CEAR sees fewer small boats but warns of an increase in danger

Rescue this Monday of a semi-sunken zodiac near Gran Canaria. / EFE

The NGO believes that it is too early to analyze the brake on the arrival of migrants under the diplomatic prism of the peace signed with Rabat

Ingrid Ortiz-Viera

The confidence of the foreign minister,
Jose Manuel Albares in which the recovery of relations with Morocco has managed to curb immigration does not entirely fit with the reading of the Spanish Commission for Refugee Aid (CEAR).

The NGO assumes that the phenomenon is fluctuating and
does not respond to a single factor. The state of the sea, the difficulties in approaching the exit points, desertification or the increase in armed conflicts are some of the causes that explain the greater or lesser number of boats, and are added to the border control policy that, they usually address governments.

In fact, the roadmap with the Alawite country is aimed at reinforcing cooperation in patrols and returns as fundamental weapons to bring down the figures. According to Albares, arrivals in the Canary Islands
They have already fallen by 45%.

“It is true that it has slowed down, but we have also noticed a greater drama,” he explains.
John Charles Lawrence, CEAR spokesperson. "We have seen it in the tragedies of recent days but, in any case, it is early to analyze it from a diplomatic point of view, considering that it is recent."


  • Figures.
    Despite the month-on-month decrease, the latest balance from the Ministry of the Interior reflects a 50% increase in arrivals until April.

  • Agreements.
    Spain and Morocco are committed to border control as a strategy to discourage immigration.

  • Albares visit.
    The Minister of Foreign Affairs will come to the archipelago on May 26 to explain Sánchez's turn on the Sahara.

  • tragedies.
    More than 1,100 migrants died in 2021 on the Canarian Route. The latest tragedy occurred just 48 hours ago and claimed the lives of 28 people

In the last 72 hours fifty people lost their lives on the Canarian Route.
At least 28 died on Sunday, hours before Salvamento Marítimo found his boat in the middle of the Atlantic. The boat was still afloat, but the one located the day before in the same area, near Cabo Bojador, did not.
This claimed the lives of 44 others.

In addition, on April 27, the shipwreck of a boat about to be rescued caused the death of a woman and the disappearance of 24 other people. Among them, several women and minors who, according to CEAR, already
they occupy almost a third of the arrivals.

Lorenzo explains that the dangerousness of the route has become more evident since the pandemic. Although during the past year a variation was observed with respect to the exit points, further north, in recent months he assures that they are concentrated in the Western Sahara area.

In this sense, greater control of the Moroccan borders would not change the trend too much. “However, the logical consequence of closing the passage in the north is an increase in exits further south, further and more dangerous,” he adds.

In this context, CEAR
criticizes a "one-dimensional" view of the phenomenon and understands that the agreements with Morocco are insufficient. Thus, he asks not to limit policies to containment without offering alternatives such as circular immigration, safe corridors or the possibility of asylum, since they do not believe that this is the solution. Nor do they believe that
reactivation on repatriation flights has had a dissuasive effect, as Albares points out.


The Minister of Foreign Affairs announced that he will visit the archipelago on May 26 with the aim of explaining
the turn of the Government of Spain regarding the Western Sahara conflict. A request reiterated by both the Canarian Executive and the opposition.

The announcement came yesterday in the plenary session of the regional Parliament after the nationalist deputy
Juan Manuel Garcia Ramos he would have questioned Minister Julio Pérez about the absence of a representative from the Canary Islands at the meeting on immigration between Moncloa and Rabat.

In his opinion, this is an unjustifiable fact and criticizes the lack of transparency in the information. Pérez, for his part, played down the importance of the archipelago's lack of participation, but confirmed that
The Canary Islands will be present at the meeting on the delimitation of waters. «You distribute costumes: they are the ones that demand Madrid; we demand and we get. That's the difference," he asserted.

The position of the Government of the Canary Islands is aligned in this way with Madrid, since they consider that the situation of the migratory phenomenon “has changed”.

Martínez assures that Morocco controls “much more” the departure of small boats to the Canary Islands

However, despite the month-on-month decrease, until April the Ministry of the Interior has registered
50% more boats in the islands compared to the same period last year. Maritime rescue rescued yesterday
the last one about 93 kilometers east of Lanzarote with 57 people on board. Among them, 14 women and three minors.

In addition, the state company undertook since yesterday
the search for the occupants of three other boats that were heading towards the islands, one of them with 71 people on board and with a waterway that was finally rescued south of Fuerteventura.

The other two gondolas have not yet been located: one is a pneumatic boat that sailed 35 kilometers east of the Entallada lighthouse, also in Fuerteventura, in which 50 immigrants are traveling who are believed to have left Tarfaya (Morocco) and another He would have left this Monday from Agadir (Morocco), with 40 people, according to the Civil Guard.

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