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Wednesday Sept. 8, 2010 5:14 PM (EST+7)
Palestinian refugees arrive in Italy from Iraq

Read more: Palestinian refugees, refugees, asylum, Italy

RAMALLAH, Sept. 8 (JMCC) - A small town on the coast of Italy that has transformed itself as a hub for refugees is now opening its doors to 200 Palestinian refugees from Iraq, reports the Financial Times.

Yet, despite the warm reception, a lack of jobs in the area is providing hard times for the new residents.

...Fleeing persecution by Shia forces in Iraq after the US invasion, the Palestinians were among 2,000 who took refuge in Syria and were later interned by the government in a camp in no-man’s land on the border.

After two years of enduring what the United Nations refugee agency described as “desperate conditions”, they were finally taken in by several European countries, all offering different solutions.

“We were very hesitant to accept Italy as a destination,” says Samih, a 32-year-old businessman. “Promises were made, but conditions in Scandinavian countries were far better. Even Chile has a more appealing programme”.

It is the first resettlement experiment of this kind for Italy, which is offering the refugees two years of financial support.

Samih has lived in Libya, Iraq and Syria. In each country he was able to set up a business, opening clothing shops and managing a bar. His mother died after they came to Italy in January and he now lives in an apartment with his brother. “This place is really welcoming and Mimmo is available and ready to provide for all our needs, but we worry because I can see that there is no work,” he says.

Samih and the other heads of some 40 families worry about being dependent, fearing they will be destitute when support runs out...

Read more at the Financial Times...






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