Green Euro MP Jean Lambert, will this week quiz the Spanish authorities over the treatment of African refugees entering Tenerife and Fuerteventura for a better life in the EU when she travels to the Canary Islands on Wednesday (7th June).
The cross-party Parliamentary delegation to the Islands, the next in a series of visits to cross border points in Europe, will go to the Centre Las Raices en La Laguna and the Centre Matorral to meet with the Canarias Government.
Jean, who is the rapporteur for the visit and was named as the top MEP for her work on Justice and Human rights in 2005 said there were three main questions that she hoped to answer during the delegation; "African refugees are so desperate to flee their country that they are prepared to risk their lives on the dangerous journey to the border points. With the summer season approaching the numbers of immigrants will increase again - sadly though 40% of the people wont make it across.
"As Morocco expands its border control making it more difficult to enter the country, the Canary Islands have become the new back door to the EU. Over 6900 immigrants have arrived in the Canary Islands so far this year compared with 4751 last year and we need to ensure that the Spanish authorities are coping with the influx. We will also investigate the treatment of these migrants and refugees when they arrive at the Islands and what the EU can do to improve the situation and conditions in both the Canary Islands and their homelands."
In December 2005 the delegation visited the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla to investigate reports that African immigrants, seeking safety in Spain, were being rejected at the borders or kept in extremely poor conditions.
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Notes to editors:
Jean Lambert: In October 2005 Jean was named MEP 2005 for Justice and Human Rights. Jean was first elected Green Party Member of the European Parliament for London in the 1999 European elections. She was re-elected in 2004. She is one of nine MEPs representing London and one of two UK Green representatives in the European Parliament.