Category: #TheCanaryMigrantCrisis

Latest Gran Canaria News, Views & Sunshine

The Canary Guide #WeekendTips 31 March – 2 April 2023


 A glorious first weekend of April ahead and the beginning of the christian Holy Week “Semana Santa”, diligently observed in Spain. There will be many religious acts and processions throughout the week around the island, especially in the capital.  Don’t forget it’s also April fools’ on Saturday even though it isn’t a tradition in Spain, there will be those who will take the whimsical opportunity for some hilarity. The Mercado Inglés is on at The British Club of Las Palmas and there is also an authentic Canarian rural fair to visit this weekend in the traditional mountain market town of San Mateo.

Gran Canaria Weather: Yellow Warnings – Up to 36ºC, in the shade, expected on the south, high temperatures with strong winds and calima expected to affect all The Canary Islands this week

The Spanish State Meterological Agency, AEMET, has issued yellow warnings for heat, calima haze and strong winds this week on the Canary Islands forecasting high temperatures of up to 34ºC expected on several islands. An alert has been issued due to a risk of forest fires on Gran Canaria as the mix of dry weather, strong winds and high temperatures has led to concerns over coming days.

Wild fires Alert on Gran Canaria this Wednesday, with temperatures set to exceed 34ºC in the shade

Springtime has only just begun and already the temperatures, in the shade, on Gran Canaria have been repeatedly hitting the low to mid-thirties, which brings with it also a rising risk of Forest Fires and Wildfires.  Here in the Canary Islands forest fire crews are well versed in tackling an occasional mountain blaze, with alert levels often following the basic informal rule of thumb, the so-called 30/30/30 rule, putting the authorities on alert whenever the temperature is set to rise above 30ºC in the shade, the humidity levels drop below 30% and sustained winds are forecast at faster than 30kmph.  Common sense and preparation help the general population to avoid injury in the event of a fire taking hold.

The Canary Guide #WeekendTips 24-26 March 2023

Plum tree blossoming in Tenteniguada March 2023
It’s the last weekend of March already and Spring is here; winter is behind us and the summer weather is already hotting up on Gran Canaria. The hillsides are in full bloom, particularly up in the mountain summits; it’s Carnival Weekend in Arguineguín and the last of the carnival festivities for this year are happening around the island. With summer just around the corner, clocks Spring forward this Saturday and Sunday night when 1am becomes 2am 🕐. On the north of the island, one of the biggest seasonal trade fairs is happening, gathering produce and people from 11 municipalities, ENORTE will be celebrated in the historic Rum capital of the island, Arucas, this weekend.


Canary Islands Migration: Ukraine war exasperating food shortages, poverty and unrest in the West African Sahel

Special ReportTimon .:.
Without being overly sensationalist, it would be fair to say that, a perfect storm has been brewing for some time in Western Africa.  The Canary Islands is a region on the frontier, and needs to avoid allowing fear to drive decision making.
The war in Ukraine may seem very far away, however the disruption to global cereal supplies, those blocked in Black Sea ports, or worse still not harvested all, is adding a growing food crisis to the problems that already existed. There are reports this is now beginning to fuel riots and social unrest in the Sahel, putting at risk the difficult balance that has been maintained over the last two years or so. These problems are not new.
 Feature Image© UNOCHA: Michele CattaniA young woman carries water in a camp for displaced people in Tillaberi region, Niger.

Food shortages in this vast arid region, which includes Senegal, Gambia, Mauritania, Guinea, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Chad, Cameroon and Nigeria, could easily become the final straw for several populations already suffering extreme hardship, and ever-increasing water poverty, as well as the active presence of jihadist groups looking to control resources and establish North African strongholds, which in turn attracts Russian mercenaries, like the Wagner Group (a secretive military organisation who prop up enfeebled governments often suffering from corruption themselves, in return for vast wealth and natural resources, and who, though they claim to be independent, in fact have very strong proven links to the Kremlin). Then there are the various types of organised crime that flourish in such environments. All of which gives rise to extreme circumstances, including forced displacements of native populations, and violent conflict.
Economic paralysis caused by the pandemic has been compounded by the withdrawals of international support troops, cuts to funding for NGOs on the ground, runaway inflation, unpredictable harvests ever more pronounced due to climate change, high population growth rates (between 2.8% and 3.8%) and growing hunger.  The UN have warned of the coming “Unprecedented Hunger Crisis”
Once again, as happened in 2019 and 2020, various organisations and institutions are now warning that a new wave of migration will be headed towards Europe.
The Canary Islands stand at Europe’s southernmost frontier. While Western Sahara is just over 100km east of here, occupied and controlled by Morocco whose US military and diplomatic ties grow ever-stronger; the Mauritanian coasts, to the south east, are just 778 kilometres away; and Senegal is further south still, some 1,311km from here, almost exactly the same distance to the north separates Las Palmas de Gran Canaria from Cádiz. Even if it is not yet evident to everyone, the archipelago really is in the middle of all this.
This week an action plan, drawn up in Brussels, assessing the ongoing consequences of the war in Ukraine, gravely points to the likelihood of “a catastrophic famine” in the countries of North Africa. An internal report commissioned by the European Council warns that the tension Ukraine adds to the situation with food security increases the risk of triggering “new waves of migration to the EU” with Spain and Italy on the front line.
The European Council estimate around 30% of global maize and wheat supplies come from Ukraine and Russia, with at least 20 million tons unable to leave Ukrainian ports and that 47 million more people will likely be affected by acute food insecurity in 2022

Vice-President of the European Commission, Josep Borrell, who is also the European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, this week wrote:
“For several decades, hunger was declining and the international community committed to end it globally by 2030 with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) adopted in 2015. However, since then, the number of undernourished people has stopped decreasing and the COVID-19 pandemic has already made things much worse. The World Food Program (WFP) estimates that this number has risen from 132 million people before the COVID-19 pandemic to 276 million in early 2022 and 323 million today.”

Europe estimates that 40 million tons of cereal are blocked in the Black Sea ports
EU Member States this month managed to unblock progress on the New Pact on Migration and Asylum,  just a few days ago, reaching an agreement on a voluntary solidarity mechanism for the distribution of refugees. It underlines that relocations should primarily benefit the countries within the Union that face landings after search and rescue operations both in the Eastern Atlantic – the Canarian route – and in the Mediterranean.  There are those who believe this pact does not go anywhere near far enough, with “voluntary solidarity” having already so often failed to function as intended, leaving the countries and regions of first contact to try to cope with increasing arrivals.
Food security: EU to step up its support to African, Caribbean and Pacific countries in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine
A total of 8,582 people have arrived already this year to the Archipelago, between January and June 15, which is 2,884 more people than during the same period last year, in fact 50.4% more; while the 3,478 maritime arrivals to the Balearics and Mainland are significantly lower (-26.7% year on year), the canary islands figures actually produce an overall increase of more than 14% for maritime arrivals, and nearly 20% overall, when you include arrivals by land. Even with the so-called “Good neighbours” treaty having been signed in April, between the Spanish and Moroccan governments, which entailed much greater controls over migrants leaving for Spain, the continued increase in numbers arriving to these islands has been a shock to those trying to deal with the consequences of these migratory flows.  Perhaps less so for those trying to shift attention on to the origins and causes.

