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Catholics and Protestants together for refugees: bringing 97 into Italy safely with new project

2016-04-07

Europe has put in practice a polemic agreement and has already deported the first refugees from Greece to Turkey. While the old continent believes that in order to solve the refugee crisis it is best to get rid of them, others have an alternative proposal.

MARCO IMPAGLIAZZO
President, Community of Sant'Egidio
"We are viewing this small failure, the failure of the lack of solidarity which is actually a decisive and determining principle in the European Union for those who need international humanitarian  protection.” "Fortunately, today we talk about humanitarian corridors and no walls, barriers and expulsions. We talk about safe ways, this is the heart of our project.”

Catholics and Protestants in Italy have developed a pioneering project. With the collaboration of the Embassy of Lebanon to the Holy See and the Italian government they have managed to bring  97 refugees into Europe in a legal and safe way.

LUCA MARIA NEGRO
President, Federation Evangelical Churches Italy
"We have gone to refugee camps for these people. With the first group that arrived, we have vacated a small camp in Lebanon but we will not abandon them here. We are accompanying these 97 people and they have begun to enroll children scholastically so that they can learn Italian.”

These refugees are comprised of Christian and Muslim families, mostly, with some kind of special need, such as having a serious illness. The promoters are funding the project with their own funds and resources.

MARCO IMPAGLIAZZO
President, Community of Sant'Egidio
"We want this program to become an institutional program. We want these agreements to spread to other States and the rest of European Union. Or that intermixed agreements may arise between the state and civil society. This is what we want. Our goal is not only humanitarian, it is also political.”

They are aware that 97 people are just a small fragment compared to thousands of refugees waiting at the gates of Europe. But since the institutions have failed, they consider their project an example of what occurs when citizens are mobilized to respond to these kinds of humanitarian emergencies.


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