The Spanish Commission for Refugee Aid (CEAR) has called on all European countries, including Spain, to guarantee legal and safe ways to welcome Ukrainian refugees fleeing the armed conflict in their country.
The organization considers that the European Union is facing “a new opportunity to recover its founding values”. For this reason, it calls on neighboring states not to close their borders to “people who need to seek refuge and make their lives safe” and that, in case of need, member states commit to “the mandatory relocation of these people in accordance with the principle of solidarity and shared responsibility.”
“The EU response is unanimous in condemning Russian attacks that violate international law. We ask them to be equally forceful in respecting the right of these people to seek asylum and to offer reception if necessary,” said Estrella Galán, director general of CEAR.
Among the legal and safe ways that CEAR demands is the possibility of activating the Temporary Protection Directive, applicable for emergency situations in case of mass influx of displaced persons, as well as the creation of humanitarian corridors from Ukraine or neighboring countries that allow the orderly and safe exit and the implementation of agile processes of family reunification.
Since 2014, the year the war in the Dombas region began, 15,751 Ukrainians have applied for asylum in Spanish territory and this is expected to increase considerably in the coming months. During 2021, 24% of asylum resolutions from Ukraine were favorable. Before the bombings in Ukraine this week, there were already 854,000 displaced persons in the country.
Meanwhile, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is working with the authorities, the UN and other partners in Ukraine to address the crisis and has prepared, together with the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and other organizations, a Humanitarian Response Plan for 2022. The Agency is also working with the governments of neighboring countries, which it has asked to keep their borders open for those seeking safety and protection.