Spain actively contributes to 1st Global Refugee Forum, called by United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)

The Forum represents a unique opportunity for Spain to present its commitments and specific contributions on refugees to the international community.

The Spanish delegation attending the 1st Global Refugee Forum, headed up by the Acting Minister for Home Affairs, Fernando Grande-Marlaska and also including the State Secretary for Migration, attached to the Ministry of Work, Migration and Social Security, as well as senior officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation, and the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (Spanish acronym: AECID), defended Spain’s commitment to the Global Compact on Refugees on Tuesday, and presented the five fields in which the government is actively working to improve the treatment of displaced persons, highlighting the overhaul of the Asylum and Refugee Office, which has led to a large increase in the number of applications resolved.

Minister Grande-Marlaska pointed out that the Forum, set up by the United Nation High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), with the collaboration of the Swiss Government, “represents a decisive step in achieving the goals of the Global Compact on Refugees”, which Spain actively participated in during the negotiation and adoption process. “Against a backdrop marked by the increase in the number of forced displacements, it is essential for this first Forum on Refugees to provide an opportunity to translate the principle of the distribution of international responsibility into concrete actions”, he declared.

The Acting Minister for Home Affairs also recalled that Spain is a country committed to international protection, as it demonstrated in the fact that, since 2012, the applications presented in the country have risen by a factor of 14, exceeding 100,000 in 2019.

The State Secretariat for Migration, headed up by Consuelo Rumí, explained that the implementation of national resettlement programmes has allowed the number of people to be resettled within the framework of the programme to rise from 130 in 2014 to 1,200 in 2018. Over the next two years, the aim is to design multiannual resettlement plans, increasing the number of people resettled and working on improving preliminary information provided to those people resettled and helping them to benefit from the family reunification programmes in place.

The goal is to receive, through EU sponsorship programmes, a total of 500 refugees in two years. To achieve that, the number of existing places in the Basque Country will be increased and new programmes will be started up in the autonomous regions of Valencia, Madrid and Catalonia. In addition, in the period 2019/2020, work will be done with the aim of granting 300 visas/grants for university refugees, achieving the family reunification of a total of 300 refugees and facilitating access by refugees to the job market.

The document presented by Spain at this meeting, attended by world leaders, representatives of civil society, leading figures from the international community and members of the private sector to analyse and exchange practices related to policies on migration, asylum and refugees, is structured around two main pillars: an analysis of the Spanish system for refugees, ensuring that Spanish legislation and policies on this matter are already applying the Global Compact, and a series of specific commitments from Spain for this 1st Forum.

The first commitment is to strengthen the system of international protection, with the consolidation of the Comprehensive Transformation Plan of the Asylum and Refugee Office of the Ministry of Home Affairs, which has allowed procedures to grant international protection and the recognition of the status of Stateless persons to be speeded up, increasing the rate of resolution of cases to exceed the figure of 54,000 at the end of November, compared with 12,889 resolved in the whole of 2018.

The second commitment is the improvement to the resettlement system and the search for complementary channels, following the recommendations of the 3-Year Strategy of the UNHCR 2019-2021.

The third commitment is Spain’s foreign humanitarian action, which works towards promoting measures to benefit refugees and displaced persons. Specifically, the Government of Spain will contribute 50 million euros between 2020 and 2022, as a contribution to respond to the crisis in Venezuela, aligning itself with the plans defined within the framework of the United Nations.

The fourth commitment is to foster the right conditions in countries of origin that propitiate a safe and dignified return.

And the fifth commitment is the promotion of a national action plan for the application of the Global Compact on Refugees in Spain, with the participation of the most important stakeholders in the matter of refugees, particularly civil society, the private sector and such international bodies as the UNHCR, as well as regional and local authorities.

The document can be accessed through this link:
España y el Pacto Global sobre los refugiados. Una aportación al I Foro Global.pdf

By means of this proposal, Spain, in line with its policy of responsibility and solidarity with refugees that the caretaker government has been advocating at international forums and within the EU, thus responds to the call made by the UNHCR to tackle the humanitarian drama of the existence of more than 70 million people who have been forcibly displaced, of which almost 26 million are refugees, as a result of persecution, conflicts or human rights violations, as documented by the High Commissioner in his report issued in 2019.








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