01 May 2016
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Last month the Andalucian Association for Human Rights released a report, 'Human Rights at the Southern Border 2016', which documents and analyses the situation for migrants and refugees at the southern borders of Spain. The organization condemns the increasing number of deaths "resulting from the immoral migration policies than confine people in countries immersed in war and hunger."
Translation of the press release:
Andalucia, 22 April 2016 - The Andalucian Association for Human Rights (La Asociación Pro Derechos Humanos de Andalucía, APDHA) has presented at a press conference today [22 April 2016] its report Human Rights at the Southern Border 2016, in which it reveals the increase in the number of arrivals from the African continent to Spain and the increase in the number of deaths "resulting from the immoral migration policies than confine people in countries immersed in war and hunger."
During 2015, according to sources to which APDHA has had access, at least 16,111 people arrived on our shores, 34% more than in the preceding year. This furthermore confirms the reactivation of the Canaries route, through which the number of arrivals tripled, making clear that "walls cannot contain the lack of future and hope." All this happened in spite of the fact that the Spanish government invested 22,000 euros per day between 2005 and 2013 for the installation and maintenance of the fences at the borders in Ceuta and Melilla, a subject taken up in a recent Amnesty International report Fear and fences: Europe's approach to keeping refugees at bay.
Furthermore, of the total number of people arriving in Spain, 23% were minors (unaccompanied Maghrebis and young sub-Saharans that arrived with their families), and 9% were women, the majority coming from sub-Saharan Africa.
The report also emphasises an increase of nearly 50% in the number of people who lost their lives trying to enter Spain in the past year. At least 195 people died during their attempt to reach Spain, adding to the 3,770 who have died in the central Mediterranean and the Aegean during the same time period. This "bloody reality" is "a consequence of the European Union adopting the same asylum model as Spain, which is a pioneer in failing to respect human rights at its borders," says the report.
The report argues that "the export of the mechanisms of 'hot returns' - designed in Spain and which the government has tried to legal backing during 2015 - removes the mask of formal respect for human rights." The so-called 'hot returns' have been integrated in full in the EU-Turkey agreement for the return "en masse" of thousands of refugees arriving on Greek shores, according to the APDHA. The organisation states in its report that "as well as representing a disgraceful market in human beings, it has demolished the right to asylum (Geneva Convention), the right to non-refoulement (United Nations Convention on the Prevention of Torture) and the prohibition on collective expulsions (European Convention on Human Rights).
This "subcontracting of asylum" has left thousands of people fleeing war in the hands of a country [Turkey] that does not respect human rights, that continues an open conflict with the Kurdish people, that is suffering constant attacks by ISIS and which has undertaken collective expulsions to Syria, a fact denounced by numerous international organisations.
The EU-Turkey agreement, the APDHA explains, has its most immediate beginnings in Spain, in 1992, with the agreement on the readmission of foreigners to Morocco, and in 2006, when during the 'crisis of the cayucos' [small boats used to travel from Morocco to Spain], Spain put into action its African Plan, signing cooperation agreements with Nigeria, Guinea Bissau, Senegal and Mauritania, conditioned on the control of their borders.
Spain is serving as an example for the European model for the repression of migrations to such an extent, the report states, that an significant number of the razor-wire fences that have been installed in the territory of the EU actually come from a Spanish company.
The APDHA warns that this "legal backing for the violation of human rights in Europe calls into question the principle of free movement in the Schengen area, not only for refugees, but for citizens of the European Union themselves and creates fertile ground for the growth of xenophobia and the extreme right."
Translation by Statewatch.
The original press release is here: APDHA constata el incremento de llegadas y muertes en la frontera Sur durante 2015 (link)
The full report can be found on the website of APDHA: Derechos Humanos en la Frontera Sur 2016 (pdf)
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