Trapped between the two interior borders of the Schengen Area, where the concept of free movement is theoretically applied. That’s what happened last summer to hundreds of migrants in Irun, in their desire to continue their voyage to Northern Europe.
Despite the fact that, in July 2018, the Governments of Spain and France signed the Madrid Declaration advocating a model of migration based on “solidarity and respect for human rights”, in point of fact the “virtual fence” in Hendaye has become almost impassable for those wishing to exercise their right to migrate and pursue a better life.
According to official figures issued by the Basque Government, last July and August alone some 3,200 migrants in transit were attended to in the Basque Country and 235 places were created to provide temporary emergency shelter. An attention which – thanks to the collaboration agreement with the Basque institutions – is furnished by the Basque Red Cross in accommodation prepared for the purpose.
Given the situation in which dozens of people found themselves last summer on the Irun border, with nowhere to go, the Basque Government and the Irun Town Council, in coordination with the Basque Red Cross, set up a facility for the temporary emergency shelter of migrants.
Last July and August alone some 3,200 migrants in transit were attended to in the Basque Country and 235 places were created to provide temporary emergency shelter
The Irun emergency shelter joined those set up in San Sebastian, Bilbao and Vitoria-Gasteiz. People in transit are given advice, accommodation, food and Wi-Fi connection for a maximum of five days.
The public administration resources have proven insufficient to address this situation, meaning that in the Basque Country, and mainly in Gipuzkoa, citizens’ solidarity networks have been created to welcome and support these people who are passing through.
Mainly in Gipuzkoa, citizens’ solidarity networks have been created to welcome and support these people who are passing through
In Irun, the Irungo Harrera Sarea Reception Network still provides information and accompaniment to those who continue to arrive. Because, although to a lesser extent than in summer, migrants keep on arriving, escaping from wars or situations of extreme poverty and with the intention of reaching Northern Europe.