A welcome sign for a group of refugees who arrived in Rome via a humanitarian corridor | Photo: ANSA/TELENEWS
A welcome sign for a group of refugees who arrived in Rome via a humanitarian corridor | Photo: ANSA/TELENEWS

In Italy, the government and a number of Christian organizations have signed a deal that will allow for 1,000 refugees to be transferred primarily from Lebanon over the next two years.

A new protocol was signed on August 5 by representatives from the Community of Sant'Egidio, the Federation of Evangelical Churches in Italy (Fcei), the Waldensian Table and the Italian interior and foreign affairs ministries. It allows for the transfer of 1,000 additional refugees to Italy through humanitarian corridors.

The beneficiaries will be selected by the associations in Lebanon and in other countries of transit, according to a statement released by Sant'Egidio.

What are humanitarian corridors?

Humanitarian corridors allow for non-state organizations -- often Evangelical and Catholic Christian charities -- to relocate refugees to their country, if they fund and organize the refugees' stay and integration. The model was invented and first implemented in Italy, but has also been introduced in several other countries, in particular in France, Belgium, Andorra and San Marino.

According to a Sant'Egidio press release, over 2,000 refugees -- most of them from Syria -- reached Italy safely and legally after two humanitarian corridor agreements were signed by Italian authorities in 2015 and 2017.

Read more: One teen migrant's story: Torture and tuberculosis in Libya, then saved by humanitarian corridor

3,700 refugees transferred to European countries

"The signature of the new agreement for the arrival of 1,000 vulnerable refugees in Italy in the coming two years is an event of great importance", said Marco Impagliazzo, the president of the Community of Sant’Egidio. "Five years have passed since the first protocol created humanitarian corridors... We thank the ministries of interior and foreign affairs for once again believing in the model of humanitarian corridors... which has so far guaranteed the hosting and integration of 3,700 refugees from Lebanon, the Horn of Africa and the Greek island of Lesbos, not only in Italy, but also in France, Belgium, San Marino and Andorra."


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