A group of Syrian refugees from Lebanon arriving at Fiumicino | Photo: ARCHIVE/ANSA/TELENEWS
A group of Syrian refugees from Lebanon arriving at Fiumicino | Photo: ARCHIVE/ANSA/TELENEWS

Among the refugees who arrived at Rome airport from Lebanon were several children. This latest flight brings the total number of refugees welcomed through humanitarian corridors to more than 2,500.

The refugees landed at Rome's Fiumicino Airport on June 4. 

They were brought to Italy as part of the human corridors project.

This initiative is sponsored by the Federation of Evangelical Churches in Italy (FCEI), the Community of Sant'Egidio, and the Waldensian Round Table, in collaboration with the interior and foreign ministries.

Shortly after the flight's arrival around 7 a.m., the refugees began identification procedures as well as the first steps in reception.

The refugees were officially welcomed by Marco Impagliazzo, the president of the Community of Sant'Egidio; Luca Maria Negro, the president of FCEI; and Alessandra Trotta of the Waldensian Round Table; together with representatives from the interior and foreign ministries.

Over 2,500 received in Europe with corridors

The 58 Syrian refugees will be hosted in various regions by associations, parishes, communities, and families, who have in some cases also offered their homes, in order to begin their integration process. The adults will start classes to learn Italian soon, while children will be enrolled in schools. Job placement will begin once the migrants have received refugee status.

What are humanitarian corridors?

This civil society initiative is completely self-financed and began in Italy, but has also been adopted by other countries. Vulnerable refugees are brought to Italy when a "guarantor" (usually a private organization or person) agrees to provide lodging and support to them. Since February 2016, more than 2,000 people have arrived in Italy (over 1,500 from Lebanon and another 500 from Ethiopia), in addition to about 500 who have arrived in France, Belgium, and Andorra.

You can read more on what the humanitarian corridors are and how refugees sent to Europe through them are selected here.

Deputy foreign minister says Italy offers opportunities

At the welcoming ceremony for the 58 refugees, Deputy Foreign Minister Emanuela Del Re praised the humanitarian corrisors project. 

She told the refugees: "This is the most wonderful part of... the humanitarian corridors: The fact that there's a life plan and that Italy offers you the opportunity for a better existence together with us Italians, that your children who will grow up together with ours... You have gone through many difficult experiences, but finally you are here. We are very happy to welcome you because we are all a big family." 

She also said that she wants humanitarian corridors to be established in more EU countries: "We believe so much [in this project] that we would like to bring it to Europe; we want to make sure that other countries understand that this is truly a good model."


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