More refugees are taking the route via the Canaries to Europe. As long as there are no legal routes, dying continues.
Some call it the “deadliest” refugee route: the crossing from West African countries across the Atlantic to the Canary Islands. The West African sea route is taking significantly more people this year – it has been falling since the beginning of the year According to the Spanish Ministry of the Interior, 14,000 arrivals in the Canary Islands, more than seven times as many as in the same period last year. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) publishes even higher figures. It looks like the vacation islands are becoming a new place that the EU should be ashamed of.
Here, too, it is unlikely that what is supposed to be practiced at other important arrival locations for refugees, but that will not work there either: that their asylum claim is checked lawfully and within a reasonable period – and that the people are well looked after and safely accommodated during this time.
According to media reports, the conditions are already catastrophic: In the port of Aguineguín in the southwest of Gran Canaria, more than 2,000 newcomers slept outside on the bare ground last weekend.
The Spanish Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska said earlier this week that the Canary Islands would not be a “new Lesbos”. But with Corona and the exit restrictions in Spain, it will probably take some time before the newly arrived refugees can travel on to mainland Spain.
This shows once again the brutality of immigration: One can assume that those affected also know that the crossing will be life-threatening, that wooden boats can hardly defy the rough Atlantic.
They are still on their way – possibly because of new conflicts in West Africa, because border crossings on other routes are not possible due to Corona or because their living conditions have deteriorated so much because of the pandemic that even such a risk compared to life in their country of origin appears to be acceptable.
41 times the route was shipwrecked, counted the IOM from the beginning of January to November 15th. The number of unreported cases is likely to be significantly higher. 511 people died or disappeared on this route during this period. As long as the EU seals itself off, as long as refugees barely get safe and legal access to an asylum procedure, dying will not stop.