Syrian refugees at a camp in Mohammara, Akkar province, northern Lebanon | Photo: EPA/Nabil Mounzer
Syrian refugees at a camp in Mohammara, Akkar province, northern Lebanon | Photo: EPA/Nabil Mounzer

The UN agencies UNHCR and IOM reported that 88 refugees have been resettled from Lebanon to Italy this week. The refugees are part of 17 Syrian families who fled the conflict in their country.

A reported 88 refugees on Wednesday morning landed at Rome's Fiumicino airport as part of the National Resettlement Program, the UN refugee agency UNHCR and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said. The refugees are members of 17 Syrian families who fled the conflict in their country and lived for a few years in Lebanon. 


According to a joint statement issued by UNHCR and IOM, the resettled refugees include adults and minors with complex medical conditions that require specialized care. 

Italy resettled 2,307 refugees since 2015 

The arrival of the group brings to 2,307 the number of refugees admitted by Italy from Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Sudan, Syria and Libya since 2015, when the Italian resettlement program started. The refugees will be admitted as part of projects of the Italian system of protection for beneficiaries of international protection and unaccompanied foreign minors (Siproimi), to start their integration process. The National Resettlement Program is promoted by the Italian government with the support of UNHCR, IOM and other institutional actors.

Roland Schilling, UNHCR Regional Representative to Southern Europe, said ''resettlement is an effective tool of protection for people most at risk and constitutes a tangible mechanism of solidarity between governments to share the responsibility in responding to the refugee crisis in the whole world." Resettlement ''allows those fleeing wars, violence and persecution to reach another country in a legal and safe way without having to undertake a dangerous trip, risking their and their dear ones' lives to seek refuge in another country'', said Federico Soda, Director of the Coordination Office for the Mediterranean at IOM. 

UNHCR urges Italy's increasing involvement 

The UN agencies recalled that the number of refugees is on the rise worldwide as conflicts continue to rage. Many refugees cannot return home and live in a precarious situation in the countries that first hosted them - 85 percent in fact live in developing countries. UNHCR estimates that over 1.44 million people will need to be resettled in 2020. 

According to the organization, despite progress over the last few years, the possibility of resettlement currently allowed by States is insufficient to meet demand. UNHCR recognized what Italian authorities have done so far with the current program, expressing the wish that they will widen and consolidate the resettlement program in Italy and in the other countries involved, given the growing need worldwide. 
 

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