REFUGEE CRISIS

Spain rejected seven of every 10 asylum requests in 2015

Yearly report from Spanish Commission for Refugee Aid warns of “serious setback” in terms of international protection for displaced peoples

Presentation of the CEAR report on Thursday in Madrid.
Presentation of the CEAR report on Thursday in Madrid.Chema Moya / EFE

The Spanish Commission for Refugee Aid (CEAR) warned on Thursday that last year just three out of every 10 requests for asylum that were examined were accepted in Spain. That’s 31%, down from 44% the year before.

In other words, Spain rejected seven out of every 10 requests that were accepted for consideration.

By nationality, Spain has received most asylum requests from Syria, with 5,724 people last year

The increased controls at borders and inaction when it comes to offering legal means to request international protection in Europe and Spain has caused “a serious setback” and has put a human right such as asylum “in danger,” according to the yearly report from CEAR. In the case of Spain, which in 2015 registered 15,000 requests, the document reveals that just 3,240 were resolved, of which 31% (1,020) were granted. The EU average for granting such requests is 50%.

The percentage has fallen despite a rise in the volume of requests, the report explains. The 15,000 registered in Spain in 2015 is well up on the 6,000 seen the year before. “Spain has broken a scrawny record,” explained CEAR general secretary Estrella Galán at the presentation of the report, given that it has only received 1% of the total number of requests in the EU, which come in at 1.3 million. Countries such as Germany and Sweden have seen 476,000 and 162,000 requests, respectively.

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By nationality, Spain has received most asylum requests from Syria, with 5,724 people last year. Next is Ukraine, with 3,440, and Palestine, with 809. Of the requests, 63% were from men, and 37% from women.

CEAR warns that European states are putting “impediments” in the way of refugees exercising their right to asylum, forcing them to seek routes that are more and more dangerous, among which are those that include crossing the Mediterranean, which is “the deadliest route in the world,” according to the NGO.

Galán explained that one in every 27 people who tries to reach Europe via that sea route ends up dead, a rate that has risen over the months of April and May to one in every 17. CEAR estimates that 3,000 people have died so far in 2016 trying to make the crossing. “International agreements have been left to flounder in the Mediterranean,” she concluded.

English version by Simon Hunter.

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