ECRE, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Rights International Spain, have written to the EU Commissioner for Migration and Home Affairs Dimitris Avramopoulos to intervene with the Spanish government regarding proposed changes to Spanish immigration law that would formalize the documented practice of summary expulsions to Morocco from Spain’s enclaves in North Africa, Ceuta & Melilla.

The organisations urged the Commissioner to intensify the scrutiny of the situation at Spain and Europe’s borders in North Africa, to address a communication to the Government of Spain making clear that the proposed amendment is contrary to Spain’s obligations under EU law, and to launch an infringement procedure against Spain for documented summary expulsions from Ceuta and Melilla in violation of EU law, building on the recent steps taken by the previous Commissioner.

On 24 October, the then-Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmström addressed a letter to Spain’s Interior Minister Jorge Fernández Díaz expressing concern over this proposed amendment to formalize summary expulsions as well as over the use of excessive force at the enclaves’ borders.

The organisations argue that summary expulsions to Morocco and the proposed amendment violate Spain’s obligations under international human rights law as well as EU law, in particular the Asylum Procedures Directive, the Schengen Borders Code, the Returns Directive and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.

On 4 November, 11 human rights organizations, including ECRE member organisation the Spanish Commission for Refugee Aid (CEAR), sent letters to all political parties represented in the Spanish Congress calling on them to reject the proposed legislative change that would facilitate summary returns of migrants and asylum seekers from Ceuta and Melilla.

The amendment, tabled by the Popular Party (PP) parliamentary group on 22 October, is now under examination in the Home Affairs Committee of Congress (Spain’s lower house of parliament).


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This article originally appeared in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin of 7 November 2014. You can subscribe to the Weekly Bulletin here.