4th June 2023
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Refugees reach Barcelona

The 60 migrants rescued at the Mediterranean Sea near the Libyan coast by the Catalan NGO Open Arms are now safe on land. They reached Barcelona port on Wednesday morning and the Red Cross is in charge of coordinating their humanitarian and social intervention. The migrants will be provided basic necessities, emotional support and legal advice. The Spanish government will also grant them a 30-day humanitarian visa, fifteen days less than with the 629 refugees of the ‘Aquarius’ rescue boat. This permit has been branded as “insufficient” by Barcelona’s local government.

For the Open Arms director, Òscar Camps, not enough is being done to help migrants in the Mediterranean. “We didn’t save 60 people, we let 340 die,” he said on Wednesday.

The refugees arrived at 10.30am local time, after being stranded at sea in the Mediterranean and rescued by NGO Open Arms on Saturday. The new Spanish government greenlighted its arrival in the Catalan capital after the mayor of the city, Ada Colau, said Barcelona was “ready to welcome the vessel and all the rescued people.”

Yet on Wednesday, she denounced the conditions which the migrants will face in the coming days. The Spanish government will grant them 30-day humanitarian visas, but Colau called on Madrid to provide them with temporary work permits to avoid them being in “administrative limbo or in the informal economy.” One of her deputies, Jaume Asens, said that some of them will “continue their migrant route,” but the ones staying will be “sentenced to precariousness.”

Residence near to Barcelona

The 50 male migrants rescued will be given accomodation in the Joaquim Blume residence, which is run by the Catalan government in Esplugues de Llobregat, near to Barcelona. It usually hosts sports people, has room for 140 and over the summer will not only host the 50 men from the Open Arms boat, but also other socially vulnerable people.

The five women in the ship will receive aid in Barcelona, while the Catalan department of Child Care will be in charge of the unaccompanied, underage migrants in the boat.

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