46 Syrian refugees, including some minors, who have spent a long time living in refugee camps in the Akkar region, in the Bekaa Valley and in precarious lodgings on the outskirts of Beirut, landed this morning at Fiumicino on a flight from Beirut.
They arrived in Italy - at a very difficult time for Lebanon due to the neighbouring Israeli-Palestinian conflict - thanks to the Humanitarian Corridors promoted by the Community of Sant'Egidio, the Federation of Evangelical Churches in Italy and the Waldensian Table, in agreement with the Ministries of the Interior and Foreign Affairs. Since February 2016 the project has brought 2,700 people to safety in Italy from Lebanon. In total, more than 6,500 refugees have entered Europe with the Humanitarian Corridors.
The families who arrived this morning will be welcomed in seven Italian regions (Latium, Sicily, Calabria, Piedmont, Veneto, Campania, Tuscany), partly by their relatives, who arrived in previous Humanitarian Corridors and have now integrated well in our country, and partly in accommodation provided by Italian families and associations. These will accompany them along a path of integration, learning the Italian language and helping them to enter the world of work, once refugee status will be obtained.
The entirely self-financed humanitarian corridors are a civil society initiative that shows how it is possible to combine protection from risky sea voyages - and therefore from human traffickers - together with reception and integration. An internationally recognised best practice that can become a model for the entire European Union. At a time marked by the proliferation of wars, they are a concrete response for vulnerable individuals and families who have the right to be protected and to whom life and hope for the future must be offered.