Minors continue to face deficits in schooling and bone tests

The Autonomous Community is the most saturated by the arrival of minors aboard the small boats and currently protects around 3,000. / EFE

Malian Aboubacar Drame, now a carer in a care center, assures that "there has been no learning" from the mistakes of the 2006 crisis

Ingrid Ortiz-Viera

He was 16 years old when Aboubacar Drame left Mali and crossed the Atlantic from Mauritania to the Canary Islands with the help of the mafias. A four-day journey that in the 2006 crisis
it cost him 1,000 euros to escape misery.

Her story is hardly different from the one she often hears from unaccompanied minors in the center where she now works and from where she experiences the "other side" of the migratory phenomenon.

This was stated yesterday in the study commission of Parliament, to which he was called not only to tell his personal experience but also to offer his point of view on political improvements.

Young people wait between five months and a year and a half for the decrees

In the Canary Islands, the two fundamental problems are related to delays in tests to determine age and schooling. Drame explains that during his internship stage,
the average to receive the decrees was a month or twowhile now "if they receive it in five it's very fast."

The bureaucratic gridlock can even overcome
the year and a half and it has hardly been diluted since the worst stage of the crisis, with the health system collapsed by the pandemic. Later, the lack of personnel in the Institute of Legal Medicine and the Immigration Prosecutor's Office added to the increase in the number of minors aboard the small boats.

The accumulation of these files not only prevents the separation of adults in the centers but also the schooling of minors or the initiation of their administrative regulation. A process that leads many who reach the limit of 17 years to
a limbo once the majority is fulfilled of age, since they do not have documentation to reside, work or move from the country.

"For many young people the situation is the same as when they arrived," Drame explained. They are contained there but
they can neither study nor work And they get frustrated."

few advances

What he has seen as a "step forward", on the other hand, is that the boys who leave the center already have permits, something that was not possible in the 2006 crisis. In addition, the recent reduction of the impossible requirements requested by the State is another advance to request the procedures.

In this sense, the efforts of the Government of the Canary Islands, which continues its particular struggle to reduce the pressure in the centres, focus, on the one hand, on
in improving the work of affiliation at the foot of the dock to reduce the margin of adults that ends up in the centers.

For this they intend to collaborate with experienced NGOs such as Save the Children, as well as other autonomous communities. A request that despite its insistence the central government has not authorized.

On the other hand, the Directorate General for Child Protection has shown concern about speeding up age tests, for which the Government delegate, Anselmo Pestana, reported that
the number of troops would be increased.

"Double measuring stick"

In parallel, the urgency of establishing a protocol for the distribution of minors through a specific law continues without bearing fruit. Of the
around 3,000 wards by the Autonomous Community at present only 210 have been derived during 2021.

Aboubacar Drame has insisted that although the Canary Islands have welcomed him "incredibly well" in these 16 years, he criticized the neglect of the State and the "double standard" of Europe.

As far as he is aware, the administrations have given priority to the care of Ukrainian minors over African minors. “There are minors from the north of Mali, which is in conflict, who have not even been informed that
can apply for asylum or that they cannot until they have the result of the age test," he said.

Along the same lines, he acknowledged that there is a lack of
psychological assistancenecessary for many to overcome the traumas experienced during their migratory experience and also for them to learn to manage that frustration that arises from prolonged times in the centers.

“I have never seen any African authority that comes to be interested”

"Closing Africa is not the solution" to the migratory phenomenon. Aboubacar Drame was skeptical about European policy and doubts that the humanitarian corridors to regulate this transit of people will bear fruit.

"Since I arrived in 2006 I have not seen any African authority come to take an interest in us," he said in Parliament. "There are many people dying daily in the sea, next door, and I have never heard any complaints."

This symptom of "abandonment" is what leads him to think that collaboration between governments only responds to economic interests.

"It is very difficult to change the situation because the police themselves are already corrupt and refuse to fight the mafias unless they are paid what their 'clients'" Drame assured, despite the fact that he also acknowledged that there are agents who do their job. worked.

In his opinion, the majority will continue to arrive through irregular routes while corruption reigns on the continent.

On the other hand, he assures that the effects of climate change are already a reality in Africa. "In my village, people lived by farming and parents didn't let their children migrate to work," explains Drame.

So, northern Mali was not yet in conflict. «Now it does not occur to anyone to ask him to stay. The harvest that lasted eight months now only lasts three," adds the Malian.

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