Western Sahara, a government in exile, and the longest offshore gas pipeline in the world:
Despite Spain’s best efforts, recently, to work with Morocco on prevention, resulting in reports of much higher numbers of migrants now being stopped from leaving Moroccan shores on open boats, it seems the numbers attempting the crossing to this archipelago are still climbing.  This comes even as Spain has appeared to perform an about turn, on their entrenched position of recent decades regarding Western Sahara, by offering tacit support to Morocco’s settlement proposals, which, at first glance, seem to disregard decades of concerted resistance from the native population, many tens of thousands of whom have lived in refugee camps for nearly 50 years now (represented by the Polisario government in exile, and cautiously supported by Algeria), as well as apparently discarding decades of opposition from the UN and other EU member states.  It’s clear that much more will need to be done to try to stem the migratory flows, which have their origins in countries across the Sahel.
Gas pipelines planned to connect Nigeria with Morocco & Europe
There are, too, many more reasons for concern in the region, with increased US military support for Morocco, and Algeria’s longstanding opposition to the nearly half a century of illegal occupation in Western Sahara, not to mention the now well-established plans for two major gas pipelines stretching from Nigeria to the mediterranean, both connected to Morocco, one straddling Algeria, and the other, Atlantic pipeline, set to connect 13 West African countries to the Nigerian gas fields, including Benin, Togo, Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Gambia, Senegal and Mauritania, and through those territories to the mediterranean coast and then, it is planned, Europe.
According to a press release issued by the Australian company Worley, the company chosen to carry out the preliminary studies for the project and design the pipeline:

“When completed, the more than 7,000-kilometre-long pipeline, promoted by Morocco’s National Office of Hydrocarbons and Mines (ONHYM) and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), will connect Nigeria to Morocco, cross 13 West African countries and extend to Europe. It will be the longest offshore pipeline in the world and the second longest overall”. 

Here on the Islands, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs have not yet dismantled the camps they so hastily, and belatedly, set up in 2020 as a result of the migratory rebound (which had been warned of for at least a year prior). 23,023 individuals arrived on these shores, during the initial period of pandemic responses, compounding problems was a complete ban on international travel, with tourists unable to fly and migrants unable to leave.  It was the largest surge of arrivals since what is known as “the crisis of the cayucos” back in 2006, when the Canary Islands received 31,678 migrants arriving on open boats and cayucos (small, open canoe-like boats). The Ministry has instead, quietly, launched improvement works to the Temporary Foreigners Care Centre (CATE) on Lanzarote, and to the main shelter for minors and mothers in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. And despite La Laguna Town Council’s announcements, on Tenerife, nor has the heralded closure of the old Las Raíces military barracks camp come to fruition.
With spaces available for up to 7,000 people across the island, and the estimated numbers of migrants living in those camps having fallen to less than 1,000 by the beginning of this year, it seems clear that the Government of Spain is now doing what it can to prepare for a further surge.
According to the FAO – the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation – the number of people in need of food assistance in West African countries rose from 7 million to 27 million, over the last decade and a half, and estimates that if aid is not articulated internationally and supplied urgently, that number could grow by another 10 million or more by the end of this summer. The picture is getting ever more complicated.
The priority set by the European Commission, in its logistics support plan, rests on the search for export routes so that the cereals currently blocked in the Black Sea might instead leave by train or by road, and so can be exported. Both Ukraine and Russia – against whom multiple sanctions condition their international trade – are among the main grain exporting countries in the world. Ukraine distributes around 10% of the world’s wheat, 13% of barley, 15% of millet and more than half of all sunflower oil, according to data provided by the Spanish Institute for Strategic Studies to Casa África. Millions of tons of food – Brussels calculates 40 million – are being stored, waiting for a fluid exit to be agreed, taking into account that up to five million tons per month would usually have left by sea. African countries imported 44% of their wheat from Russia and Ukraine between 2018 and 2020, according to UN figures, quoted by Spanish language daily La Provincia.
The de facto blockade of food supplies brings with it worrying increases in food prices particularly in the more fragile regions, such as the Sahel. The African Development Bank has reported a 45% increase in wheat prices on the continent on top of a 20-30% increase in the overall price of food in the last five years throughout West Africa.
Add to this, on top of soaring fuel prices, the shortage of goods transport containers, that became apparent around the globe with the start of the covid-19 pandemic. This will hamper any efforts to establish alternative supply sources, which even if they are identified would take many months or, more likely, years to be established. Meanwhile people will still have to eat.
To make matters worse, even before the invasion of Ukraine, on February 24, the World Food Program had been warning that this would be a difficult year: China, the world’s largest wheat producer, is facing one of the worst harvests in its history after floods that last year devastated the central province of Henan; and India, ranking second in the world, has just paralysed exports due to the severe drought that the country is suffering from with crop yields much reduced. This has not been caused by the situation in Ukraine, the WFP have been warning for some time of a starvation catastrophe, but war has now accelerated the worst predictions for the foreseeable future.
Worse still, there is also a problem with our trying to increase local production. Russia and its ally Belarus are two of the world’s largest exporters of fertiliser, which is crucial for intensive farming and production, let alone any increases to local production, and both countries are now limiting sales. At the same time, the rise in energy prices, further exasperated by the war, has led to the closure of large factories in Europe which might otherwise have sought to fill the gap in the global fertiliser supply.

Editor’s Thoughts:
This is a perfect storm, with no clear solutions.  We are going to have to weather it, and help as many as we can.  What is clear is that simply disagreeing with migration is not going to make it go away. 
Paying Morocco to stop hungry people getting into boats, is not going to stop them being hungry, and it is certainly not going to dissuade them risking what little they still have, including their lives, in the search for security. 
In the absence of any clear plan to effectively tackle the root causes of migration, and certainly not any time soon, we are going to need to figure out how we, as a community, will deal with millions of people on the move from West Africa, and tens of thousands, possibly more, arriving on these shores. 
Either we will value our humanity, and try to find positive and constructive ways to react, working with a situation far beyond our control; or we will allow misinformation, ignorance and anger to drive whatever happens next.  Misplaced anger rarely solves hunger but it can certainly put communities at real risk of tearing themselves apart, never mind its destructive potential, increasing harm to all involved and further putting lives and livelihoods at risk.  We need to think calmly and work to build communities that are resilient to change.  You can’t fight the ocean, but you can learn how to fish.
Timon .:.
Canary Islands President Victor Torres demands “shared solidarity” from Europe
The Regional President called for “shared Solidarity” from the rest of Spain’s autonomous communities, and delivered the same message on Friday to the European Committee of the Regions’ Committee on Citizenship, Governance and Institutional and Foreign Affairs (Civex) in a meeting to address the impact of migration and the need to improve the support from European institutions for local and regional authorities.
President Torres, speaking by videoconference, valued the recent advances to unblock reform of the European Pact for Migration and Asylum and presented to the meeting the current migratory situation in the Canary Islands, a territory at the southern border of the EU, located less than 100 kilometres from the neighbouring African continent and “which has become the tragic protagonist of the Atlantic migration route, one of the most dangerous in the world.” The president put unaccompanied migrant minors at the very centre of immigration management. He explained, according to a statement, that the regional government has protected and cared for more than 2,400 unaccompanied minors in this situation, which has led to 50 centres being mobilised, until this year, costing the islands more than €70 million of their own resources.

