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Refugee crisis likely to worsen due to conflicts, says human rights group

"We need migtration policies aligned to human rights," says Iridia member in interview with Catalan News

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13 June 2018 08:05 PM

by

ACN | Barcelona

As the debate on the refugee crisis and migrant policy returns to the political forefront, Catalan News speaks to Júlia Trias, technical director at Irídia, a Barcelona-based human rights group, about the ongoing situation. According to her, it is getting worse.

“We try to monitor the situation of people trying to reach Spain or Europe through the Mediterranean. In 2017, 22,000 people arrived by boat in Spain, and more or less 250 people were found missing or dead. In relation to the previous year, these numbers have multiplied by three,” she explained.

“It’s the first year that we’re almost reaching the peak we had in 2006 in Spain, where almost 30,000 people arrived by boat.”

According to Trias, it’s hard to know what to expect for the coming years. “We think that because of the conflicts, people will continue arriving,” she said. For this reason, it is necessary to be “prepared” and “have migration policies that are aligned with human rights.”

“Institutional violence”

Trias also highlighted the problems faced by those that make it to European shores, and find themselves in migration detention centres. “There is a lot of institutional violence inside, and there are people inside those centres suffering violations of their rights,” she said. In Spain as a whole, there are seven migrant detention centres.

“A lot still to do"

As for the new Spanish president’s decision to allow the stranded rescue ship Aquarius, carrying more than 600 refugees, to dock in the port of Valencia, south of Catalonia, Trias said that she sees it as a step in the right direction but hoped this is just the “first movement.”

“We see this new movement from the new Spanish government as positive as we have been trying to make the Spanish government listen to us for many years and to really help those people trying to arrive to Spain or to Europe for many years,” she explained. “However we still think there are a lot of things to do so we don't think it will be a positive movement if those people arrive to Valencia or Spain, and afterwards are [deported] to their countries of origin. We don't think this is the way that the Spanish migrant policy should be designed.” 

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  • Júlia Trias, technical director at Barcelona-based human rights group Irídia (by ACN)

  • Júlia Trias, technical director at Barcelona-based human rights group Irídia (by ACN)