Italian church groups are planning to bring as many as 1,000 refugees to Italy from a camp in Lebanon. According to ABC News, the refugees will be granted humanitarian visas so they will not risk crossing the Mediterranean Sea to reach safety.
To execute the mission, a group of about 100 of the most vulnerable refugees will be flown to Italy to begin the asylum process. They will be provided with shelter, healthcare, and education and vocational assistance. About 900 refugees will follow the same process after the most vulnerable have been assisted.
The Waldensian evangelical church is primarily sponsoring the mission, with assistance from the Catholic Sant’Egidio Community.
Sant’Egidio Community president Marco Impagliazzo said, "It's an exemplary agreement to avoid the 'voyages of death' and exploitation by traffickers.”
The project has been approved by the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees. UNHCR spokesperson Carlotta Sami said that the group encourages other countries to follow suit.
"We are very, very positive and we hope that more countries will decide to follow these examples," Sami said.
Publication date: January 21, 2016