There will be many right now who will firmly agree that simply waiting for other regions of Spain, or EU member states, to voluntarily share the burden of migrant arrivals is not a strategy for success.  It hasn’t worked up until now, and so will require a more structured policy to ensure that peripheral regions like ours do not continue to be left to handle migrant arrivals on our own.  Solidarity is all very well, but it means nothing unless it is supported with help doing the heavy lifting.

Final thoughts…
Getting angry (or upset) is not going to solve the coming food crisis. However you feel about it, there is going to be a huge surge of people trying to save themselves and their families from starvation, water poverty, and conflict, unless proactive steps are taken right now, and delivered at scale.
Call it what you like, but there are those with very little to lose in risking everything for a better life, and there are those who just don’t know how privileged they are.  


In all likelihood, unlike survival and self preservation, kindness is not going to be top of the agenda for most people, but make no mistake, kindness is exactly what we are all most going to need, so we better start practicing.
We all need to reset our worldview, and learn how to deal with a global situation that is far beyond our control, or anyone else’s for that matter, and could get far worse before it gets any better at all.

Timon .:.
Editor, The Canary News


€51 million project to manage Canary Islands migrant reception facilities announced as referrals increase from the Canary Islands

The Spanish Central Government’s Council of Ministers this Tuesday approved an initiative from the Ministry of Inclusion, Social Security and Migrations, agreeing to contract the public company Tragsa, for the amount of €51 million, to provide properly managed migrant reception services on The Canary Islands over the next year.

Government spokesperson, María Jesús Montero, announced at the press conference following the Council of Ministers, that the Ministry’s commission will consist of “the provision of a series of basic services in these migrant reception facilities to provide dignified humanitarian care, in safe conditions, to the migrants, and the vulnerable, who arrive on the Canary Islands”.
Among the services that will be provided are included food, security, cleaning and maintenance of reception centres, able to accommodate up to 7,000 migrants at a time, explained Montero.
Following the apparent lack of preparedness to face last years predicted “sudden” increases in arrivals via The Canary Route, the Spanish Government are attempting to ensure that they do not get caught out once more. The term of the agreement between the Ministry and Tragsa will extend throughout this year, from July 13, 2021, until July 12, 2022.  There has already been a significant increase in arrivals this year, which is expected to continue through the autumn, hopefully with a little more planning as to how we will cope with a new influx.

Until April 24, the Secretary of State for Migration – with the authorisation of the Ministry of the Interior – had transferred 4,385 people from the Canary Islands migrant reception camps and other reception centres on the islands, taking them to resources on the mainland, according to information obtained via the Portal de Transparencia, a Spanish Open Government resource funded to facilitate citizens’ access to information and good governance. Sources close to the situation estimate that by the end of May that number may have reached 6,000 people. The 2021 transfer figures contrast starkly with the rigidity with which transfers were being authorised last year when, despite the humanitarian crisis that caused the arrival of more than 23,000 migrants, barely 2,168 people were authorised for referral. Thousands of vulnerable people, many of whom were not candidates for expulsion, were detained on the islands for months, unable to leave even if they had valid tickets and travel documents.
Migrant Reception Referrals from the Canary Islands

The Ministries of Interior and of Migrations have not yet offered any official explanations why the numbers of transfers have been increasing, in fact they do not recognise the increase, but a mixture of factors, including court rulings against the continued blocking of travel, as well as a damning report from Spain’s Ombudsman, among others, have clearly smoothed the path and led to increased resources having been made more available. The gradual relaxation of covid-19 concerns and restrictions as well as the basic need to manage the day-to-day situation on the islands have all meant the transfer of thousands of migrants from the islands, which in turn helps to decongest the reception camps, which still accommodate hundreds of people who have met the vulnerability requirements to be referred. The transfers have helped to reduce social tension and conflicts at the centres themselves and will help to facilitate management of an expected increase in arrivals over the coming months.  Arrivals have already more than doubled since the beginning of the year, with summer and autumn expected to bring more, though expulsions are expected to also be much higher this year so long as the pandemic remains under control.
There are currently just over 4,000 irregular migrants still on the Canary Islands, though that number is expected to continue to drop over the coming days and weeks. This now represents the lowest figure since the Canary migrant crisis became most apparent during the second half of last year, and all in the midst of border closures and restrictions due to coronavirus having paralysed travel across the globe. Of the 23,023 arrivals in 2020, more than 16,000 arrived in just the last three months of the year, half of those in November alone.  Last December there were still more than 8,000 individuals in migrant reception facilities and among them were potentially thousands of vulnerable migrants (including some families, mothers with their children, asylum seekers, the sick and others) who all met the requirements to be transferred to centres on the Peninsula, but they were not allowed to leave. Thirteen, otherwise empty, hotels were employed to assist, after the Arguineguín dock, where the red cross had set up a makeshift camp for up to 400, had become overcrowded with more than 2,600 people in November, while deportations remained suspended due to the pandemic. There were several other resources available on the Peninsula, but the Interior Ministry voiced concerns that facilitating transit could generate a “call effect”.
The build up of so many people in temporary migrant reception facilities during those months ended up generating tensions among the resident population, exacerbated in many cases by misinformation, which led to various demonstrations demanding solutions to problems that could not be solved quickly, nor easily. Some even tried to equate the lack of tourists with the temporary accommodating of migrants in empty tourist resort towns.  The Spanish far-right repeatedly tried to impose their own agenda, joining several of the marches and attempting to form mobilisations of their own. This discomfort is still evident in some of the municipalities, particularly near where camps have been set up, and the situation is still very complicated in various centres that house large numbers of people, and in particular unaccompanied minors who represented more than 10% of the arrivals last year, with more than 20 emergency accommodation facilities suddenly having to be set up without prior warning. Some 300 or so have had to remain in temporary hotel accommodations for nearly 8 months, cared for by specialist NGOs, due to a total lack of alternatives.  This has led to angry complaints from nearby residents, primarily due to noise and occasional incidents disturbing people’s sleep.
Transfers continue to be carried out based on vulnerability criteria (families, mothers with their children, asylum seekers, the sick …) but as well as that several thousand migrants have also been able make their own way, if they have the documentation that allows them to take a plane or a boat. In the case of referrals, the NGOs that manage the reception centres on the islands draw up lists of those who meet the vulnerability requirements and send them to the Ministry for Migration, which, in turn, requests authorisation from the Ministry of Interior for the Police to issue a pass for each of them. These referral transfers are financed by the Ministry for Migration, which relocates the migrants to reception centres on the Peninsula that are more suitable for their specific needs. From these centres, many of the migrants are able to meet up with their families and friends in other provinces or elsewhere on the continent.
The Government’s lack of transparency about referrals has been pretty constant since the migration crisis became overloaded at the end of last year. Spain’s Government delegate in the Canary Islands, Anselmo Pestana, said in August to the Spanish News agency Efe: “Derivaciones? That is not talked about, because it can generate a call effect, obviously”. Pestana stated that if transit to the Peninsula was openly facilitated for migrants rescued in the Canary Islands “instead of 3,000 arriving, 30,000 will arrive”. On the premise that reporting the number of people leaving the islands for humanitarian reasons might encourage more arrivals, the authorities have refused to release this information. However respected Spanish language daily, El Pais, was able to obtain these data after requests through the Transparency portal to the Secretary of State for Migration and the Interior. After two months of waiting, Migrations responded, while the Ministry of Interior refused to give out the information.
The main objective of the Migrations Ministry now, is to improve conditions in the camps, with the macrocentre of Las Raices, on Tenerife, seen as a priority. Although it has never reached its maximum capacity of 2,400 people, the camp has hosted more than 1,500 migrants and various problems since its inauguration last February have been fairly constant. Installed in one of the coldest and wettest areas of the island, there was no hot water, the food was often insufficient and conflicts between groups of different nationalities ensued. The current plan is that by the end of May, the capacity of Las Raices, which now accommodates more than 1,100 migrants, will not exceed 800 people.

