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Italy is opening a humanitarian corridor for refugees from Eritrea, South Sudan and Somalia with the support of Caritas. An agreement with the Italian government was signed last week.

The women, men and children will come from refugee camps in Ethiopia. Once in Italy, Caritas will help the refugees through the project “Protetto. Rifugiato a casa mia” (Protected: a refugee in my home) which is in its third year of helping house refugees with members of local communities in Italy.

Caritas in Italy is helping refugees from Eritrea, South Sudan and Somalia to find a home.

Caritas in Italy is helping refugees from Eritrea, South Sudan and Somalia to find a home. Copyright: Stefano Schirato for Caritas.

Oliverio Forti, head of Caritas Italy’s migration office, says, “The humanitarian corridor is an opportunity for people who are living in very bad conditions in Ethiopian refugee camps.
Through this mechanism they will arrive to Italy in a safe and legal way. We believe this is the only way to fight against traffickers and to avoid people dying during their migrant journey.” The project will focus on helping refugees find a home, providing Italian lessons and providing job opportunities for better integration into Italian society. Caritas will work alongside the Sant’Egidio charity in welcoming the refugees and helping them find their way in Italian society.

Over 6000 people died trying to cross the Mediterranean in 2016, according to the International Organization for Migration. Refugees and migrants are at high risk of falling into the hands of criminal networks as they try to cross the Mediterranean. They not only pack them onto over-crowded and unsafe boats, demanding large amounts of money for the trip to Europe, but they also sometimes continue to exploit migrants once they are in Europe.

The UN’s refugee agency (UNHCR) says that Ethiopia is home to over 740,000 refugees. This is thought to be the country holding the largest number of refugees in Africa. The refugees chosen for the humanitarian corridor will be those who are particularly vulnerable due to health or other circumstances. The refugees will be chosen with the support of UNHCR.

For further information, please contact Michelle Hough at hough@caritas.va, or by phone: 0039 06 6987 9752/00 39 334 2344 136