More than 200 people took part yesterday in a march in Palma for "Safe Passage" that calls on governments, especially European ones, to open up safe means of access to countries by those fleeing persecution. The rally was organised by the committee of human rights at the Balearic College of Lawyers and featured a batucada drum band and a "performance" to highlight the problems of those escaping conflicts. It started in La Rambla in front of the College and ended in the Plaça Major, where a manifesto was read out. The performance was by a group of actors dressed as refugees surrounded by other actors dressed as security forces.
The manifesto called on European governments to establish safe and legal means of travel through humanitarian visas, rights to asylum and family settlement. It also called on the suspension of agreements with countries that do not respect human rights and for the annulling of the readmission agreement with Morocco of 1992.
There was a call for solidarity among European states for the urgent receipt of refugees in Greece and Italy and of their relocation, with a specific demand for safe passage for refugees from Greece to the southern frontier of Spain and the rest of Europe so that all people with the need for international protection, independent of their country of origin, can enter Spanish and European territory in order to exercise their rights of asylum.
It was noted that in the last ten years the number of people seeking protection has risen from 38 million to 60 million and that in Europe alone more than one million people arrived in 2015 from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Eritrea and the Republic of Congo. These people were fleeing famine, human trafficking and dictatorships as well as armed conflicts. The rally also called for those who have died in the waters of the Mediterranean or who have been lost trace of to not be forgotten: "the silenced voices of more than 10,000 children whose whereabouts in Europe have been lost".
The rally participants criticised what seem to have been Europe's only responses - those of building walls and of working with the Turkish government to reinforce the border and intensify military control of the Mediterranean and Aegean. In this respect, it was said, the quota of 120,000 people distributed among 27 EU countries was insufficient. In Spain, they said, nothing should impede the accommodation of at least 20,000 refugees, to which the Balearic government, island councils and town hall can contribute.
The rally coincided with others in 25 countries and in 50 fifty Spanish cities.
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