NGOs contest Felipe VI’s remarks at UN on refugees

Spain's Felipe VI (R) greets U.S. President Barack Obama at UN General Assembly in New York. Photo: AP via El País
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• Spain not ‘doing everything in its power’ to help refugees, say leading NGOs
• Groups cite rights of asylum, failure to accept more refugees as per EU accord

Non-governmental organisations working with refugees in Spain have expressed their dismay over Spanish head of state King Felipe VI’s remarks in a speech to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) indicating Spain was doing “everything in its power” to meet the refugee crisis.

Both the Spanish Committee for Refugee Aid (CEAR, Comisión Española de Ayuda al Refugiado) and Oxfam Intermón said that while the King’s exhortation to all countries to do more to resolve the ongoing global refugee crisis is welcome, his comment on Spain’s role in easing the refugee crisis in the Mediterranean did not reflect reality. CEAR cited ongoing human rights issues with Spain turning away political asylum seekers at its North African enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla, while Oxfam Intermón noted that Spain had done little to resettle the nearly 16,000 refugees it pledged to accept  from the greater Middle East and Africa as part of a 2015 European Union accord.

Just prior to the Felipe VI’s speech at the UN in New York, where the U.S. State Department on Tuesday hosted a parallel day-long Leaders’ Summit on the Global Refugee Crisis, Oxfam Intermón issued a report entitled “Spain has failed in response to the global refugee crisis” (España suspende en la respuesta a la crisis mundial de desplazados). According to the report, Spain has so far accepted just 1 percent of the 15,888 individuals it pledged to relocate from camps in Greece, Italy and Turkey as part of the EU plan.

► Read More in Spanish at Servimedia via EcoDiario, EFE and El País …

► Read More in English at and The Olive Press …

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