RFI reports that the northern French city of Lille on Friday welcomed 42 Sudanese refugees who were rescued by the Aquarius humanitarian boat in a ceremony conducted by its Socialist mayor, Martine Aubry. France has agreed to take in 78 of the 630 migrants who were on board the ship, which was denied entry to Malta and Italy in June.
“France has decided to grant you refugee status,” Aubry told the new Lille residents on Friday. “Today this is the end of a long, extremely difficult and painful odyssey for you and, we all hope, the beginning of a better life that we will assist you with.”
She handed them certificates from France’s asylum authority, Ofpra, which grant them refugee status and a 10-year residency permit.