Sunday, April 18

The Ombudsman claims an office for disappeared immigrants on the Ruta Canaria

Francisco Fernández Marugán, defender of the people.

Francisco Fernández Marugán, defender of the people.

The Ombudsman has called for identification systems for the disappeared immigrants in the Canary Route and the creation of an information and care office for family members that will also serve to improve prevention and rescue efforts and reduce the number of deaths.

A recommendation that the acting ombudsman, Francisco Fernández Marugán, includes in his report “Migration in the Canary Islands”, which he made public this Wednesday and which he has prepared after his visit to the archipelago last November to know first-hand the conditions of reception of immigrants.

There were 23,023 who arrived in 745 boats last year to the Canary Islands, according to the official balance of the Ministry of the Interior, but the United Nations International Organization for Migration (IOM) it estimates that at least 600 lost their lives in the attempt, a figure that is a minimal estimate since the actual number of lives lost may be much higher.

In fact, the Caminando Fronteras collective raises the number of deaths and disappearances in that area of ​​the Atlantic to 1,851 people, according to the information it collects through its alert phone and the accounts of survivors or families who are in search of people. missing.

Red Cross calculates that the flow of pateras towards the islands has a mortality rate of between 5 and 8%. If these percentages are applied to the 23,023 who arrived in the Canary Islands in 2020, the range of victims ranges between 1,151 and 1,841.


In his report, the Ombudsman explains that they have received various complaints due to the difficulty faced by the relatives of those who travel to Canary Islands to obtain information on the status and whereabouts of the survivors, the actions carried out for their rescue and identification or to report the disappearance of their relatives.

And it regrets that no Administration assumes its responsibility when it comes to caring for the families of the survivors and of the victims and of “promoting actions aimed at documenting the number of disappearances along this dangerous route.”

The absence of a passenger registry and the limited number of complaints registered – either due to the survivors’ fear of reprisals or due to obstacles encountered by families – also make it difficult to identify and count of those who lose their lives in the attemptthe report asserts.

The institution explains that they have initiated actions to identify the framework and action protocols in force, as well as the responses of the state and local authorities and reveals that it has requested information about the tasks of identifying possible disappearances, the comparison with the data of the identified survivors and the care provided to their families.

“Being aware of the difficulties that the identification of the deceased and the care of their families entails in this context, the Ombudsman considers it necessary to find a clear formula to respond to the families, contributing in turn, through documentation and effective monitoring , to improve prevention and rescue tasks that allow to finally reduce the number of deaths on this route “, concludes the Ombudsman.

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