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Racism, Islamophobia must be resolved in Europe to prevent irregular migration: Spanish NGO

June 20, 2024 at 3:43 pm

People march against racism and Islamophobia in Paris, France on 21 April 2024. [Mohamad Salaheldin Abdelg Alsayed – Anadolu Agency]

If racism and Islamophobia problems are not solved in Europe, legal migration could not be achieved, according to a Spanish non-governmental organisation, Caminando Fronteras (Walking Borders), Anadolu Agency reports.

Helena Maleno, spokesperson for the NGO which works on irregular migration from Africa to Europe, told Anadolu that Europe needs legal immigration to maintain its economic working system, but no steps have been taken in this regard.

“If we do not solve the problems of racism and Islamophobia in Europe, we cannot talk about legal migration,” Maleno said.

Underlining the rise of the far right in the European Parliament, she said the current political situation will worsen the already dramatic problem of irregular migration.

“We are in a critical period. The number of irregular migrants who died during the journey to Europe was at an intolerable level in 2023 (with 6,618 deaths). This year is even more catastrophic,” she said.

READ: EU agency sees fundamental rights under threat in Europe

With the rise of the far right in Europe, human rights in the immigration problem will worsen, and deaths, crime and the commercialisation of the irregular immigrant flow will increase, she added.

She added that the immigration issue “has always been abused in Europe and mafia lies have been told for 30 years.”

“In fact, on the migration issue, both (far-right Italian Prime Minister Giorgia) Meloni and (leftist Spanish Prime Minister Pedro) Sanchez are implementing the same policies. The difference is that one of them says it out loud, the other one remains silent and approves,” she noted.

The EU Migration and Asylum Pact adopted in May is basing this business entirely on commercial foundations.

“This pact will especially increase illegal child traffic and increase deaths. This is very clear,” she added.

According to the report released recently by the Spanish NGO, a total of 5,054 irregular migrants lost their lives while trying to come to the shores of Spain in the first 5 months of 2024, and 4,808 of these deaths were on the Canary Islands route.

“The migrants who died at sea are not Europeans. That’s why it doesn’t upset the Europeans. They watch the dead migrants like an adventure movie,” she said, adding that no search and rescue mechanism is activated, despite all the information given.

Noting that the irregular immigrant flow towards the Spanish coast from Senegal last year and from Mauritania this year has accelerated, she said Mauritania is used as a transit country for migration from Africa to Europe.

READ: Austria hails controversial ‘Rwanda model’ as trailblazer in combating irregular migration to Europe