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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Chile: Palestinians look for a new future in South America

Chile: Palestinians look for a new future in South America
A group of 117 Palestinian refugees trapped in the no-man's land between the Syrian and Iraqi borders are migrating to the Chilean capital, Santiago, to begin a new life.

The refugees, expected to arrive in Chile on 17 March, all come from Iraq and some were expelled from Syria after seeking refuge there.

The group are the first of three accepted by the Chilean government after a plea from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
Initially they will get financial help:
"The refugees will be given economic aid for two years, which will decrease as the months go by, and the amount will be proportional to the size of the family", said Gonzalez to AKI.

"This money will take into consideration basic sustenance, healthcare needs, education, job training and recreational activities."

The newly-arrived refugees will be given an intensive one-year Spanish course and will be taught about Chilean society.

Chile is believed to have the largest community of Palestinians outside the Arab world, consisting of five percent of the population.

Palestinians and their descendants, most of them Christian, now number over 300,000 people, making it the largest community outside the Arab world.

Palestinians are also well integrated into Chilean economic, political and cultural life.
It will be interesting to see how the new arrivals adapt to modern Chilean society.

(h/t insubria)


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At 7:29 PM, Blogger Dymphna said...

I was glad to read that the refugees were Christian, simply because it will make their re-location to a nominally Catholic country much easier. I am sure that's why they were booted from Syria, though I must say Syria has somewhat more tolerance in accepting them in the first place.

By the time the Sunnis and Shi'ites are done in Iraq -- the cradle of Judaism and Christianity both -- there will be no infidels left and they'll have to turn on one another. Which I am sure they will. The irony is that the Christians and Jews were there first, and served as dhimmi scribes of Koranic works after the Islam invasion.

Godspeed to the new arrivals in Chile. May they prosper in peace.


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