Catalonia criticizes 'low' number of Afghan evacuees and asks for greater resources
Afghan women in Barcelona call on Spain to do more for those in need
According to Catalan equality and feminism minister Tània Verge, the number of Afghan refugees – 208 in total – who have arrived in Catalonia over the past few weeks is remarkably "low."
Spain "prioritized" the evacuation of people who had worked for the Spanish military in the country, Verge told the Catalan News Agency, as well as their family members following the fall of Kabul to the Taliban on August 15 and the departure of Western forces.
Spain, where only 5% of applicants are granted asylum, far below the 30% average across the European Union, has taken in around 1,700 Afghan refugees.
Yet, she said, plenty of people still need to find a way out and are in need of "safe and legal" ways to do so. This is particularly the case of "family members of people who already live here, human rights activists, members of the LGBTI community, and ethnic minorities."
Catalonia, Verge believes, "needs all Spanish and European resources" available in order to take more people in. "208 people have arrived from Afghanistan as of last week, but we expect more to come via other routes in the future," she added.
Protest in Barcelona
A handful of Afghan women gathered in front of the Catalan government headquarters in Barcelona on Tuesday morning to call on Spain to do more for those in need.
"The loss of Afghanistan is not an individual loss," Lema Rashid, the group's spokesperson, argued, but rather one that will affect Spain and the rest of Europe too.