Activists rally in Extremadura to demand Spain immediately increase intake of Syrian refugees

Pro-refugees protest in Merida's Plaza de España. Photo: El Diario
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• Only 12 of 16,231 Syrian refugees have so far arrived to Spain

• Groups say stranded refugees face harsh winters in Italy, Greece camps

Activists from human rights, pro-refugee and peace groups in Extremadura’s capital Mérida have called on the Spanish government to step up its intake of the 16,231 Syrian refugees it has promised to accept under an EU agreement, so as not to force the refugees to spend months in Central European refugee camps under harsh winter conditions.

Amnesty International Spain joined the Refugiados Extremadura group, the Coordinadora de ONG de Extremadura (Extremadura Coordinating Council of NGOs), the Amigos del Pueblo Saharaui de Mérida (Friends of the Saharaui People) and the No a la Guerra (No To War) movement in a rally in Merida’s central Plaza de España to call on the government to take more refugees immediately.

So far, of the 16,231 refugees that Spain has agreed to accept only 12 have actually arrived from refugee processing camps located in Italy and Greece, prompting a Refugiados Extremadura organizer of the rally to note it would take 100 years to for Spain to reach its commitment level at that rate.

The rally organizers said Spain has a moral duty on the basis of respect for human rights to take in all the refugees it could as soon as possible.

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