The Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Arancha González Laya, sent a strong message this Sunday against irregular migration during his visit to Senegal, warning that whoever wants to migrate to Spain must do so through legal channels.
“Whoever uses the illegal routes will have to return to their country. Therefore, whoever wants to use the legal channels, “González Laya told the press in Dakar, underlining that he has the support of the Senegalese authorities. “The doors of Spain will be open for Senegalese who want to migrate to Spain in a legal and orderly manner,” he added.
The visit of the head of Spanish diplomacy took place at a time when hundreds of young people were once again riding canoes from the coast of this West African country to try to reach the Canary Islands, which evokes the cayuco crisis of 2016, when almost 32,000 people came to those Spanish islands from Senegal, Mauritania and Morocco. So far this year, they are more than 18,400 people those that have reached these islands, more than half of them in the last month.
The economic effects of Covid-19 and the restriction of movements on land migration routes, due to the closure of many borders due to the pandemic, are some of the reasons that have caused the reactivation of the migration route through the Atlantic.
The minister @AranchaGlezLaya visit the #IvoryDestacament of the @Airforce in #Senegal🇸🇳, which supports Operation #Barkhane from @Armee_de_lair🇫🇷 fighting #terrorism jihadist in #Mali and the #Sahel.
– Exteriors (@MAECgob) November 22, 2020
“We know that one of the consequences of this pandemic was going to be an increase in migration,” admitted the minister, noting that she believes that “Spain was ready” because “the Government has been working on this issue for months and, therefore, is being able to respond in this prompt and comprehensive manner“.
However, he clarified, “it is true that the situation, especially this Atlantic route, has opened up very quickly and with a gran number of people who have arrived in a short period of time; and in that also it is necessary to work to absorb it “.
González Laya indicated that Spain is going to reinforce the presence of the Spanish Civil Guard and National Police in Senegal “to dismantle criminal networks of human trafficking in this country. ” The Civil Guard and the Spanish National Police have been in Senegal since 2006, when they activated a Hispano-Senegalese device of mixed patrols to control migratory flows.
Likewise, he stated that Spain and Senegal will work so that “those irregular persons who have arrived in Spain of Senegalese nationality are returned to their country. We will do so by respecting the rules, conventions and agreements that Senegal has with Spain “.
For her part, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Senegal, Aissata Tall Sall, declared that “the Government of Senegal, under the directives of His Excellency, President Macky Sall, has taken courageous measures” for “the fight against irregular migration”
“A lot is expected of us and a lot is expected of you. Together we will be able to stop this phenomenon and find satisfactory solutions that will preserve the dignity of our respective peoples and the interests of our governments. It is a colossal task that requires frank collaboration, a better solution and strengthened cooperation from both parties, “added Sall.
González Laya also met with the Senegalese president, who He expressed his support for the fight against human trafficking and for the repatriation of Senegalese arriving in Spain by illegal means. In the same way, thanked the agreement that both countries signed for protect workers so that they do not lose their acquired rights in Social Security if they decide to return to their respective countries.
“It is a way of giving a clear signal that Spain has the doors open for legal migration“, declared González Laya, who this Friday requested the support of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the UN Agency for Refugees (UNHCR) in managing the strong increase in arrivals of cayucos to the Canary Islands.