“Denied on right of asylum as well as subsidiary protection. “A concise but forceful resolution, contained in a document with the letterhead of the Ministry of the Interior, has left Isabel mired in fear and uncertainty. This Colombian activist arrived in Spain fleeing certain death and hoping to find international protection that has been denied.
“My work permit has been taken away and I am in an irregular situation. I cannot return to my country because if I come back they will kill me. I have relayed it to the Asylum Office with evidence. What else do they ask for? What else do I have to show for them to believe me? “, This social and indigenous leader cries out in despair, who was placed in the spotlight by the fight for the rights of her people and women. The threats, the use of of her children and finally the murder of a companion in her own home led her to make the difficult decision to leave her land: “You realize that you are leaving or you die. You cannot report. ”
From Ceuta and melilla to the Canary Islands
The CEAR report indicates that the pandemic caused a “very notable reduction” in the arrival of migrants to Ceuta and Melilla. With data from 2020 – the document does not include the entry of more than 8,000 people that took place last month – the decrease in the first was 62% and in the second, 75%. The organization denounces that despite this drop there were at least 212 hot returns. Along with this, he affirms that “the most worrying thing about what happened in Spain in 2020” was the migratory crisis unleashed in the Canary Islands, with the arrival of more than 23,000 people; especially since August, when the Arguineguín dock was turned into a makeshift camp “in which hundreds of migrants were crowded under inhuman conditions.” “Migration policies that include an agile, transparent system of transfers to the peninsula are necessary, without discrimination based on nationality, with a solidarity distribution throughout the Spanish territory, as well as modifying the protocols of attention to minors”, proposes CEAR.
The testimony of this woman serves to give voice to a circumstance that, far from being exceptional, sets the general tone. This is how it is collected in the nineteenth annual report that HAVE DINNER presented this Friday, on the occasion of the celebration on Sunday of World Refugee Day. The document denounces that of the 114,919 files that were resolved in 2020, only 5,745 – 5% – obtained an affirmative answer, compared to the 33% average registered by the EU. This is a similar percentage to that of 2019, which already represented a strong year-on-year decrease of 24%.
The Spanish Commission for Refugee Aid highlights that at least the residence authorization for humanitarian reasons to about 41,000 people, 99% of them originally from Venezuela. This measure allows you to reside and work temporarily in Spain, but it does not involve aid.
Also noteworthy is the significant streamlining of the resolution of claims. Those almost 115,000 are double those of the previous year -60,198- and almost ten times more than those of 2018 -11,875-. In this way, the volume of people waiting for the result of their petition was reduced by more than 20%, although in December there were still 103,385.
In a year that the president of the NGO, Carlos Berzosa, has defined as “lights and shadows”, the number of applicants for international protection fell by 25%, going from 118,264 to 88,762. This fall put an end to the uninterrupted increase that had been taking place since 2012. The global health crisis closed borders and limited mobility, but despite this, 2020 was the second year with the most requests in the historical series.
“The persistence of obstacles access to the procedure, accentuated as a result of the pandemic. The strict confinement of the spring led to the suspension of all face-to-face procedures before the Asylum Office and the competent police stations. As of June, the situation began to normalize, although the difficulties derived from the measures adopted to prevent the transmission of Covid added new obstacles, “the report indicates. Against this, the document highlights the Government’s measures in favor of applicants, such as the extension of expired documentation during the state of alarm or the possibility of prolonging the stay in reception centers.
risk your life in the sea
In 2020, 40,106 people tried to reach the Spanish coasts, 14,000 more than in 2019. More than half, 23,000, did so through the dangerous Atlantic route. One in four migrants who arrived by sea in Europe did so through the Canary Islands, after clandestinely leaving Morocco, Western Sahara, Mauritania or even Senegal. At least 850 died in the attempt, an estimated minimum figure, according to data from the International Organization for Migration. They accounted for almost half of all the deaths of people who tried to reach European shores throughout the year. Irregular arrivals by sea represented 96% of the total.
“The pandemic has increased movement restrictions, leaving thousands of people trapped in unsafe countries. Faced with this situation it is more urgent than ever for Spain to activate legal and safe channels, such as resettlement, humanitarian visas, the request for asylum in embassies and consular representations and the facilitation of family reunification “, has claimed the director of CEAR, Estrella Galán, who has also criticized the New Pact of the EU on Migration and Asylum, presented in November, for “continuing with a policy based on returns.”
Regarding said agreement, he added that it also imposes the responsibility of hosting the country of entry, “without offering solutions that are based on a shared solidarity with southern Europe.” “It is a new missed opportunity so that the EU shows its commitment to the protection of refugees in a balanced and fair way, “he said.
Galán has also criticized the “scant recognition” of those persecuted by non-state agents, such as gangs or criminal gangs, “a fundamental recognition, since they are victims worthy of protection.” In this last group is Isabel, who feels a deep disappointment after having trusted that her case would be heard and studied. She only has one request: “One more chance of life in Spain“.