23 May 2014

A report by Asociación Pro Derechos Humanos de Andalucía (APDHA) decries the continuing violations of human rights and international law obligations committed by the Spanish government in its approach to border security in the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla on the North African coast.

APDHA denounces the Spanish government’s policy of summarily deporting migrants who manage to enter its jurisdiction, in contravention of Spain’s obligations under international law. APDHA also criticizes the use of riot control weapons, including rubber bullets and tear gas, on migrants attempting to access Spanish territory and analyses the tragic events of 6 February 2014, in which fifteen people died.

The report also discusses the use of dangerous razor wire on the fences that surround the enclaves’ borders. The Spanish government authorized its use in October 2013, a decision which was met with strong disapproval at the time, especially in light of the Prime Minister’s comments that “the effect of razor wire on people is unknown” and, later, that the wounds caused by the razor wire were merely “superficial”.

APDHA, in conjunction with the other member organizations of the Migreurop network, has called for measures to be put in place to (1) regularize the legal status of migrants currently being processed, (2) guarantee access to the EU for people seeking international protection, (3) expand efforts to reunite families, and (4) revise the visa policies with regard to the African nations from which the majority of migrants originate, so as to permit greater access.

In addition, the Comisión Española de Ayuda al Refugiado (CEAR) has launched a petition calling on the Spanish government to take down the razor wire, discontinue its use of riot control materials against migrants, cease its practice of summarily deporting those who make it to Spanish territory, and to respect human rights and Spain’s international law obligations.

This article originally appeared in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin of 23 May 2014.
You can subscribe to the Weekly Bulletin here.