Rome – October 31, 2018 (NEV/CS40) – This evening Ahmed was reunited with his wife and his 5 children – 2 of them, one 2.5-year-old and another 3-year-old, with thalassaemia. The family has been welcomed by the Casa delle Culture of Scicli, a structure of the FCEI part of the MH programme for refugees and migrants Mediterranean Hope . This young mother with 5 children arrived in Italy in May with a previous humanitarian corridor, Ahmed has arrived today with this last corridor that has brought to 1400 the number of people arrived through a safe and legal way from Lebanon.
“Today we celebrate an ecumenical feast, since as Catholics and Protestants we have created an experiment never seen before. And it is not only a celebration of ecumenism, but of inter-religious dialogue, because we have also welcomed many Muslims as Christians. But this feast is not enough for us: today we celebrate the feast of humanity, because we are trying to restore life and hope You are here not for a privilege, but for a right sanctioned by our Constitution that protects victims of persecution, violence and war. This is why we also welcome you as Italian citizens”, Paolo Naso, MH coordinator said to the 82 refugees, including 28 under 14 years of age who have landed this morning at 6 am in Fiumicino via the Alitalia AZ827 flight from Beirut.
“In the next days, an important conference on Libya will be held in Palermo. This is the proposal that we promote as a civil society: to develop a European-wide reception model starting from the humanitarian corridors. We want tens of thousands of humanitarian corridors and a large corridor from Libya. The humanitarian corridors are not just a model for entering Italy and Europe, but a model of integration” Mr. Naso said.
Welcomed by representatives of the promoter associations, government authorities and journalists, these Syrian refugees have arrived in Italy thanks to Humanitarian Corridors, safe and legal way with humanitarian visas issued to vulnerable individuals. Their stay in the territory has been arranged according to the philosophy of “diffused reception” inside the structures of the sponsoring organisations – FCEI, Waldensian Board and Community of Sant’Egidio – and their partners.
For this arrival, the reception by the FCEI and Diaconia Valdese concerns 42 people including 17 under 14 years of age. In all, these are 16 families and 12 individuals, including Ahmed. Many are the cities involved: Turin, Rome, Milan, Messina, Perugia, Biella, Padua, Reggio Calabria and Gioiosa Jonica. Strong is the ecumenical commitment of this project, which also involve the collaboration for the reception of families arrived yesterday with the corridors from Ethiopia promoted by the Community of Sant’Egidio, the Italian Bishops’ Conference (CEI) and the Italian Caritas. A group from Somalia and another one from Sudan will in fact be welcomed by Protestant structures.
Giovannella Scifo, responsible for the Casa delle Culture, said to NEV agency: “The children spent the summer here studying Italian. The little girls have started the school and we are working to make families socialize. The two children are in charge at the thalassemia Centre of Ragusa, excellence in Italy for this type of treatment, and they have responded well to the transfusions”.
“Sant’Egidio, the Waldensian Church and the Italian Protestants have shared feelings of horror for the war in Syria, for this we have conceived together the model of the humanitarian corridors and this is the proposal we make to Italy and Europe” Andrea Riccardi, the founder of the Community of Sant’Egidio, said.
Also, Donatella Candura, representing the Ministry of the Interior was at the airport thanking all the people involved in the humanitarian corridors including the police.
A greeting was from Yasmine, a Syrian women landed via the first Humanitarian Corridor on February 10, 2016.
The Humanitarian corridors, launched in Italy in 2016 with the collaboration of the Ministries of the Interior and Foreign Affairs are a model replicated also in France, Belgium and Andorra, with the participation of societies, institutions and religious communities of different faiths.