(photo credit: JPOST STAFF)
The French government and Christian charities launched on Tuesday an effort to bring 500 Syrian and Iraqi refugees to France to prevent them from turning to taking dangerous sea crossings into Europe through traffickers.
An agreement signed in Paris at the Elysee presidential palace called for vulnerable refugees to be brought from Lebanon in the coming 18 months as part of the project.
"Europe and France are facing an unprecedented wave of refugees, because of its scale and because of its causes. Everything is adding up - there are wars, especially in Iraq and Syria; there are conflicts, that we must not forget, in Africa, Sudan, South-Sudan; there are acts of violence, committed in a certain number of countries that we recognize, such as Eritrea; and then, there is well terrorism or fanaticism, driving people to leave their homes to look for safety and tranquility in Europe," French President Francois Hollande said.
At the initiative of the Catholic charity the Community of Sant'Egidio in Italy, an ecumenical alliance of Christian groups have come together to help resettle refugees in Europe. The effort has already resettled hundreds of people in Italy, getting children enrolled in schools and finding housing, jobs and language classes for parents.