In the latest resettlement of Syrian refugees from Lebanon, through the Humanitarian Corridors project, 113 people arrived in Rome on Wednesday by plane. Thus far, the civil society project has helped bring 1,800 people to Italy.
Some 113 Syrian refugees arrived at Fiumicino airport, near the Italian capital, Wednesday, November 27 from Lebanon. Among the arrivals were 50 minors.
Their arrival in Italy was made possible by the Humanitarian Corridors project, which is sponsored by the Comunità di Sant'Egidio, the Federation of Protestant Churches in Italy (FCEI) and the Waldensian Church (an ascetic Christian movement). The project works alongside the Italian interior and foreign ministries.
Over 1,800 people have arrived in Italy through this entirely self-financed civil society project, which uses funds raised by Sant'Egidio and through tax contributions devolved to the Waldensian and Methodist churches.
In late September, 91 Syrian refugees arrived in Rome from Lebanon.
'Corridors' created by Church and State
Calling the project a "safe way of arriving in Italy," FCEI deputy chairperson Christiane Groeben said FCEI and the other two representatives of Italy's civil society created the Humanitarian Corridors together with the Italian government.
"In February 2016, I was already here when the doors of the international arrivals hall in Fiumicino opened to let in the first Syrian family that arrived from Beirut thanks to the humanitarian corridors," she said at Fiumicino airport.
"Only at that point did we realize this project works," Groeben added.
Although there is this "legal and safe way" to welcome people, forced to leave their homes due to war, "very few" countries have adopted this system of humanitarian corridors," she said. However, "many churches," including Germany's Protestant Church, now support the project, she added.
Government: Italy plays 'leading role in corridors'
During a press conference to mark the arrival of the 113 refugees, Deputy Prefect Donatella Candura stressed Italy's "leading role" in the Humanitarian Corridors project.
"This is ... the result of a large amount of teamwork involving Italian embassies, several police departments as well as the interior, foreign and health ministries," she said.
This collaborative work "made it possible to achieve excellent results, and this corridor model is now being adopted by other EU countries," Candura added.