Editor’s Comment:
Of course all of this preparation, as welcome as it is, only goes a small way towards dealing with the issues.  We are simply managing resources to try to cope with the symptoms of a problem that originates elsewhere.
Reception, referral, asylum or expulsion are all necessary parts of our response, but this problem isn’t going to just disappear.  We need large scale, long term commitments made to help change the circumstances that cause people to risk their lives in this way.
The truth is we are only seeing a very small part of the problem.  More than 4.2 million displaced people in the Sahel are trying to survive water poverty, oppression, failed crops, resource depletion, armed conflict, rape, torture, violence and corruption.  We need to focus our efforts on trying to improve the prospects of the people in these countries, and to provide more adequate pathways for temporary migration and transfer of knowledge and support to help ensure that Africa’s future does not depend on so many people trying to escape to Europe.
Africa’s future is in Africa, and in partnership with Europe and the rest of the world.
IMHO Timon .:.


The Canary News

Blood & Gold: The ‘Discoverer’ and the brutality of conquest

by Timon .:. | 11th October 2022 | Crime, History, Immigrants, Military | 0 CommentsMany in Spain celebrate the national day, October 12, as a day for all Spaniards to revel in Spanishness, and remember an empire, replete with displays of military might, with marches and the waving of flags coloured blood and gold. For many, it is not a day of...
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Canary Islands Migration: Ukraine war exasperating food shortages, poverty and unrest in the West African Sahel

by Timon .:. | 25th June 2022 | #TheCanaryMigrantCrisis, Editor's Thoughts, investigation, Migrants Gran Canaria, News | 0 CommentsSpecial ReportTimon .:. Without being overly sensationalist, it would be fair to say that, a perfect storm has been brewing for some time in Western Africa.  The Canary Islands is a region on the frontier, and needs to avoid allowing fear to drive decision making. The...
Read More

€51 million project to manage Canary Islands migrant reception facilities announced as referrals increase from the Canary Islands

by Timon .:. | 11th May 2021 | #TheCanaryMigrantCrisis, News | 2 CommentsThe Spanish Central Government's Council of Ministers this Tuesday approved an initiative from the Ministry of Inclusion, Social Security and Migrations, agreeing to contract the public company Tragsa, for the amount of €51 million, to provide properly managed migrant...
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Unaccompanied migrant minors: Canary Islands Ministry of Social Rights has been appealing for help for months and to all the administrations to help take responsibility

by Timon .:. | 7th May 2021 | #TheCanaryMigrantCrisis | 0 CommentsThe Deputy Minister of Social Rights of the Government of the Canary Islands, Gemma Martínez, said back in January that the archipelago is "clearly facing an humanitarian emergency situation" in the care of unaccompanied foreign minors, she appealed to all the...
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Judge insists on removal of 150 minors from Tamanaco apartments in Puerto Rico de Gran Canaria

by Timon .:. | 6th May 2021 | Migrants Gran Canaria, News | 0 CommentsA judge has denied any further continuation to migrant minors being allowed to be temporarily accommodated in the Tamanaco Apartment Complex in Puerto Rico de Gran Canaira ordering the removal of migrant minors within the next few days and weeks. The Las Palmas de...
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Disturbing paradise: A small group of foreign residents feel themselves “besieged” by youths living in a Puerto Rico de Gran Canaria hotel

by Timon .:. | 5th May 2021 | Community, Editor's Thoughts, Immigrants | 0 CommentsAnother normal day in Puerto Rico de Gran Canaria, but disturbances, on one street at least, have become more frequent in recent times. Some will claim there are "daily riots", this is inaccurate.  There are incidents, however.  Mostly noise related, occasionally more...
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“An unprecedented emergency” Spain’s Ombudsman demands that the Interior Ministry not prevent the departure of migrants from the Canary Islands

by Timon .:. | 28th April 2021 | #TheCanaryMigrantCrisis | 0 CommentsThe Ombudsman, Francisco Fernández Marugán, tasked, as the Public Defender, to investigate Spain's response to The Canary Migrant crisis, has directly demanded that the Ministry of the Interior cease “police practices” that prevent migrants from leaving the Canary...
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On The Canary Route this year at least one person dies at sea, on average, every 32 hours

by Timon .:. | 28th April 2021 | #TheCanaryMigrantCrisis | 0 CommentsAir Force photograph showing twelve survivors and five deceased on board a cuyaco located in August 2020, by Search and Rescue (SAR), some 205 kilometres south of Gran Canaria. At that time there were twelve survivors on board. One died shortly after in the...
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Policia nacional’s “Operation Arión” broke up a trafficking ring that may have organised transit for thousands of migrants, using false documentation, and with access to thousands of passports

by Timon .:. | 22nd April 2021 | Migrants Gran Canaria, News | 0 Comments“Operation Arión” was the name given to a coordinated series of raids, as part of a covert operation, across the south of Gran Canaria, and on mainland Spain that has managed to smash an organised criminal gang, suspected of having arranged transport for thousands of...
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Las Palmas judgement concludes that migrants can legally travel from the Canary Islands to the Peninsula, with just their passport and an asylum request

by Timon .:. | 17th April 2021 | #TheCanaryMigrantCrisis | 0 CommentsA passport and an asylum application are sufficient documents for any migrant to legally travel from the Canary Islands to mainland Spain. This fact, under the law, was formally recognised by a judge at the Contentious-Administrative Court number 5, in Las Palmas de...
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Unaccompanied migrant minors: Canary Islands Ministry of Social Rights has been appealing for help for months and to all the administrations to help take responsibility

The Deputy Minister of Social Rights of the Government of the Canary Islands, Gemma Martínez, said back in January that the archipelago is “clearly facing an humanitarian emergency situation” in the care of unaccompanied foreign minors, she appealed to all the administrations to take responsibility, as well as to the Government of Spain and the European Union (EU), during a meeting held with the representatives of the seven island Cabildos focused on addressing and specifying measures to care for unaccompanied migrant minors.

