A banner at Rome's Fiumicino airport welcoming a group of refugees who arrived thanks to humanitarian corridors | Photo: ARCHIVE/ANSA/ TELENEWS
A banner at Rome's Fiumicino airport welcoming a group of refugees who arrived thanks to humanitarian corridors | Photo: ARCHIVE/ANSA/ TELENEWS

A new protocol of agreement has been signed in Italy for the arrival through humanitarian corridors of 1,200 Afghans who need international protection.

A total of 1,200 Afghans who need international protection will arrive in Italy through humanitarian corridors under a protocol of agreement signed on Thursday last week (November 4).

The event in Rome was attended by Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese, along with representatives of the foreign ministry, Italian Bishops' Conference (CEI), the Community of Sant'Egidio, the Federation of Evangelical Churches (Fcei), the Valdensian Table, social promotion organization Arci, the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the National Institute for Health, Migration and Poverty (NIHMP).

The objective of the agreement is to open legal pathways for Afghan citizens coming from Pakistan, Iran and other countries that have provided initial asylum or countries of transit, over the course of two years, with the possibility of extending the period to 36 months.

Protestant churches will host 200 people, Catholic charity Caritas another 300, S. Egidio 200, Arci 100, while the interior ministry will host 400 people and pay for flights.

'We welcome migrants while other countries don't' - Lamorgese

"This summer military planes took to Italy some 5,000 Afghans," said Lamorgese.

"Today (Thursday) we have signed a protocol of agreement for the arrival of another 1,200 and I hope that, with everyone's commitment, we will reach 2,000. During a recent international meeting, I noticed that not all European countries have the propensity to welcome, to respect human rights. Europe isn't always present, not everybody agreed with hospitality, they said 'let's give them resources but in their home" countries.

The Afghan people, she recalled, "suffered and found themselves in great difficulty. Italy is a welcoming country, we have increased places in the SAI (system of reception and integration) network because it guarantees a different path of integration, with knowledge of the language and respect of rules and the government backed the interior ministry that proposed the initiative."

Humanitarian corridors a model for Europe

Speaking at the signature of the protocol, the president of the Community of Sant'Egidio, Marco Impagliazzo, said that "Italy is a country with a humanitarian calling", stressing that the protocol "is rooted in emotions sparked in Italians in August by the dramatic images coming from Kabul. We wanted to give a response to those who remained in Afghanistan and to those who were able to reach neighboring countries."

"Humanitarian corridors must not be relegated to the space of emergency welfare assistance, charity but should be a good practice for Europe when it will decide to deal with something that isn't a temporary emergency but a momentous turning point," said the president of Fcei, Daniele Garrone.

"Humanitarian corridors represent a safe pathway for those who are forced to flee their land and, at the same time, are a demonstration that governmental and non-governmental institutions, representing civil society, religions can cooperate to find concrete solutions to the drama of migrations. For this reason we hope that humanitarian corridors will become a structural tool to manage migration policies," said Mons Stefano Russo, secretary general of CEI.


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