In pursuit of safe haven: More than 100 refugees including Christians from Syria arrive in Italy

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Under the auspices of an Evangelical organization, more than 100 refugees from Syria have arrived in Rome. This arrival was overseen by the Christian Sant’Egidio community and Italy’s evangelical churches under the programme “humanitarian corridors.”

Refugee crisis in Middle East

Under this programme, about 37 Syrian families, have reached Italy. These refugee families also include some Chaldean Christians who had been chosen because of exposure to danger or other issues such as illness etc. Previously, 90 other Syrian families had flown to Rome under the same programme. Before leaving for Italy, these refugees had been taking refuge in a refugee camp in Lebanon.

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The charity organization, Sant’Egidio says it has a goal to facilitate 1,000 refugees in reaching Italy in a period of about over two years. “Through this experience we are saying to our friends at the European Union that Europe cannot be a frightened fortress. Europe has its responsibilities to the world if it wants to continue to call itself Europe, because a Europe with walls is no longer Europe,” Sant’Egidio founder Andrea Riccardi said.

In this regard, a deputy of Italy’s Democratic Party- Khalid Chaouki stated, “Humanitarian corridors are a message of hope for Europe.” He expressed his opinion that the refugees are the people in specially, “vulnerable” states and majority of these include, women with children, elderly, sick and disabled who have been victims of persecution and violence in Syria.

He went on to say that this was the third time that a “corridor” had been actuated and due to the great efforts from Italy’s ministry of foreign affairs, Sant’Egidio, Italy’s Federation of Evangelical Churches and the Waldensian Church. This programme will ensure that people do not undertake the risky route of the Mediterranean in order to reach Europe, and become victims of human traffickers or lose their lives in the sea. “They will go to courses to learn Italian and start a new life, away from the bombs and the Syrian violence,” he stated.