Martínez recognised then that the Canary Islands “are making an enormous effort” in the face of a “humanitarian drama”  and met with representatives of the central government and the other autonomous communities to organise the referral of unaccompanied foreign minors, under the tutelage of the regional Executive, to transfer them to the Peninsula.
The central government at that time had transferred a budget of €10 million to the Canary Islands to care for these minors, however they stipulated that it would be “necessary for the EU to realise that the Canary Islands archipelago is the southern-most border of Europe and as such cannot just be left alone” to deal with the large numbers in their care.
EU Commissioner
Martínez met with the European Commissioner for the Interior, Ylva Johansson, and her department to communicate to the EU that foreign minors, who arrive in the archipelago on peteras and cayucos, “cannot remain the exclusive responsibility of this autonomous community, but of all of Europe.”
She pointed out that migratory flows “will continue in the coming months and this makes it more necessary than ever” to organise to have a “more fluid” system of transfer to the Peninsula and of obtaining European funds to finance these resources for the reception of these youths by Island Cabildos and the Government of the Canary Islands.
At the time she also pointed out that in the month of January 2020 the Canary Islands were caring for a total of 540 unaccompanied foreign minors, and just a year later the figure had reached 2,656 minors,  an increase of 367%.
26 emergency facilities for the care of minors
The Ministry for Social Rights of the Government of the Canary Islands, headed up by Noemí Santana, has had to establish 26 emergency resource facilities for the care of minors, 16 of which have been on Gran Canaria, eight on Tenerife and two on Fuerteventura.
In total, up to the end of January 2021, the islands already had in their care 2,656 unaccompanied minors, Gran Canaria had 1,697; Tenerife 653; Lanzarote 151; Fuerteventura 69; La Palma 30; La Gomera 10; and El Hierro, 46. The current total, according to The Canary Islands Government Spokesperson, Julio Perez, now stands at 2,561, just 95 fewer than 3 months ago, a surprising enough figure even if you include the 101 who have travelled to the mainland and the approximately 90 or so individuals who were found to be adults pretending to by minors.  There have been NGOs who have estimated a much higher number of minors may actually be in the system, who may have arrived and been erroneously placed in adult camps.

Canary Islands Governments currently care for 2,561 Menores Extranjeros No Acompañados (MENAs) Unaccompanied Minors
Spokesperson and Canary Islands Government Minister of Public Administrations, Justice and Security, Julio Pérez, demanded, last Wednesday, a new law to ensure the fair distribution of unaccompanied migrant minors throughout Spain.
Pérez, appearing at a regional parliamentary commission to discuss the government response to this migratory phenomenon, detailed that in the Canary Islands there are 2,561 minors who have arrived on the islands by patera and only 101 have been referred to the Peninsula. He listed the numbers accepted by other regional executives throughout Spain: 18 have gone to Castilla y León, 25 to Extremadura, 15 to Navarra and 43 to Catalonia.
“This is solidarity” when the Canary Islands have asked for help, lamented the Minister, who said that these figures “are not valid”, because each community just requesting the number they want clearly does not work, but rather, in his view, a law is required that forces their distribution more equitably.
It does not “make sense”, he said, for the Canary Islands to host 2,561 children while it is simply “good will or solidarity” that compels other communities to join in the care of unaccompanied minors who have arrived on the islands by boat.
Pérez insisted on the importance of a law that establishes the distribution of unaccompanied minors based on several factors including population and resources, and not solely on their proximity to the border.
“The Autonomous Community of the Canary Islands [should] not have to care for all the children who arrive” Pérez said, and admitted that little progress has been made in this regard.
He emphasised that the European Union says that there must be mandatory co-responsibility and he defended the importance of this law to escape perpetuating some new version of colonialism, that has gone from exploiting to locking up migrants.
In his opinion, “emigration is a consequence of injustice and is a global phenomenon”, saying that the Canary Islands feel a legal and political responsibility, even though it is not their exclusive competence.
He has also requested that the European Union put Frontex patrol boats off the coast of West Africa, extending their usual zone of operation beyond the frontier coastal waters, to help, in his words, African countries to escape underdevelopment without appearing paternalistic, and was critical of this having been done with Morocco in an effort to promote better border security and development programs to halt migratory flows.
Importantly, he said he fully supports regular migration, saying that over the last year 23,608 immigrants arrived to the islands, and as of May 4, 4,885 people had arrived just this year.
According to Pérez, a total of just 3,328 irregular migrants remain on the islands, which means, he said, that “the others have left”, based on data from the Spanish Government Delegation in the Canary Islands.

Members of the regional parliament, from the various parties, wanted to add their voice to the search for solutions:
CC-PNC deputy Jana González, who had requested that Pérez appear in parliament, indicated that the Canary Islands can cope “no longer” and demanded the distribution of migrants throughout the national territory and, specifically, of minors to give them good social and educational care.
The PP deputy, Luz Reverón, denounced the inability of the Canary Islands and Spanish governments to articulate effective measures to put an end to the deaths at sea, while lamenting that there are young Africans wandering the streets without hope and without solutions within the Canary Islands, referring to the archipelago as de facto “prison islands”.
The Ciudadanos Deputy Ricardo Fernández de la Puente called attention to the fact that the rights of migrants are repeatedly violated in the Canary Islands, which has become a place for the “deprivation of rights” and where they have recorded “unacceptable numbers of deaths.”
The deputy for Sí Podemos Canarias, Francisco Déniz, said that migrants arriving by boat are experiencing “a real calamity and a human misfortune”, in the face of which the Canary Islands Government has done “everything in its power” and blamed the European Union for turning the islands into prisons for migrants.
The deputy for Nueva Canarias, Luis Campos, said he is in favour of a “clear, strong and forceful” migration policy in which it is “essential” that Government of the Canary Islands participate.


