A first group of 107 "highly vulnerable" Syrian refugees arrived by plane in northern Germany today from Lebanon as part of a program to temporarily house 5,000 refugees, the U.N. Refugee Agency reports.
The group included 30 men, 40 women, and 35 children. They will stay together for 14 days and receive cultural orientation courses before being sent to various locations throughout Germany.
"I think that for humanitarian reasons, no government in Europe can afford to ignore our example," said Interior Minister Hans-Peter Freidrich, who welcomed the refugees.
For us it was important to send a clear signal that we believe we can no longer have the refugees in camps on the Syrian border. Rather, we must accept at least a part of them.
The program is part of a larger U.N. initiative to relocate Syrian refugees. So far 10 countries have offered resettlement places: Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. The United States is "willing to consider unspecified number of cases," according to the U.N. Refugee Agency.