The Ombudsman institution supervises the resources for the care and reception of people arriving on patera boats to the islands

The Ombudsman institution supervises the resources for the care and reception of people arriving on patera boats to the islands


The Second Deputy Ombudsman, Patricia Bárcena, has travelled to Lanzarote, Fuerteventura and Las Palmas, accompanied by technical staff from the institution, to monitor the situation of the facilities and resources of “Plan Canarias”. In 2021, the Ombudsman published a monograph on migration in the Canary Islands which included conclusions and resolutions of the institution after monitoring numerous reception and detention facilities for foreigners.

In Lanzarote, Bárcena met with the president of the Island Council, María Dolores Corujo, and the councillor for Social Rights, Isabel Martín, who expressed their concern about the situation of unaccompanied foreign minors, especially the lack of resources for their future integration.

She also held a meeting with the island director of the General State Administration on the island, Juan Ramón Pérez, who offered her the updated data on arrivals of foreigners in small boats (5,896 from January to October 2022, more than 1,000 people than in the previous year).

During her stay on the island, she also visited the dock currently used for the disembarkation of small boats and the detention centre attached to the National Police Station in Arrecife. The Ombudsman’s team met with detainees and inquired about the handling of return proceedings, including legal aid. In addition, the Port facilities were visited, to which it is planned to move the first aid device. At these facilities, information was shared with the port authority and with Maritime Rescue personnel, whom she congratulated for their work. She also visited the Humanitarian Reception Centre run by the NGO ACCEM, which currently houses 32 women and 6 children awaiting transfer to more appropriate resources.

In Fuerteventura, the Second Deputy met with the President of the Council, Sergio Lloret, and with the Councillor for Equality, Social Policies and Human Resources, Adargoma Hernández, with whom she discussed the situation of unaccompanied foreign minors on the island.

Bárcena also met with the island director of the General State Administration, Domingo F. Fuentes, and with officials from the National Police, with whom she examined the data on arrivals and the action protocols in place. She then visited the area where people arriving by boat are held, where at the time of the visit there were several women and two children. She also obtained information on waiting times for applications for international protection, an issue that is a common complaint at the institution.

She also held meetings with social entities and visited a humanitarian care centre, where 28 women and 4 minors are staying.

The Second Deputy ended her working visit in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria where she met with the Regional Vice-Minister of Social Rights, Gemma M. Martínez. She also held a meeting with the government delegate, Anselmo Pestana, the sub-delegate in Las Palmas, María Teresa Mayans, and the Las Palmas provincial commissioner and acting chief of police, María Sagrario de León. In both meetings, she reviewed the improvements noted and conveyed to them some of the issues of greatest concern to the institution in migration matters, such as the situation of minors and the need to improve some first aid resources, legal assistance, and procedures to speed up transfers and free-up resources.

In addition, within the framework of the follow-up actions of the “Plan Canarias”, she visited the Barranco Seco Temporary Stay Centre for Foreigners, where some thirty people were being held, eight of them women. The deputy considered this centre to be an example of good practice. She also visited “Canarias 50”, a humanitarian care resource for stays of no more than 45 days, which has ample space and the possibility of holding workshops and providing both legal and psychological accompaniment.

The technical team of the institution that accompanied the deputy on this trip completed and extended the actions of the visits to centres and resources by interviewing the people who were there, the lawyers, the service technicians and the social entities.

The set of actions carried out will allow the Ombudsman to continue with the supervision of the actions of the administrations in the management, reception and referral of people arriving in patera boats in the Canary Islands, and the identification of possible improvements and challenges to be resolved which, in the opinion of the institution, should be tackled through inter-institutional collaboration.

Contact the Press & Communications Department

Manuel Delgado Martín: Director of Communications

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