Spanish cities form network to welcome refugees

Image of hands holding prison bars. Credit: BlueSkyImage/Shutterstock

FOUR Spanish cities have announced they will join a network offering housing to refugees arriving in Europe from Syria and other war-torn regions. Palma de Mallorca, Barcelona, Madrid and Cordoba have all said they will organise resources to welcome people escaping war and persecution.

On Tuesday (September 1), Barcelona City Council announced it would set up a registry of local families willing to provide accommodation or other assistance for refugees. Deputy Mayor Gerardo Pissarello said he had met with charities working to support refugees, and announced that the council would name Barcelona ‘City Asylum’ as a mark of their commitment to humanitarian aid.

Madrid joined Barcelona in calling on central government to provide more assistance to refugees, on the same day that Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said that Spain could not commit to joining a European-wide programme to accept a quota of people from conflict zones. Spain has been asked to take in just under 6,000 people, but has so far said there are only resources for 2,749.

But Spanish cities continued to say they could organise provisions independently of central government. In Andalucia, Cordoba City Council released a statement saying it wanted to continue its “tradition as a meeting place and the coexistence of different cultures, with unquestionable humanitarian aid and international co-operation.”

And in Mallorca, Palma said it wanted to declare itself a city of refuge and accept people in need of asylum, while the town of Inca joined the humanitarian chorus and said it supported the move to provide sanctuary in this emergency.

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