The Spanish Commission for Refugee Aid (CEAR) has regretted that for the second consecutive year Spain has approved only 5% of asylum applications submitted in 2020, a rate well below the European average (33%): “the Spanish authorities have once again defrauded those who seek refuge in Spain.”
In 2020, a total of 88,762 applications for international protection were presented throughout Spain, 25% less than the previous year (118,446), of which only 5,758 were favorable: 4,360 were grants of refugee status and 1,398 of subsidiary protection, according to the balance of the Asylum and Refugee Office of the Ministry of the Interior.
This drop in the number of asylum requests is the result of the border closures due to coronavirus pandemicAccording to CEAR in a statement, in which it nonetheless highlights the more than 40,000 cases granted for humanitarian reasons, mainly of Venezuelan origin, except for some Colombians, Ukrainians, Peruvians and Hondurans. “We are very concerned about the thousands of people who have been trapped by the mobility restrictions caused by the pandemic in countries where their lives are in danger, without being able to access the right to asylum,” warns CEAR spokeswoman Paloma Favieres, who He reproaches the authorities for taking advantage of this inactive period to suspend “de facto” the right to asylum.
What did increase in 2020 were the international protection files that were resolved by the Interior: 116,614, almost double that of the previous year, with which it was possible to reduce more than 20% the requests to be resolved. “Resolving the files and meeting the legal deadlines is always good news, but it cannot affect the quality of the procedure,” recalls Favieres, who claims that beyond the agility in the resolutions, an individual study of each case is guaranteed and do not apply “standard criteria” based solely on nationality.
As in previous years, the first five nationalities of asylum seekers are Latin American, with Venezuela and Colombia leading the way, which is not the case in other European Union countries. The reason, according to Favieres, is the visa policy of the Spanish authorities, which “follow demanding “transit visas for people fleeing countries in conflict for years, like Syria, Yemen or Palestine. “Spain has always acted as a result of arrivals by air; when there is a high number of people of one nationality who access the border post via transit, transit visas are immediately requested to prevent access to the asylum procedure,” he complains.
For CEAR, it is “particularly worrying” that the number of people resettled in Spain Last year it was 363 when the Government’s commitment was 1,200, so they urge the Executive to make “a serious bet” for resettlement since it is “the only safe way enabled at this time.” It also warns that only 3% of the applications have been presented at Foreign Internment Centers (CIE), border posts and through family extensions in embassies: “Spain has not allowed in practice to request asylum in places that would have prevented returns to unsafe countries “, explains Favieres. And it also warns that despite the increase in the arrival of immigrants to the Canary Islands in 2020, when 23,023 people arrived on its shores, there were less than 4,000 applications for asylum.
From CEAR they are committed to moving towards a more flexible criteria in the granting of asylum to combat the lack of guarantees and effective protection on the part of the authorities in many parts of the world.