“An unprecedented emergency” Spain’s Ombudsman demands that the Interior Ministry not prevent the departure of migrants from the Canary Islands

The Ombudsman, Francisco Fernández Marugán, tasked, as the Public Defender, to investigate Spain’s response to The Canary Migrant crisis, has directly demanded that the Ministry of the Interior cease “police practices” that prevent migrants from leaving the Canary Islands to go to mainland Spain.  He clarified that these measures are not justifiable, even through arguments for immigration control, nor does stopping onward travel avoid the so-called “pull effect”, as the central government have apparently maintained. During his appearance in the Spanish Senate, to present his report on the migration crisis in the Canary Islands and explain the result of the inspections carried out in recent weeks, the commissioner said that conditions have at least “improved” so far this year, in reception camps set up for specifically this purpose, but that a pending issue in the management of migrants trying to continue on their route from the Archipelago remains.  He called for nationwide “solidarity distribution”, from among all Spain’s autonomous communities, to help care for the 2,776 unaccompanied minors that the Canary Islands community is currently protecting, in a situation that he described as an “unprecedented emergency”.

Fernández Marugán, Spain’s Ombudsman whose job it is to scrutinise the Government of Spain, said that the 3,780 migrant arrivals confirmed in the Canary Islands so far this year, up until the middle April (the latest official figures), represents and increase of 2,610 more people than those who arrived in the same period of time last year, that is a confirmed trend over recent months. In addition, he made clear that now “there is a significant deterioration in the health of the people who arrive” and that the arrival of women and children is increasing. So far this year, women have accounted for 13% of these arrivals, and 20% are children or adolescents. “Here is a new challenge. Migration was fundamentally male, without major health problems and as economic migrants. Today there is no such homogeneous migration ” he said, warning that the evidence points to increasing complexities in the management of migrant arrivals.
For Marugán, the “limitation of the movement of migrants is one of the problems of the migratory phenomenon”, he pointed out that “these limitations cannot be defended from the perspective of migratory control or to avoid the call effect.”
“You have to go the other way. The judicial resolutions have ordered the Ministry of the Interior to cease this practice,” emphasised the commissioner. He reminded the Senate that the majority of Moroccan nationals are provided with a passport and with a return resolution but that because of the current situation these “are not enforceable because repatriation flights are canceled.” He highlighted the cases of migrants from other origins “who cannot be repatriated to their countries because that route is closed at the moment”, such as the case of Senegal.”The return system is today impractical,” he stressed.
The Ombudsman insisted that “it is profoundly inappropriate to convert particular areas of Spain or Europe into places of deprivation of rights, such as the right to free movement”, and that “reception places cannot become simply places where repatriation is expected.”
“We must move, without further delay, to avoid this legal limbo and see to what extent these citizens have minimally resolved their future conditions,” he insisted, referring to the fact that large numbers of migrants already have an onward plan, many with contacts, friends and families that they are trying to reach.  As things stand right now, the state have to take full responsibility for clothing feeding and accommodating incoming migrants, with little or no ability to return them to countries of origin or transit, primarily due to pandemic restrictions.
The commissioner also took time to denounce the fact that women and children arriving on the Canary Islands often spend the first few days after their arrival being held at police stations and said that these are “police techniques” that should be done away with. “It is not a very humane way of acting,” saying that even “mothers with children have just been modestly restrained and are detained for 72 hours under very harsh conditions. This practice must cease immediately and these people must be referred to humanitarian facilities and not police facilities,” he said.
Migrant Minors
He said he also considers it to be a “regrettable fact” that there are minors in adult centres “due to the inadequate application of protocols that must be resolved.” He referred to the cases of children who have been separated from their mothers in these first days of arrival.. “It is a very hard action and we must see how this issue is resolved,” he said. “The children no longer come from their own country, they come from Africa, and we have to do everything possible so that these people are received with the greatest possible dignity,” he stressed.
One of the issues that Ombudsman Marugán had the most to say about was on the subject of unaccompanied minors, insistently calling for distribution among all Spain’s  autonomous communities as a whole. “Minors cannot fall exclusively under the guardianship of the Canarian authorities. All Administrations must agree on a solidarity distribution ”, he urged. “In view of the figures, it is not reasonable for the Canary Islands to assume the challenge posed by this protection alone, it requires the collaboration and solidarity of the rest of the centres on the Peninsula” he demanded “and a political will for adequate financing by the State”.
Latest inspections
The commissioner explained that during recent inspections by several officials between the 11th and 17th of this month, to a total of six reception centres and to review minors on the islands of Gran Canaria, Tenerife, Fuerteventura and El Hierro, it has been noted that “there has been an effort made, and it has been known, to find emergency solutions to face planning that has not always been the most appropriate”.
Specifically, the Ombudsman’s inspectors looked at the detention centres in Barranco Seco (Las Palmas) and Hoya Fría (Tenerife); the shared management centres – where Covid-19 positive migrants are isolated – Nave del Queso (Fuerteventura), Palmera Mar (Gran Canaria) and Albergue Frontera (El Hierro); as well as the centres for minors on Gran Canaria and Tenerife. They also visited the centres at Canarias 50, Colegio León and Nave Bankia in Las Palmas; Las Raíces and Las Canteras on Tenerife; and El Matorral on Fuerteventura. All of them, have been qualified for the reception of migrants within the framework of the Spanish Government’s “Canary Islands Plan”. They also visited the port of Arguineguín in Mogán (Gran Canaria), which, according to the Ombudsman, “was empty.”
“The Canary Islands Plan” he said “was the search for an answer to the lack of emergency centres. Coordination must be improved, but we are no longer starting from scratch as happened months ago…  We have started on the path to resolve the problem of arrivals, but problems remain to be solved,” he emphasised. He referred, for example, to various situations and complaints from migrants at different centres visited, many of whom have been transferred in recent weeks from hotels where they were temporarily housed to tents in the camps.
The Ombudsman explained to Spain’s deputies and senators the content of his report on the migration crisis on the Islands in 2020, which was first presented in the Cortes on March 3, and reiterated that it in his professional opinion, the report found that “the authorities were not prepared for an adequate response, that there was a lack of foresight, lack of coordination and a notable absence of reception measures”, as well as that “rights were repeatedly violated and the reception conditions profoundly degraded.”
He recalled that there were few lawyers available and that the spaces for them to act properly “are scarce or non-existent”, and he said that on many occasions lawyers are limited to validating with their signature the resolution of the returns. He urged that the Bar Associations ensure legal assistance “in adequate conditions.” He also denounced the shortage of interpreters of the African languages ​​in which the migrants express themselves.


On The Canary Route this year at least one person dies at sea, on average, every 32 hours

Air Force photograph showing twelve survivors and five deceased on board a cuyaco located in August 2020, by Search and Rescue (SAR), some 205 kilometres south of Gran Canaria. At that time there were twelve survivors on board. One died shortly after in the Maritime Rescue helicopter evacuating him.88 people so far this year are known to have died trying to reach the islands migrating by boat via The Canary Route. On average, the current death rate stands at one person every 32 hours, according to the data provided to Spanish news agency Efe by the two United Nations agencies that specialise in matters of migration, UNHCR, the refugee agency, and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).  These are the most accurate, verified figures we have.

