The Higher Prosecutor's Office of the Canary Islands prohibits separating migrant children from their mothers after arriving by boat



The superior prosecutor of the Canary Islands, Luis del Río, has modified this Wednesday the criteria by which the Las Palmas Prosecutor's Office separated at least eleven migrant children from their mothers when arriving by boat to Gran Canaria and Fuerteventura until the DNA tests practiced in the Peninsula verified their family bond. From now on, it is forbidden to separate families arriving by sea in the Archipelago. "Unless external circumstances reveal their need, the prosecutors will interest the admission of the minors in protection centers together with the adults who claim to be their parents, thus avoiding their separation while the results of the DNA tests carried out are communicated" , explains the instruction issued by Del Río to which he has had access Canary Now.

The objective of this modification is "to give a better response to the situations raised in the past and [...] guarantee the best interests of the minor. "Families will enter residential establishments with places available to accommodate two-parent families or women accompanied by minors. The Secretary of State for Migration has already offered the Ministry of Social Rights of the Government of the Canary Islands three centers for host families. Ministry sources explained that these establishments are located in Gran Canaria and have trained and specialized personnel. These are "spaces of trust" so that the people welcomed can express any need that requires help and that the teams can detect situations of special vulnerability, such as the identification of victims of trafficking.

This new criterion "will be applied preferentially", although it must cede in those cases in which the minor's coexistence with the adult who claims to be his or her parent may cause a risk situation for the safety of the child. In the cases in which the responsible public administrations determine the separation of the families, the prosecutors must assess the reasons and can file the corresponding appeal.

The instruction justifies that the separation orders issued by the Las Palmas Prosecutor's Office since the end of 2019 are "extraordinary measures" adopted as a result of the disappearances "in an alarming number of cases" of minors together with those who claimed to be their mothers, while DNA tests verified that they had no link.

The criterion was conceived "temporarily", while the existence of serious risks for minors who could arrive in the same circumstances was ruled out. The superior prosecutor concludes that "although the alert must persist, the situation has evolved as a consequence of the passage of more than nine months since that contingency." Del Río points out that the pandemic caused by COVID-19 has made it difficult to carry out DNA tests to prove the alleged affiliation and delays the notification of the results "in an unwanted way".

The general director of Child and Family Protection of the Canary Islands Government, Iratxe Serrano, celebrates the decision: "There will always be exceptions, but this could not continue to be a generalized situation." Serrano appreciates that the superior prosecutor has put "common sense" and has also highlighted the support of the Cabildo de Gran Canaria, the Government Delegation in the Canary Islands and the Primary Care professionals who treat migrant minors who arrive in the Islands.

(There will be enlargement)

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