The Spanish territory unfortunately has witnessed many preventable tragedies due to unsafe #migration routes and lengthy application processes in the last couple of years.
According to the International Organisation for Migration, 1,000 of the 5,800 deaths on migration routes were recorded on the Atlantic route to the Canary Islands. In their report, the group #CaminandoFronteras also counted the deaths of people whose bodies had not been recovered but whose families reported their departure from the #African coast. Based on their calculation, there were 4,016 deaths on the #Atlantic route in 2021 (around 12 people a day). Caminando Fronteras has drawn attention to the direct link between the sharp increase in refugee casualties while on the route and the #EU’s efforts to curb migration in the Mediterranean. This has forced #asylumseekers and #refugees to attempt the journey to the #CanaryIslands, one of the most dangerous crossings into #Europe.
The situation for those who survived the dangerous sea journey to these Spanish provinces is not improved. Just earlier this year, 400 asylum seekers were being held in overcrowded and insalubrious facilities in Lanzarote, despite a brand-new European-funded camp being available nearby. One police source voiced his opinion on this inhumane treatment in the following terms: “It is inexplicable that there is a place next to the police station, near the port where the migrant boats arrive, yet we have to keep people inside a warehouse full of vermin in the middle of a road.”
#Spain has witnessed some positive and vital initiatives on a local level, such as the #ICORN Cities of Refuge, a network of cities and regions offering long-term temporary refuge to persecuted writers and artists, or regionally, such as the Euskadi Social Pact for Migration. However, the Spanish government should create a faster and more efficient asylum process and increase resources for reception centres. Furthermore, the government should also work on improving public opinion towards refugees through #education and awareness campaigns.