidio for welcoming refugees in the same pattern of the Humanitarian Corridors. (@melonimatteo)