This week I had the honor of participating (and there are now four editions) in the
Annual meeting that the General Council of the Judiciary celebrated in the Canary Islands, in coordination with the Superior Court of Justice of the Canary Islands and the collaboration of the Government of the Canary Islands to reflect, debate and update their knowledge about the
migratory phenomenon. Judges, magistrates and prosecutors from all over the national territory share their experiences, outline their approaches to dealing with this phenomenon and, year after year, immerse themselves in the migratory reality of our land, the Canary Islands.
In line with this meeting and so many reflections that were made in it (how important it is that this meeting be consolidated in a stable way, because it suits us all), I would like to share today some notes on a phenomenon with so many edges and with which, Unfortunately, so much is played to confront our society and provoke the worst of feelings, that of
the canary route
The 'migratory' year that we live in the Canary Islands has been complex.
The so-called Canarian immigration route is the most dangerous and deadliest in the world. If we take into account the data from the NGO Caminando Fronteras, we are in a very difficult situation to sustain: one in almost 6 people who tries to reach the Canary Islands in a small boat or canoe dies on the way. In the Mediterranean, by comparison, one in 51 dies, as the delegate of the Efe Agency in the Canary Islands, José María Rodríguez, told us in a forum held at Casa África a few weeks ago. The Canarian route, then, is almost ten times more deadly.
In these last days we have learned that there has been
new wrecksand even this past Thursday the 12th they were rescued by the Maritime Rescue Services
more than 300 people in just one day. It is the verification that desperation increases and migrants get on precarious boats with scarce food and just enough fuel. And this is not a lake, it is not an easy sea. It is the Atlantic Ocean. Enough of deaths at sea, let's do and demand whatever is necessary to stop this bleeding.
Before judges, magistrates and prosecutors, the Minister of Public Administrations, Security and Justice of the Government of the Canary Islands, Julio Pérez, recalled that we are at a new peak in boat arrivals in the Canary Islands, and that in just five years these have multiplied by 50 .
There is a route for years
Because I am very much afraid, unfortunately, that we will continue to see arrivals and attempts to cross the Canarian route. And for a few years. The situation on the other shore, especially in the Sahel area, predicts this. I explained it last week in this very gallery: the
poverty and the impact of
ukrainian war in food safety form the perfect cocktail.
And because, as much as we try to convince ourselves of it, neither the profusion of shipwrecks, nor the repatriations nor the restrictive policies when granting visas really manage to prevent the departure of small boats and canoes.
The reality is that hunger, desperation and misery are the cause of this humanitarian exodus.
It is also true that the agreement reached with Morocco will bring with it a reduction and better control in its jurisdictional waters, but make no mistake: they will continue to come.
I do not want to stop insisting on this issue, because the problems in our neighboring region do not stop growing and becoming complicated at breakneck speed. This past Wednesday, for the first time, there was a
Jihadist attack with nine dead in Togo. It is a sign that the fears about the expansion of insecurity towards the sea, towards the Gulf of Guinea and the coastal countries of West Africa, are true, as the High Representative of the European Union, Josep Borrell, and giving birth to an issue that we at Casa Africa have been warning about for several years, in the face of widespread skepticism, that it constitutes one of the main risks in the region.
In Marrakech, the Global Coalition against the Islamic State has just met, a
group of 84 countries, among which is obviously ours. In this meeting there were three work tables, Afghanistan, Iraq-Syria and Africa. And our neighboring continent grabbed all the headlines: a 43% increase in terrorist activity in recent years, and in the words of our Foreign Minister, José Manuel Albares, present at the summit, the region is already "the epicenter of jihadist terrorism.
In the region, Al Qaeda (and its affiliated groups, mainly the JNIM) and the Islamic State, openly fight for territory, freely roam the so-called three-border zone (Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso) and, furthermore, the efforts that what the European countries were doing in that region have regressed due to the political instability caused by the coups d'état and the presence, already totally clear and diaphanous, of Russia in the region.
We have ahead of us, then, a scenario of extremely high instability that ends up acting as a direct contributor to the increase in migration. Not only those who flee directly from the conflict emigrate, but also those from those unstable regions where cooperation will no longer reach and it is almost impossible to undertake to stimulate development.
At least I am satisfied that concern about the situation in the Sahel is already beginning to be present in the media of our land. The Sahel is our backyard.
The European Union has still not reached an agreement on the European Pact on Migration and Asylum. At this point it is very feasible to think that it will not. Each European gesture in its look towards the south proposes to toughen policies more and more.
The barbarity concocted by the United Kingdom of
send to Rwanda any African migrant (whatever their country of origin is!) that it reaches their land does not help, but rather strengthens even more, those who advocate continuing to fortify our cage without in turn generating and allowing legal and safe routes for emigration, who in a few years we will need to sustain our economic system and especially our pensions.
The 'Rwanda formula' proposed by the same people who managed to impose Brexit is, and I want to say it clearly, repulsive, since it does not respect human rights, does not listen to reasons or listen to the reasons why someone has fled their country. And it won't take long for us to hear from the right and, especially, from the extreme right, that we should do the same and send them to the refugee camps whoever accepts the money to clear our consciences.
At Casa África this week we started a collaboration project with Maldita.es, a communication medium specialized in data verification, to raise awareness in the Canary Islands about the impact of misinformation on migration matters. Its head and co-founder, Clara Jiménez Cruz, will give us a conference this Monday, May 16, at 7:00 p.m. in the Nelson Mandela Auditorium of Casa África. If you can, don't miss it.
But his presence is not just for a conference. For three days, a journalist from Maldita.es and the president of the Federation of African Associations in the Canary Islands, Mame Cheikh, will give a workshop at Casa África with secondary school students from various institutes on the island (among them from municipalities that have lived very directly the phenomenon, like the IES Arguineguín). The objective is for them to learn to identify fake news, how to detect those messages that arrive through social networks and that only seek to generate hatred towards the migrant group.
The concept of being a migrant
Another of the activities in which Casa África has been immersed this week was the presentation, in Fuerteventura, of the book 'What the night owes to the day' by the young Congolese Kabwende Nsungu Gori, whom we know as Elvis, a boy with a incredible story (not to extend myself, an orphan who at the age of 9 walked out of his country and
toured 13 African countries to achieve his dream of studying). I would like to end this article with one of the most moving phrases that this young man gave us, who is now studying a master's degree at the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria after graduating in Law in Rabat: «It was not until he arrived in Morocco, on the thirteenth country that I stepped on, when I knew the word migrant, which I had to look up on the Internet. I was not a migrant, I was a traveler looking for a school».
Let us not forget, because it is a good thing to do, that most of the migrations in Africa are intra-African. And that it is always important to know the cases of those who migrate, whether between African countries or to Europe, because only by knowing their stories, by getting into their skin, will we be able to stop the threats of racism and hate speech. How important is journalism in this field. And how necessary empathy.