Rome (NEV), 26 January 2017 – The youngest was born one month ago. Her name is Stéphanie and she is Syrian, but was born just a few kilometres north of Beirut (Lebanon). On 30 January, together with her family, she will arrive at Fiumicino by air and not by boat, as part of the “humanitarian corridors” project. She will not be subjected to the abuse of traffickers but will arrive in complete safety with another forty people – women, the sick, elderly and children – mainly from Aleppo, Homs and Damascus. The promoters of the “corridors” – the Federation of Protestant Churches in Italy, Community of Sant’Egidio and Waldensian Board – will be waiting for them at dawn on Monday.
Once in Italy, the families will be relocated to different parts of the peninsula, guests of facilities made available by the promotors of the project and their partners. This particular group will be looked after by the Community of Sant’Egidio, the next, expected by the end of February, will be assisted by the Diaconia Valdese.
Throughout 2016, the pilot project – now an established practice – has brought 500 refugees to Italy, mostly Syrians. The protocol signed by the promotors with the Ministry of Interior and Foreign Affairs provides for a total of 1,000 beneficiaries. A channel from Morocco is also expected to open shortly.
Only one year ago, on 4 February 2016, the first gate to Europe was opened with the arrival in Fiumicino of little Falak, suffering from cancer, and his family. It marked a different way of receiving refugees, allowing anyone with the requirements to exercise their right to international protection.
Like Falak, who today, together with his brother, attends an elementary school in Rome, Stéphanie will also legally and safely enter Italy with a humanitarian visa issued by the Italian Embassy of Beirut. The promoters want to encourage other European countries to do the same. For now, only France is serious about wanting to launch a similar project.