A group of ten unaccompanied foreign minors were transferred this Wednesday to Spain’s autonomous community of Castilla y León where they will be placed under the care of region’s child protection service. Five of them will head to the province of León and another five to Palencia.
The Canary Islands Ministry of Social Rights said in a statement, this is the first group of the 25 youths who will be welcomed by Castilla y León, after an agreement reached, led by Noemí Santana (Podemos) and the autonomous community of Castilla y León, through the Minister of Family and Equal Opportunities, María Isabel Blanco Llamas, in which Castilla y León assumes the legal guardianship of these unaccompanied migrant minors who will be transferred from the Canary Islands, to their care and custody.
The agreement specifies that the Government of Castilla y León is sensitive to the situation and shares with the Government of the Canary Islands the need to seek agile and effective formulas that allow compliance with the constitutional principle of inter-territorial solidarity contained in article 2 of the Spanish Constitution, assuming the comprehensive care of 25 of the unaccompanied migrant minors who currently reside in the Canary Islands, assuming administrative guardianship.
The archipelago is currently hosting 2,634 minors who have reached these shores by means of pateras and open boats over the last year, 29 different accommodation facilities have been opened in order to care for them. The Canary Islands Government has been addressing the continual arrival of unaccompanied children alone, the Regional Government has urgently requested, from both the Spanish State and the European Union, the necessary resources to pay the economic costs to address this social crisis, especially considering that the Canarian Archipelago constitutes the southern-most border of Europe.
The Minister for Social Rights, Noemí Santana, points out that she has held various meetings with the State and the Autonomous Communities to negotiate and sign collaboration agreements between the State and the Government of the Canary Islands, for the care of unaccompanied foreign minors, to encourage a sharing of this responsibility between the autonomous communities; and a specific State fund to help in the management of these children.
“The objective is to seek solutions among all, Europe, the State and the rest of the Autonomous Communities, so that the Canary Islands can stop having to face this humanitarian crisis alone,” said Santana, who recalled that the number of unaccompanied foreign minors being cared for on the Islands has increased considerably over the last year, going from 540 in 2019 to almost 2,700 currently hosted.
The numbers of referrals are still pretty low though; the Canary Islands, through the General Directorate for the Protection of Children and the Family, has concluded agreements for the referral of minors with Navarra (10 places), Cantabria (20 places), Valencia (18 places), Catalonia (43 places), Castilla y León (25 places), Extremadura (25 places), Asturias (16 places) and Galicia (20 places), in total, 177 places, and negotiations with Aragón, Castilla-La Mancha and the Basque Country are still ongoing.