BRUSSELS, NOVEMBER 22 – Safe, legal access for asylum-seekers through “humanitarian corridors” arrives in Belgium, after being experimented by Italy and France. A memorandum of understanding was signed in Brussels last 22 November by Theo Francken, Belgium’s asylum and migration minister, Cardinal Jozef De Kesel, Archbishop of Brussels, and Hilde Kieboom, Vice-President of the Community of Sant’Egidio in the European country. On the basis of this agreement, 150 Syrians will reach Belgium in the next months from the refugee camps in Lebanon and Turkey, where they currently live.
The migrants access to Europe will follow the guidelines of the “humanitarian corridors”, the initiative established in Italy by the Community of Sant’Egidio, the (Federation of Evangelical Churches in Italy (FCEI) and the Waldesian and Methodist Churches. The aim is to create an additional legal access channel for especially vulnerable asylum-seekers and preventing migrants to be smuggled across the Mediterranean sea, where thousands people have lost their lives, including many children.
Once in Italy the Syrian refugees – chosen according to vulnerability criteria (victims of persecution, torture and violence, families with children, single women, elderly people, sick people, people with disabilities) – will be hosted in Christian churches, that will also support them in their social integration path, from language teaching to work placement.
Great appreciation for the Belgian government’s decision and the commitment of the Churches of Belgium in the Italian project was expressed by Marco Impagliazzo, President of the Community of Sant’Egidio. “Belgium is taking an important step forward in the implementation, all over Europe, of the humanitarian corridors, that give an important contribution to face the drama of refugees fleeing wars, combining solidarity, security and integration”. (@OnuItalia)