ROME, AUGUST 29 – A further group of 35 Syrian refugees from Lebanon arrived at Rome Fiumicino airport today thanks to the “humanitarian corridors”. Promoted in Italy by the Community of Sant’Egidio and made operational with the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of the Interior, the “humanitarian corridors” are an Italian reception programme for migrants in particularly vulnerable conditions. These include single women with children, victims of human trafficking, elderly people and disable or sick people. With this new group, including families with many children, the total arrivals through this legal immigration initiative, have involved over 900 people since today. Some refugees, who have reached Italy in recent months through the ecumenical project, were present this morning at the airport to welcome the newcomers.
Marco Impagliazzo, President of the Community od Sant’Egidio, Massimo Aquilante, Former President of the FCEI, Mario Giro, the Italian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and Donatella Candura, representative of the Department of Civil Liberties of the Interior Ministry, held a press conference this morning in the hours following the arrival.
The humanitarian corridors initiative was launched two years ago in Italy. The Community of Sant’Egidio, a Catholic ecumenical group, as well as the Waldensian and Methodist churches and the Protestant association joined forces and after extensive negotiations, the groups signed an agreement with the Italian government in December 2015. The initiative was a response to thousands of people dying off in the Mediterranean Sea.
The programme envisages the safe and legal entry in Italy within 2017 of one thousand people from Lebanon (Syrian refugees) and from Morocco (migrants from Sub-Saharan African countries fleeing from situations of risk. The asylum seekers are always chosen regardless of their religious and ethnic backgrounds but on the basis of their urgent needs.
While Europe is struggling to find solutions to cope with the refugees crisis, dividing itself to the detriment of victims of smugglers, the humanitarian corridors model proves to be effective, as it combines humanity and security. The Italian program is the result of a precious synergy between civil society and institutions, which work together to offer to people who flee wars and to those living in vulnerable conditions the opportunity to reach the EU legally and safely.
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