Several asylum seekers protest outside the Spanish Labor and Welfare Ministry, demanding to be included in the Reception and Integration System in Madrid. | Photo: Archive EPA / Victor De Los Reyes
Several asylum seekers protest outside the Spanish Labor and Welfare Ministry, demanding to be included in the Reception and Integration System in Madrid. | Photo: Archive EPA / Victor De Los Reyes

The Spanish Ombudsman has opened ex officio action before the General Commissariat for Foreigners and Borders as a reaction to the long delays people seeking to register an asylum application in Madrid face.

The non-profit European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE) said in a statement that as of the end of May 2018, people in need of international protection in Madrid are required to appear at Madrid’s Aluche central police station to register their asylum application.

The police station however, only accepts 99 people per day. Despite this quota up to 200 people — including pregnant women, children and people with medical conditions —wait in vain outside the station and sleep outdoors for several days in the hopes of getting an appointment.

System collapsed

When asylum seekers have obtained access to the police station they receive a certificate that indicates their intention to apply for asylum (the Manifestación de voluntad de presentar solicitud de protección internacional), asylum seekers are given an appointment to file the certificate with the police.

Currently, the police are giving appointments as far in advance as December 2020, claiming that the system has collapsed. The Ombudsman shares this observation and has repeatedly highlighted the unsustainable situation in which the Office of Asylum and Refuge (OAR) has been operating.

NGOs appeal for Dublin system reform

A joint press release by Spanish and French NGOs published in recent days calls for prompt reform of the Dublin system, with a view to alleviating pressure on the Spanish asylum infrastructure.

The organizations highlighted that French border police unlawfully returned a substantial number of asylum seekers to Spain, without having undergone a Dublin procedure.


 

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