"Refugees are people fleeing conflict and persecution. Their status and protection are defined by international law, and they should not be expelled or returned to situations where their lives and freedoms would be at risk.
This is how UNHCR defines refugees on its website.
Six days ago, a boat with 41 people arrived at Isla de la Tierra, under Spanish sovereignty; 20 women, three of them pregnant and six children. Many of these women asked for urgent international protection when the Spanish authorities arrived on the island. The response to these requests was a tear gas attack. Hours later they were expelled to Morocco with no knowledge of their exact whereabouts among their contacts. Two days ago, the fate of these people was still unknown.
In recent weeks we have witnessed the deportation of minors who had arrived in Ceuta several months ago. They were children fleeing their homes because their lives and liberties were at risk. Many were expelled without being heard and had their rights violated. Lawyers and activists succeeded in stopping these illegal deportations.
At the same time, Afghanistan is again in the media spotlight following the arrival of the Taliban in Kabul, taking de facto control of the whole country. Thousands of people have been fleeing ever since. Social networks have been filled with messages of support and solidarity. Politicians are also showing their support for the people who are fleeing and opening the doors of their countries to welcome them.
At this point we cannot stop asking ourselves, is it that the lives of all people are not worth the same? Is it that some people deserve to be heard and welcomed with dignity more than others? Have we normalised the arrival of people to our country through the Southern Border to such an extent that their lives no longer matter?
Focusing on the media spotlight as if the reality around us were not true (young people sleeping and living badly on the streets or in industrial warehouses, 4 and 5 months waiting list to enter a public shelter, segregated shelters for certain nationalities, etc), lets us see the type of people who form the government of the Spanish state, of Europe and of the cities where we live.
We demand #legalpathways and #safereception conditions for ALL people who arrive, and have arrived in our country fleeing places where their lives and freedoms were at risk, and not only those of the media-friendly nationalities of the moment.
Pictures from the Twitter accounts: Helena Maleno, Alarm Phone, Soutik Biswas and Acogida Digna website's.