• Stop Mare Mortum says gov’t has failed to meet legal obligations on refugees
• NGO says case will go to Supreme Court if EU resettlement deadline not met
A Barcelona-based refugee advocacy group, the Stop Mare Mortum platform, has filed a formal legal action to force the Spanish government to comply with its commitments to relocate tens of thousands of refugees before a September 2017 deadline expires under the terms of a 2015 accord signed by all member states of the European Union.
According to Stop Mare Mortum, for Spain to meet its agree-upon quota of refugee resettlement the government will need to welcome more than 19,000 asylum-seekers from the war-torn Middle East who are currently being held in refugee camps in Greece, Italy, Lebanon and Turkey. So far, the organization says, Spain has only offered to accept 1,000 asylum seekers and since January 2016 has actually accepted only 886 refugees under the terms of the accord.
Stop Mare Mortum says it was compelled to file the lawsuit given the deaths of thousands of refugees and immigrants in the ongoing dangerous crossing of the Mediterranean Sea by individuals and families fleeing violence in the Middle East and seeking asylum in European countries.
A lawyer representing the organization says the 2015 refugee agreement is subject to European law and the Spanish government has failed to meet its obligations under the law to periodically resettle a specific number of refugees in order to meet its entire quota by the September 2017 deadline. The government, the lawyer said, has until 21st July to respond to the legal action filed by Stop Mare Mortum and if no response is forthcoming the organization will file take the case to Spain’s Supreme Court.