The Italian Vice Deputy for Foreign Affairs, Marina Sereni, welcomes a group of refugees at Fiumicino airport, 25 July, 2022 | Photo: ARCHIVE/ANSA/Telenews
The Italian Vice Deputy for Foreign Affairs, Marina Sereni, welcomes a group of refugees at Fiumicino airport, 25 July, 2022 | Photo: ARCHIVE/ANSA/Telenews

Humanitarian corridors bring new groups of asylum seekers to Italy and Belgium from Cyprus and Lebanon, with the last legs of the initiative carried out by the Sant' Egidio Community.

New groups of asylum seekers have arrived in Italy and Belgium via humanitarian corridors organized by the Sant' Egidio Community.

On Wednesday morning (October 5) ten asylum seekers arrived at Rome's Fiumicino airport from Nicosia on the island of Cyprus, where they spent several months in migrant camps. Cyprus has the highest per capita number of asylum seekers in Europe.

The refugees who arrived in Italy will be hosted in Rome by Sant'Egidio, following Pope Francis' trip to Cyprus in December 2021.

At the same time a new humanitarian corridor opens up in Belgium reported to allow for the arrival of 250 people.

Sixteen people, all of them Syrian nationals and six of them minors, arrived at Brussels airport this week. All of them had been refugees in Lebanon for years.

The chance of a new life in Italy

The one on October 5 is just the most recent refugee arrival in Italy organized through the humanitarian corridors project. The previous arrival took place on September 30, with two flights from Athens carrying 27 asylum seekers coming from countries where conflicts are currently raging, in some cases for decades, such as Syria, Congo, Sudan and Cameroon.

Many of the asylum seekers spent long periods of time in refugee camps on the Greek islands, such as Moria on the island of Lesbos.

The humanitarian corridors project is based on a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the Sant' Egidio Community and the Italian interior ministry which permits asylum seekers to enter Italy safely and legally.

The MOU is designed to pay particular attention to safeguarding the most vulnerable, such as large family units and unaccompanied minors.

The refugees -- among them women traveling alone with their children -- were sheltered in Rome and supported with the goal of integrating them in the country: for children this takes place by registering them in school, for adults this means learning the Italian language and, once they obtain the refugee status, by starting to work.

Europe has welcomed 5,200 refugees, 4,450 are in Italy

Overall, the humanitarian corridor system has reportedly allowed a total of 5,200 refugees to reach Europe so far: of these 4,450 are in Italy.

In addition, 1,800 Ukrainian citizens were also taken in by Sant' Egidio's Community in different European countries. "All of this thanks to projects that are entirely self-funded and the generosity, not just of associations, but also of religious congregations and parishes as well as Italian citizens who offered their homes and support pro bono," highlights Sant' Egidio.

 

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