More humanitarian corridors less barges

Report of the side event was held in Geneva in June 2016

"Most humanitarian corridors less barges and less human trafficking" these are the words of the President of the Senate Pietro Grasso, on a visit to Lampedusa on July 9 last year and interviewed on the question of migrants by the newspaper "Avvenire".

Words that are in line with the side event organized by the APG23 International office, held Thursday, June 16 at the Palais des Nations in Geneva. Among the audience were present various NGOs, a number of delegations of States and also the Special Rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children, Maria Grazia Giammarinaro, who expressed words of sincere appreciation for the initiative.

As announced on in the article of the 13th of June , the event presented the pilot project of humanitarian corridors which good practice of International Solidarity (introductory video),  theme on which the APG23 has been fighting for long time. The project, undertaken by the Community of Sant'Egidio, with the collaboration of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Federation of Evangelical Churches and the Tavola Valdese, predicts that within two years 1000 refugees will come to Italy from Lebanon, Morocco and Ethiopia through airline tickets and provided with a regular humanitarian visa .

The event was attended by several speakers: the Apostolic Nuncio Ivan Jurkovic, representative of the Holy See in Geneva, Cesare Zucconi for the Community of Sant'Egidio, the Minister Plenipotentiary Alberto Bertoni for the italian Permanent Mission to the United Nations, the Independent Expert on International Solidarity Virginia Dandan and the representative of Operation Dove in one of the refugee camps in Lebanon, Alberto Capannini (text of the speech)

The project born from the desire to do something, to take the initiative in the face of innumerable and daily tragedies of people who risk their lives crossing the sea, people who have the only "fault" to escape from wars, violence and extreme poverty. As noted by the Nuncio, the Pope has recently called on Europe to promote stronger solidarity that are the engine of their actions, but solidarity is not intended as a mere philanthropic assistance, but conceived as a means to create real opportunities for all to live with dignity. The challenge calls us to a real cultural integration that will break down the barriers of indifference. Even the intervention of the Minister Bertoni has highlighted how the project contributes to protecting the dignity of persons and to build inclusive and tolerant society where equality and human rights are valued and respected.

Zucconi has highlighted the practical benefits of such a handling of the issue of migrants. Humanitarian corridors are safer because the migrants do not face dangerous journeys by sea. In addition, the recognition of refugee status takes place as quickly as migrants have already been verified and qualified as vulnerable before departure. Collaboration between institutions and civil society is crucial: the refugees are then greeted by the promoting organizations, including the APG23, in families, parishes and other institutions. This lowers the costs of the state and especially to achieve genuine integration with the Italian civil community. The project is replicable throughout the Schengen area, in accordance with Article 25 on permits with limited territorial validity of Regulation 810/2009 of the European Parliament. Not surprisingly, it is the recent news that the Polish Church is seeking an agreement with the Warsaw government to open a humanitarian corridor in the country.

The testimony and heartfelt first-person Capannini has deeply impressed the participants. The Operation Dove volunteers has stood the demands of the Syrians with whom he lives every day in the refugee camp in Lebanon (in the north of the country, 5 km from the Syrian border, near the village of Tel Aabbas). In particular requests are three: the end of the war in Syria with its repudiation as a means of conflict resolution; the opening of secure humanitarian areas to encourage the return of civilians to their countries; Finally the opening of other humanitarian corridors, as an alternative to certain death in the sea voyages.

The project has also received recognition of the Independent Expert Virginia Dandan which, invited to speak on the subject of International Solidarity, did not want to read the speech he had prepared, but rather preferred to freely express words of thanks and praise for such a project, coming to say that he would have disclosed anywhere, taking it as an example of good practice to be replicated. And so it did soon after the event: during the plenary of the Human Rights Council, in front of all States present in Room XX, he quoted our side event, stating that he wished they had listened to all the States and met this experience (retail 1:48:25 Virginia Dandan speaks of the side event). In his view, the good practices of solidarity which show that there are people who do not turn their backs on the suffering of mankind, are lights of hope that must be shared.

And so we try to do at APG23.

Giorgia Pavan

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