Statewatch News Online
Spain-Morocco
Bookmark and Share  
55 people returned to Morocco from Spain in less than 24 hours
23.10.18
Follow us: | | Tweet



On Sunday 21 October, 208 people managed to reach Spanish territory by climbing over the fences separating Morocco from the Spanish enclave of Melilla. One man died whilst doing so and another 19 were taken to hospital with "injuries, cuts and some other fractures," according to the Spanish government delegation in Melilla.

55 of the 208 were subject to "express" removal proceedings and returned to Morocco in less than 24 hours, with the Spanish government invoking a bilateral agreement signed with Morocco in 1992 to do so.

Some 30 lawyers brought in by the state interviewed all those who had arrived on Spanish territory. 140 people stated their desire to claim asylum and could not be returned, nor could three people identified as unaccompanied children. 10 of those injured remain in hospital or are recovering from their injuries.

On Saturday the Spanish government also returned to Morocco 30 people who arrived in Spain by boat, making use of the same agreement, which was signed in 1992 but only activated in 2012.

Earlier this year, in August, the agreement was used to facilitate the swift return of 116 of 118 people who arrived on Spanish territory.

Human Rights Watch observes that:

"The agreement, signed in 1992 but operational only since 2012, provides for minimal formalities to facilitate the return of third-country nationals."

In October 2017 the European Court of Human Rights ruled that the Spanish practice of "hot returns" (express removals) violates the prohibition on collective expulsions and the right to an effective remedy, protected under the European Convention on Human Rights.

The Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE), which is currently in government, last year abstained from voting on a motion that would have abolished "hot returns", when it was still part of the opposition.

Sources

Gabriela Sánchez, El Gobierno devuelve de forma exprés a 55 migrantes que saltaron la valla de Melilla este domingo, eldiario.es, 22 October 2018

España devuelve a Marruecos a parte de los 30 inmigrantes llegados en patera a Chafarinas, El Faro de Melilla, 20 October 2018

Pablo Rodero, Spain returns to Morocco migrants who stormed enclave fence, Reuters, 23 August 2018

Human Rights Watch, Spain/Morocco: Protect Migrants, Asylum Seekers, 24 March 2014

Spanish governing party refuses to abolish "hot returns" ruled illegal by ECHR, Statewatch News Online, 10 November 2017

Support our work by making a one-off or regular donation to help us continue to monitor the state and civil liberties in Europe.
Search our database for more articles and information or subscribe to our mailing list for regular updates from Statewatch News Online.

We welcome contributions to News Online and comments on this website. E-mail us or send post to Statewatch c/o MayDay Rooms, 88 Fleet Street, London EC4Y 1DH.

Home | News Online | Journal | Observatories | Analyses | Database | SEMDOC | About Statewatch

© Statewatch ISSN 1756-851X. Personal usage as private individuals/"fair dealing" is allowed. We also welcome links to material on our site. Usage by those working for organisations is allowed only if the organisation holds an appropriate licence from the relevant reprographic rights organisation (eg: Copyright Licensing Agency in the UK) with such usage being subject to the terms and conditions of that licence and to local copyright law.