Biscay/Spain-Morocco: "Protecting foreign minors or getting rid of them?"

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Peio M. Aierbe
SOS Arrazakeria/SOS Racismo
6 September 2007

About the Awareness Raising, Protection and Reception of foreign under-14-year-olds who have arrived in Biscay proposal, presented by the Grupo Popular Vizcaíno (Popular Party Group of Biscay) of the Juntas Generales de Bizkaia (Biscay General Assembly).

A proposal from the Partido Popular is set to be debated soon in the Juntas Generales de Bizkaia, whose core consists in the setting up of a reception centre in Morocco for under-14s to which to send those who arrive in the institutions of Biscay [the province of Bilbao].

To us in SOS Arrazakeria-SOS Racismo, this proposal appears particularly relevant because it would mean crossing a line that has, by and large, been respected to date. That is, in terms of not initiating, from the Council, procedures for the expulsion (disguised behind the euphemism of "re-grouping") of unaccompanied foreign minors, which is what the current proposal envisages.

What is perverse about it, is that it attempts to embellish its real purpose, that is none other than to get rid of these kids because they are, supposedly, an unbearable burden, by manipulating concepts and pretending that the goal is to "raise awareness, protect and receive". It would be a platitude to state that the best place in which to achieve this goal is here, where we can provide them with the resources that are made possible by the great purchasing power of our institutions. Moreover, this is what these minors who have overcome thousands of obstacles to get here want. But those who submitted the proposal close their eyes before what is obvious.

The argument for returning them to their family environment is "because that is where they are better off"; then, could they let us know, why is it that they emigrate?

In this sense, reference is made to the precedent of the Madrid Autonomous Community. Well, this clarifies matters as to the authentic purpose of the proposal, as that Community has been repeatedly condemned by all sorts of entities working with unaccompanied foreign minors for violating their rights, with a commonplace practice of carrying out expulsions without guarantees, with similar conclusions also reached by different judges in their sentences opposing this practice. The mentioned Community, funded by the AENEA programme, is building two centres, in Tangiers and Marrakech, costing three million Euros, for the exclusive purpose of having an alibi to avoid having judicial decisions passed against it for violating minors' rights.

It is claimed that "these projects serve to prevent these minors from embarking upon this migration plan in [their place of] origin" and that they stop them "putting their own lives at risk". Well, it is precisely the opposite that is true, as it has been demonstrated that a large majority of those "re-grouped" are abandoned in the street and return to the Peninsula, placing their lives at risk again to achieve this, and re-starting their journey around the Institutions, which was brusquely interrupted by the expulsion.

It is proposed to include this proposal within the framework of development co-operation while running contrary to the most accessible option, [that is] more rational and viable, of taking care of their education and development ourselves.

A plan is proposed to "raise awareness among Moroccan families so that they may know about our socioeconomic reality and the impossibility of working for under-16s": it is obvious that they already know the basic trait of our socioeconomic situation, that is, the possibility of seeking a future here that they are denied in their country. And even though they cannot work here at 16 years of age, at that age they can acquire the professional skills that may prepare them to enter the labour market, or is it that we want them to return to their countries so that... yes, it does happen there, they may end up working at 16 years of age in conditio

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