March 4, 2021

NGOs demand an agreement to welcome migrants from the Open Arms to the EU and Spain

Oxfam, Amnesty International, CEAR and the Spanish Immigration Network are some of the NGOs that demand Spain and the EU to reach an agreement for the reception of the 121 migrants rescued in waters of the Central Mediterranean by the Open Arms, while the Government insists: "It is the responsibility of the European Union (EU)".

"Spain is the border of the EU, but it is the responsibility of the EU as a whole and we want it to be aware that it is their responsibility," the spokeswoman for the Executive, Isabel Celaá, said Tuesday at the insistence of journalists on the intention of the Government to allow docking in Spain to the ship, as it did with Aquarius.

The Government wants "the EU to feel the immigration policy as its own", said Celaá, in the line of what was expressed by his partner José Luis Ábalos, and added that it is not a "voluntary" issue but of a European Commission policy .

For the NGOs, this agreement is urgent and they demand the Government to act as their intermediation, since it is the State that will open the Open Arms.

"It is necessary to move file and assume the responsibility putting in the center the life of the people and arrive as soon as possible an agreement between the European States so that the disembarkations in safe harbor are effective; the Spanish State must push, position and arrive at that agreement ", assured Efe Carlos Escaño, of Amnesty International.

The person in charge of Human Rights Campaigns of the NGO emphasizes that "when there are rescue situations, we must prioritize and save lives and ensure that the landing is in the nearest and safest safe harbor", which in this case is Italy and Malta, "ruling out Libya, where we have documented terrible human rights violations."

"The Open Arms is a Spanish flag boat and in that case the State will flag the ship; the Spanish State must coordinate with the rescue centers closest to the ship to ensure the landing to the safest and closest port as soon as possible; the Government Spanish must move and try to agree the landing with Italy or Malta, "he insists.

Oxfam Intermón also claims the acting Executive to "guarantee" a safe harbor. "It is vital to guarantee humanitarian aid to people who are on the ship fleeing from poverty and looking for a better life," explains Efe Lara Contreras, head of Political Incidence, who reminds Pedro Sánchez of his commitment to respect "the rights of people who move. "

"The Aquarius cannot remain in an anecdote, it must be a clear political position of the future Government of Spain, a Government committed to human rights and people who move," says Contreras.

The Immigration Network asks the Executive to accept the offer of the Catalan and Valencian governments and allow the opening of any of its ports, and demands that Sanchez "not abandon a boat that operates under the Spanish flag and that has been and is a reference international in the civil humanitarian rescue ".

In the same vein, the Spanish Refugee Assistance Commission (CEAR) defends that Spain "must take a step forward" and, if the closure of the ports of Italy and Malta is maintained, let Spain be the country that welcomes these people, recovering "the spirit of Aquarius to ensure that they are not returned to Libya, a country at war where their lives would be in serious danger."

The petition on asking for a safe port for the landing of migrants already reaches 70,000 signatures.

Some regional governments, such as the Basque, Valencian, Catalan and Extremadura, have shown their willingness to collaborate in the reception of migrants if in the end the ports were opened for the arrival of the 121 people to Spain.

. (tagsToTranslate) NGOs (t) EU (t) Spain (t) Open (t) Arms

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