Spain: A human rights based approach must be taken in Ceuta, say Spanish members of Migreurop


Andalucía Acoge, APDHA, CEAR, Elín, Iridia, Red Acoge and the SOS Racismo Federation demand a human-rights based outlook in Ceuta

Support our work: become a Friend of Statewatch from as little as £1/€1 per month.

Originally published here. Translation by Statewatch.

The groups that are Migreurop members in the Spanish State deem the arrival of over 6,000 people on Ceuta’s coast further confirmation that a policy of border externalisation to third countries not only fails to offer lasting and permanent solutions for human mobility, it also enables the instrumental use of people involved in migration to exert political pressure. In this sense, the signatory organisations demand “a radical change in Spanish and EU migration policies to allow safe and regular pathways and by focusing on rights”.

According to the Interior Ministry, 2,700 people have already been returned in the framework of the Agreement between Spain and Morocco that enables swift returns that contravene International Human Rights Law. We recall that “collective or hot returns are not allowed by law and any kind of measure [taken] must be individual”, as established by the sentences of the European Court of Human Rights on 13 February 2020 and the [Spanish] Constitutional Court on 19 November 2020. Among the people who are arriving in Ceuta, it is estimated that more than 1,500 are girls, boys and youths. 

We insist on saying that fundamental rights must not be violated under any circumstance, particularly those regarding the protection of childhood and the best interests of the child. Established protocols must be complied with, both those stemming from internal norms and those in international agreements signed by Spain, which place the condition of childhood at the centre, ahead of the issue of them being migrants.

Facing the expression of “maximum firmness” declared by President Pedro Sánchez and, after the army was deployed near the border fences in Ceuta and Melilla, the use of equipment to maintain public order, we are worried about this gamble on dissuasive measures and border blocks that cause the criminalisation of migrations and entail social conflict.

This belligerence is also a feature of political discourse, which is why we call upon all political forces to ensure that respect for the humanity that is inherent in migrations prevails in their discourse and to relinquish the alarmist, criminalising and belligerent discourses that prepare the ground for hate speech. 

Finally, we wish to pass on our solidarity to the Ceutan people who, faced by a lack of adequate response by different Spanish governments, experience a sense of insecurity and bewilderment that is taken advantage of by those who nourish hate speech to promote social divisions and criminalise migrant people.

As signatory organisations, we demand:

  • Respect, protection and guarantee of human rights and people’s dignity by enabling legal and safe routes that do not endanger the lives of those who exercise their right to freedom of movement.
  • Guarantees for the security of vulnerable people, like children who are on the move and potential victims of networks involved in trafficking and/or the trade in human beings.
  • That truthful information be provided that focuses on rights, without [authorities] acting as a loudspeaker for hate speech, criminalisation and the creation of stereotypes and prejudice.
  • We call upon the responsibility that all political forces share to implement a coherent migration policy that prioritises respect for human rights, solidarity and people’s dignity.


Our work is only possible with your support.
Become a Friend of Statewatch from as little as £1/€1 per month.


Spotted an error? If you've spotted a problem with this page, just click once to let us know.

Report error