Summary Deportations in Ceuta Criticised by Human Rights Group

Migrants in Ceuta. Image: Twitter

A LEADING human rights organisation has warned Spain may be violating international law with the rapid deportation of thousands of migrants who entered Ceuta earlier this week.

More than half of the 8,000 migrants who entered the Spanish enclave have already been returned to Moroccan territory and concerns about how to care for 1,500 unaccompanied children are causing political tensions in Madrid and the Spanish regions.

“How can 4,000 people be summarily returned without violating the rights of children, asylum seekers, everyone? The challenge of so many arrivals in a short time does not justify the violation of rights or abandoning our humanity,” Judith Sunderland, associate director for Human Rights Watch’s Europe and Central Asia division, wrote on Twitter on May 19.

Morocco increased border controls all but stemming the flow of migrants yesterday. But President Pedro Sanchez severely criticised the north African state.

“This is an act of defiance. The lack of border control by Morocco is not a show of disrespect of Spain, but rather for the European Union,” he told parliament on Wednesday May 19.

A longstanding agreement with Morocco allows Spain to return migrants who are not children or from vulnerable groups once they have been identified.

However, immigration activists warn that the rate of return means that processes are being ignored and Spain tactics in the enclave amount to illegal summary deportations.

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Deirdre Tynan

Deirdre Tynan is an award-winning journalist who enjoys bringing the best in news reporting to Spain’s largest English-language newspaper, Euro Weekly News. She has previously worked at The Mirror, Ireland on Sunday and for news agencies, media outlets and international organisations in America, Europe and Asia. A huge fan of British politics and newspapers, Deirdre is equally fascinated by the political scene in Madrid and Sevilla. She moved to Spain in 2018 and is based in Jaen.