Refugees from Eritrea, Sudan and Somalia will be able to journey ‘safely’ to Europe thanks to a humanitarian corridor between Ethiopia and Italy.
The Italian Bishops’ Conference (CEI) on Thursday
signed an agreement with the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and
International Cooperation foreseeing the opening of the safe space which
will allow vulnerable people who have the right to enter Italy to avoid
the so-called journeys of death that take them across the Sahara desert
and the Mediterranean Sea as they flee violence and persecution.
The news was announced on Wednesday by Archbishop Nunzio Galantino,
Secretary General of CEI, during a press conference for January 15th’s
World Day of Migrants and Refugees.
Archbishop Galantino said the humanitarian corridor is part of the
Church’s project to assist refugees and comes to life in collaboration
with Caritas Italiana, Fondazione Migrantes and the Saint Egidio
He said some five hundred vulnerable Sudanese, Eritrean and Somali
refugees who are currently located in camps in Ethiopia and are in
particularly difficult situations have already been identified.
The project which aims to save lives follows a similar initiative
which has already been successfully implemented by the Community of
Saint Egidio in collaboration with the Waldensian Table.
Thanks to that initiative hundreds of mainly Syrian refugees have
been able to travel to Italy with a humanitarian visa with limited
territorial validity, the costs of which are covered by the associations
Saint Egidio points out that these visas also have the
advantage of increased security because thorough checks are carried out
and digital fingerprints taken.
Archbishop Galantino said the cost of these journeys by plane or
boat, plus accommodation and legal assistance costs, will be covered by
the Italian “eight per thousand” voluntary contribution tax paid to the
Upon arrival in Italy, refugees will be able to take part in an
integration programme, which will include Italian lessons, help with
finding a job and school enrolment for children.