Migrant situation on Canary Islands dire, says commissioner

Among the most dangerous routes to Europe

19 January, 17:22

    Migrants rescued off the coast of Canary Islands, Spain Migrants rescued off the coast of Canary Islands, Spain

    BRUSSELS - European Commissioner Ylva Johansson said Tuesday that the situation as concerns migrants on the Canary Islands was very serious.

    She was speaking before the European Parliament during a debate on the humanitarian situation of migrants and refugees on the external borders of the EU.

    The commissioner added that last year there was a 1,000% increase in undocumented entrances and that this was the reason why the European Commission had provided further financing through its agencies and also through Frontex, which is present on the Canary Islands to support the Spanish authorities.

    She added that it is important to look closely at the issue of migrant routes and that through the Canary Islands is one of the most dangerous ones to Europe. She noted that the number of victims along the route is unknown and that ''we must work with our external partners to protect human lives'' and work against traffickers.

    Johansson stressed that not all those that want to go to the EU have the right to remain there and that only those with the right to international protection and asylum would be allowed to.

    However, she stressed, ''we are speaking about human beings, we are speaking about people'' and thus there is a duty to treat them as such.

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