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.