On October 23, 20 people arrived in Rome from Cyprus through Humanitarian Corridors organized by the Community of Sant'Egidio in partnership with the Italian government (Italian interior and foreign ministries). Prior to this, 11 Afghan nationals had also arrived from Pakistan through the same initiative.
These people, including refugees from Afghanistan and other conflict-affected African countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, Cameroon, and Somalia, had spent long periods of time in the Pournara refugee camp near Nicosia, Cyprus. The camp was visited by Pope Francis in December 2021.
For two consecutive summers, over 200 youths from the Community of Sant'Egidio from different European countries spent their holidays in this camp, organising a 'Friendship Restaurant' as well as Italian and English language courses for adults and young people, educational and recreational activities for the many children at the camp.
After their arrival in Rome, both the individuals and family units - including a five-year-old child and a nine-month-old infant - will be hosted in various italian regions (Lazio, Marche and Sicily) and receive assistance with integration, including language learning and employment support.
Overall, the humanitarian corridor initiative has brought around 6,500 refugees to Europe, with over 5,600 finding refuge in Italy.