Rome (NEV), 30 June 2016 – On June 15th, through a bipartisan motion, the Swiss Parliament asked its government “to do everything in its power” to establish “humanitarian corridors.” The motion, put forward by the Genevan socialist Carlo Sommaruga and signed by MPs of different factions, refers explicitly to the Italian pilot project carried out by the Federation of Protestant Churches in Italy (FCEI), the Waldensian Board and the Community of Sant’Egidio. The signatories of the motion say that the mechanism implemented by the promoters of the humanitarian corridors in collaboration with the Italian government has been operating successfully for several months.
“We are very happy to hear this news – said pastor Luca Maria Negro, FCEI president – because it acknowledges the functionality, practicality and value of the humanitarian corridors. A small alliance like that between the FCEI, Waldensian Board and Sant’Egidio, had the distinction of identifying a legal and financially sustainable way to guarantee safe passage to refugees and vulnerable people concentrated in some areas of North Africa and the Middle East. This was our aim and we are pleased that we receive positive feedback every day. The theme is now also in the European political agenda and it is up to all of us – churches, ecumenical movements, faith communities, associations and institutions already involved in the project – to ask for an expansion of the humanitarian corridors already in place and the generalisation to other countries in the Schengen area”.
Even though the signatories of the Swiss parliamentary motion say that “for now, the numbers are small, this mechanism nevertheless allows saving lives,” and they also pointed out that “the project is designed so as to be duplicated by all Schengen countries, also Switzerland can therefore take up the model”. For Sommaruga, the values of this project correspond to Switzerland’s humanitarian tradition. The federal government has until the autumn session of Parliament to take a stand.