Last week marked the first transfer of Syrian refugees from Lebanon to Andorra as part of a humanitarian corridors project by the country alongside the Comunità di Sant'Egidio.
Last week, Andorra welcomed its first two Syrian families from Lebanon as part of a memorandum for the opening of humanitarian corridors to the country. The two families, with four parents and three children, will live in Andorra la Vella and Sant Julia de Lloria.
The memorandum was signed by signed by the Comunità di Sant'Egidio and the principality of Andorra. ''Reception and integration will be possible thanks to the protection of the Andorra government and the generosity of parishes, associations and civil society including individuals, who are all volunteering,'' Sant'Egidio wrote in a statement. Some 20 refugees will be taken in over a two-year period.
First families arrived on Thursday
The first two families arrived on Thursday on a direct flight from Beirut to Barcelona before riding a bus to Andorra. ''We are fleeing war,'' one said, speaking on all their behalf, ''and we are going towards a country of peace. To Andorra, the country that has welcomed us and where a better future stands before us, we say thank you with all our hearts.''
For the opening of the humanitarian corridors, the Andorra parliament had to pass a law for temporary and transitory protection for humanitarian reasons, the "llei de protecció temporal i transitòria per raons humanitàries". This law created the legislative framework for the creation of humanitarian corridors in a country that does not belong to the EU or the Schengen area.
Humanitarian corridors project
The first humanitarian corridors were set up in Italy in February 2016 by the Comunità di Sant'Egidio and the Italian Protestant Churches in accordance with the interior and foreign affairs ministries. ''The project has become a model across all Europe, with other countries already undertaking the same path that combines solidarity and security: Belgium, France, San Marino and now Andorra,'' Sant'Egidio said in the statement.