The French government launched a program in March to open its first humanitarian corridors to Middle Eastern refugees. Five Christian charity organisations have signed an agreement to transfer 500 Syrian and Iraqi refugees from Lebanon to France over the next 18 months in cooperation with the French government.

ECRE has consistently pointed out the grave consequences of the lack of safe and legal channels for people in need of protection and welcomes the program that has many advantages – allowing refugees to safely travel to France by plane and thereby avoiding the dangerous and often fatal Mediterranean Sea route. At the same time the program will reduce the profits of the human traffickers taking advantage of migrants with no legal alternatives.

One month ago, the Court of Justice of the European Union has ruled that Member States are not required, under EU law, to grant a humanitarian visas to persons who wish to enter their territory with an intend to apply for asylum, but they remain free to do so on the basis of their national law. France is the second European country, after Italy, to open humanitarian corridors.

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Photo: (cc) Ani Bashar