According to the count carried out by the IOM’s Missing Migrants program, since the beginning of 2021, at least 87 people have lost their lives trying to reach the Canary Islands by boat, of which only 47 bodies have been recovered, a number that includes the 17 corpses still aboard a cuyaco (open boat) found by chance, adrift, 490km south of El Hierro, from which 3 survivors were rescued by helicopter and are now receiving critical care.
Among the victims so far this year, there are least eight children and six women, although the IOM states that the data are incomplete, because they usually do not receive much information on the age or sex of the occupants of the boats who perish at sea.  They collect their information from a range of sources including groups like Caminando Fronteras, a Spanish NGO that reports the departure of boats to the authorities to enable their rescue.  It is impossible to know about every departure along the more than 2,500km of West African coastline from where most start their journeys, and so it is impossible to know how many are never seen again.
Since the beginning of this year, 4,361 immigrants have arrived on the Canary Islands, or been rescued at sea near the islands, travelling in 119 boats, cayucos and inflatables, according to the latest updated figures from Spain’s Government Delegation.
The official record, published by the Ministry of the Interior, indicates that last year 1,936 immigrants had arrived on the islands between January 1 and April 30, a figure that this year has more than doubled (+ 125%, an increase of 2,425).
The mortality rate on The Canary Route currently stands at one death for every 49 arrivals (4,361/88). Throughout the balance of 2020, that number ended up being almost double: one confirmed death for every 27 arrivals (23,023/850 deaths confirmed by the IOM at the end of the year).


Las Palmas judgement concludes that migrants can legally travel from the Canary Islands to the Peninsula, with just their passport and an asylum request

A passport and an asylum application are sufficient documents for any migrant to legally travel from the Canary Islands to mainland Spain. This fact, under the law, was formally recognised by a judge at the Contentious-Administrative Court number 5, in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, this week. The magistrate, Ángel Teba, concluding the hearing, ordered the Jefatura Superior de Policía (Canary Islands’ Policia Nacional Headquarters) to allow a migrant, who was trying to travel from Gran Canaria to Barcelona on December 11, 2020, to fly. According to this ruling, seen by Independent Journalism Spanish Language news portal CanariasAhora, the man had been detained, along with 21 other people, at the airport because “they had a return resolution in force, in order to either proceed with their repatriation within 72 hours, or requesting they be detained at a CIE.” (Centro de internamiento de extranjeros – A foreigners’ internment centre)
Reporting: Timon .:.  –  Image by Antonio Cansino

The lawyer of the Secretariat of Migration of the Diocese of the Canary Islands, Daniel Arencibia, described feeling “very excited” by the judgement because “for months we have seen very gross breaches” by the police who, he pointed out, “are [meant] to fulfil rights, not to violate them.” He insisted that “no one can be left imprisoned on an island and deprived of their liberty without judicial authorisation.” In any case, he says, the order is precautionary and so there is still a possibility of appeal. But, while it is in force, he hopes that the Police will apply the principle of equality before the law and extend this order to all migrants who find themselves in the same situation.
Dozens of migrants, possibly hundreds, have been blocked at Canarian ports and airports from continuing their journeys attempting to migrate to Spain. During the last few months of 2020, Spain’s Ministry of the Interior reinforced documentation controls, both at origin and destination, in Spanish airports and ports, in order to stop migrants, who tried to leave the islands for the Peninsula, travelling from the Archipelago using their own funds and tickets bought. The central government decided to take advantage of health controls, meant to stop the spread of COVID-19, in order to block the free transit of people who had arrived in boats, known as pateras and cuyacos, arriving on the shores of the Islands, despite the fact that, by law, migrants who are in “an irregular administrative situation” do have the right to move freely throughout the national territory, as long as their return order has not been executed. In particular, migrant arrivals are all subject to strict covid-19 controls at their point of entry, and so are actually the least likely population to become vectors in spreading infection during the pandemic.
In short, under the law, the Spanish authorities had just 72 hours to enforce repatriation orders, and by not doing so, for what ever reason, migrants gain the right to free movement within Spain, so long as their paperwork is correct.  An asylum application and a valid passport is enough to travel onwards to anywhere in Spain.
Asked about what instructions had been given by the Ministry of the Interior to the National Police, to prevent migrants from flying to the Peninsula, the Ministry of the Interior, headed up by Fernando Grande-Marlaska, replied that “when a foreigner accesses the national territory irregularly, they are subject to a return procedure, during which they are detained for a period of 72 hours, for the governmental authority to order their return… After this period, if it is not possible to enable the return, the foreigner is released”.
In these cases, according to the Spanish Interior Ministry, the only existing limitations to travel on internal flights are related to compliance with regulations established by the different airlines and to compliance with the different restrictive perimeters and confinement measures that may exist within that Autonomous Community.
The judicial order also establishes that the only restrictions applicable to migrants, who try to travel to the Peninsula, are those imposed by each autonomous community to stop COVID-19.

Editor’s Comment:
Undoubtedly there is some wiggle room here, and the decision may well be appealed.  It is arguable whether an asylum seeking migrant should be allowed to travel under Alert Level 3 restrictions, for instance, which ban non-essential travel for residents, however allows tourists to travel on production of the appropriate test results.  We are in a pandemic still, these things will need to be considered with every action required under the law.
Although the “blockade” on migrants trying to leave The Canary Islands in no way accounts for the majority, to our understanding, of those who have arrived here irregularly over the last year, it is a fact that large numbers of those who arrived with their own funds, and tickets to travel, and who followed all the correct procedures to establish their status under the law, were stopped from travelling, forced to stay on the islands, unable to reach their final destinations.  They were delayed, and searched and interrogated unnecessarily, meaning that they missed their flights and ships and were forced to rely on the wholly inadequate migrant reception system, while they tried to find their way forward.
Whatever your beliefs about the fact of migration.  It remains true that many of the migrants who were forced to stay on the islands last year, could have carried on their journeys legally, and thus relieved some of the pressure on a system that was so ill-prepared, despite repeated warnings, that it became quickly overloaded to the point where emergency solutions needed to be hastily found.  Luckily there were enough empty hotels for us to be able to avoid a much worse crisis, allowing for migrant arrivals, at least temporarily, to be accommodated, and hoteliers compensated, which worked out to be the best short-term solution available.
Now many of those migrants who were blocked from travelling find themselves in camps, and in some cases at least, subject to deplorable conditions.  Many of them have friends and family in mainland Spain, to whom they were trying to reach, without asking for handouts or help or assistance, but now find themselves stuck as burdens to the reception system, when they would much prefer to be trying to complete their journeys to find a better life.
It is a difficulty.  One that we must address in the weeks and months to come, as the potential for further arrivals begins to increase along with improving weather conditions.  It is highly unlikely that migrants will need to be accommodated in tourist establishments, particularly as tourism begins to slowly return, but the question remains: What is the plan?  How will we be dealing with any greater numbers of arrivals?  Has anyone stopped for long enough, to lay out a new set of protocols to help us ensure that resident’s fears and, in many cases, legitimate demands do not lead to the sort of aimless protests we saw on our streets last year?
How will we ensure that all people’s rights, as enshrined in Spanish law, including resident’s and migrant’s rights, are served justly?
How can we stop reactionaries and angry, fearful people from controlling the narrative in what is still, essentially, a humanitarian crisis, far beyond most people’s control?  Who is it we want to show ourselves to be?
Whatever your views on how migrants arrive on The Canary Islands, and the fact of their trying to continue their journeys onwards, using their own funds to buy flight and ferry tickets, the law is clear:

Spain has just 72 hours to enforce any return order, or release any person in their custody not subject to criminal charges. They are free to travel under the same conditions as everyone else.

