Three Sahrawi activists denounce that Spain has not attended to their visa requests to travel to Madrid for an event

This Saturday, Luara Jaya, Mahfouda Lefkir and Salha Boutanguiza They were invited to take part in an event in Madrid on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the International Sahara Film Festival (FiSahara). However, they have not been able to be present since, according to the complaint, the Spanish consulate offices in Agadir and Rabat did not respond to the request for appointment to obtain the visa of the three activists.

“The defenders of the rights of the Sahrawis are not allowed to leave the country. These women They have not even had the option to present their papers to request a visa,” denounces Sara Pujalte, co-founder of Nomads HRC. She has managed hand in hand with the activists the application for visas so that they could fly to Madrid. A trip that only two of the five guests whose visas have been able to make They were managed by the foundation: ElGhalia Dijimi and Mina Baali. Public He has contacted the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but has not received a response.

“We managed to get the Spanish consulate in Rabat to respond to the calls in those two cases, but with the rest there was no response. They are names of well-known activistswhich makes it much more complicated for them to accept his departure,” explains Pujalte.

“The website is never operational, so there is no way to carry out the procedures,” they denounce

The process to apply for visas is not simple. “The service has been outsourced and is carried out by the BLS company completely online. If you call by phone or send an email you are redirected to the website, but the problem is that the page is never operationalso there is no way to carry out the procedures,” they denounce from Nomads HRC.

The organization, which began negotiations on October 23 with the Agadir office and on November 15 with the Rabat office, was involved in an endless battle. “We managed to get the Rabat consulate to respond to us. They told us that given the saturation of requests they opened the page on Saturdays at 10 in the morning for this type of process, but when we all tried it it kept giving us an error. At the time we wrote to them telling them the situation and providing the screenshots and there was no response,” Pujalte remarks.

Getting a Spanish visa has always been an odyssey for any Sahrawi activist. Now it is until you get the appointment to start the process. From the non-profit foundation they denounce that there is a black market in Morocco behind the appointments to reach these requests. “If you pay 100 to 500 euros, you can gain access and have an appointment to apply for the visa, although that does not guarantee that they will grant it either,” they point out.

To these obstacles to obtaining the document we must add that the entire process is online, when in many cases within the Sahrawi population they have not been able to access computer capabilities suitable for this. Likewise, applicants must assume the cost of traveling on two occasions – once to present the documentation and another to collect it – to cities such as Rabat or Agadir, without having the guarantee that their visa will be approved.

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