Anyone with a valid passport and the correct paperwork, under the current legislation, is allowed to travel within Spanish territories. That is the fact of it, and that is the law. If you want to change it, then you need to change the law.
Otherwise, we must live within the law, and we rightly should expect everyone else to do so too. The Canary Islands are not a prison, we are a Spanish territory and people have rights, and it is our job to protect those rights. What we do best, here, is treat people well and with dignity. A world class destination, we offer hospitality and safety, for everyone.  We work together, and we follow the law.
Let’s end this blockade.


Nearly 50 arrests as part of Gran Canaria Policia Nacional investigation against people trafficking to The Canary Islands

The police raids across the South of Gran Canaria, on Friday, as part of a cross border investigation into the illegal organising of irregular migration, in the municipality of Mogán, have resulted in nearly 50 arrests, with a confirmed total of 27 arrested on Gran Canaria, 17 of whom have been directly jailed on charges. Policia Nacional Agents have made between 15 and 20 more arrests in mainland Spain related to these events, investigating alleged crimes including the illegal trafficking of migrants by boats from the west African coasts to the Canary Islands.

A large number of the detainees include Moroccan nationals and natives of that country, naturalised as Spanish, as well as Italians all allegedly working together along with various other groups.  There has not yet been any confirmations regarding other nationalities. The investigation continues to be open, though under a strict secrecy order, and searches continue to be conducted at a score of establishments, including two hairdressers, a travel agency and apartments located in Arguineguín, Puerto Rico, Playa del Cura and Motor Grande.
The investigation, and the corresponding operation against human trafficking, began in the Canary Islands and is under the direction of the General Police Department for Immigration and Borders, with agents from Madrid, supported by their colleagues from the Maspalomas Police Command and the Superior Police Headquarters in The Canary Islands, who on Friday morning deployed along the south coast of Gran Canaria to carry out searches and arrests, following several months of investigation.

Editor’s comment:
With nearly 50 arrests in total already, more than half of them on Gran Canaria, and 17 already jailed on charges, this operation is looking more and more like the result of a massive investigation which is now bringing some real and tangible results. 
Nevertheless numbers, travelling along what is known as The Canary Route, have more than doubled already this year, so it remains to be seen whether the dismantling of this criminal group is likely to have any serious affect on the numbers expected to be arriving this summer.  Lots of work is going on at the points of departure and countries of origin too, to try to stem the flow.  Only time will tell if this changes the situation.  Whichever way you look at it, there are millions of people displaced across the Sahel and troubles on the coasts of Africa as well as in Western Sahara, we must prepare to face the probability that this is just one small drop in a vast, and unforgiving, ocean.


Secret police operation makes 30 arrests since coordinated raids across south of Gran Canaria on Friday

Reporting: Timon .:. Cover Image: Bård Ove MyhrSpanish National Police have so far detained a total of around thirty people as part of a secret police operation, what is being termed as a macro-operation, against people trafficking and irregular migration, linked to the arrivals of open boats travelling from the West African coast to the Canary Islands, according to sources close to the investigation. A large deployment of heavily armed police wearing balaclavas and bullet proof vests, and carrying a large number of automatic weapons, assisted by Europol, on Friday, led to coordinated raids across the south of Gran Canaria, in particular the municipality of Mogán, and also on the island of Tenerife. A large number of arrests were made, many of the detainees were foreign residents who had lived here long enough to have already gained Spanish nationality, and among them a mixture of origins including Italians and Moroccans. The operation continues, and more deployments and arrests in the coming days have not been ruled out.

Policia Nacional accuse those detained of having committed a range of alleged crimes, related to the illegal trafficking of people, the organising of communications and travel in open boats, known as pateras and cayucos from various points along the coast of West Africa, to enable their irregular entry into the Archipelago, and thereby Spanish territories and Europe, in addition to the alleged trafficking in women, falsification of documents and providing migrants with fake passports with which to leave the Islands.
This still secret police operation against the traffickers began on Friday morning, with raids on several different tourist establishments and apartments throughout the south of Gran Canaria. Directed by the General Police Department for Immigration and Borders,  agents were sent from Madrid, to act with the collaboration of the Maspalomas National Police Station and the Canary Islands Primary Police Command.
Image: Canariavisen.noDifferent teams of agents simultaneously arrived in Mogán to serve warrants and carry out searches in establishments including hairdressers and beauty parlours, travel agencies and vacation homes, all in Arguineguín, Playa del Cura, Puerto Rico de Gran Canaria and Motor Grande.
The signs of the operation underway began at a hairdresser located on Calle Alcalde Paco González in Arguineguín, and then continued at another located in the Shopping Center Puerto Rico, both establishments owned by the same individual. Investigators also inspected the offices of a travel agency and raided tourism apartments located in Motor Grande, the upper area of ​​Puerto Rico, and in Playa del Cura.
The raided premises, however, where not sealed off, and on Saturday life in the usually popular tourist resort towns returned pretty much to normal, with the exception of these shops and salons all being closed. The ongoing police investigation is currently under summary order of secrecy and so few details have yet emerged about the arrestees, the charges made against them, who else could be involved, nor their specific modus operandi.

Migrant Arrivals by Sea to Canary Islands
This is not the first operation that the Policia Nacional have carried out on the Islands. Last year several illegal organisations, directly involved in human trafficking, were dismantled in Lanzarote, in a year in which an increase of tens of thousands of people have arrived on the Canary Islands. So far, in 2021, 6,122 migrants have entered Spain by sea up until March 31, 3,436 of them arriving on the coasts of the Canary Islands which is to say more than double the numbers that had arrived by this time last year, a 117% increase already in 2021, according to the biweekly report published by the Ministry of the Interior.

Ministry of Interior Irregular Migration

Migrant Arrivals By to Spain by Land or Sea

Total Migrant Arrivals to Spain by Sea

Migrant Arrivals to Peninsula and Balearics

Migrant Arrivals by Sea to Ceura

Migrant Arrivals by Sea to Melilla

Total Migrant Arrivals to Ceuta and Melilla

Migrant Arrivals by Land to Ceuta

Migrant Arrivals by Land to Melilla


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