Tuesday, October 19

Hot returns, an illegal practice

Migrants cross from Morocco to Spain through the enclave of Ceuta.

Migrants cross from Morocco to Spain through the enclave of Ceuta.

The crisis that Ceuta is experiencing due to the large number of migrants who have arrived irregularly coming from Morocco It has prompted an expeditious response from the Government. The Interior Minister, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, announced on Tuesday the return to the neighboring country of 2,700 of the 6,000 people who, he estimates, have arrived at the Tarajal beach in the autonomous city.

The Executive applies this method by virtue of Organic Law 4/2015, but organizations such as the Spanish Commission for Refugee Aid (CEAR) recall that this practice is “illegal and unconstitutional”. “The person is deprived of their right to effective judicial protection and violates the principle of non-refoulement contained in the Geneva Convention,” he explains to this newspaper. Gisela Cardús, of the legal team of the Catalan Refugee Aid Commission (CCAR) -CEAR.

In the case of minors -which cannot be returned to Morocco- when there are doubts about their true age, they are transferred to a Center for the Temporary Stay of Immigrants (CETI) or other places authorized to perform an osteometry and determine their age. Even if the Government of Ceuta does not have exact data, their number could be around 1,500. “The younger it has to be taken care of by the Administration, which is obliged to exercise guardianship and to process a residence permit ”, adds Cardús.

On the terrain, Red Cross has more than 200 people deployed in the great operation activated in Ceuta since the early hours of this Sunday and made up of social workers, psychologists, social educators and nurses, as well as rescue personnel located on the beach.

Isabel Brasero, communication manager of the Red Cross in Ceuta, describes a “constant trickle” of people who are given a first health care to check that their life is not in danger and refer them to a hospital if necessary. Then they are given dry clothes, blankets and basic food.

“Without precedents”

Most of the migrants who have arrived in the last few hours – many are entire households – do not present problems of Health because the weather conditions have been good, the sea is calm and the route they have to swim is barely 400 meters, says Brasero.

The ships that the Red Cross has in Tarajal have capacity for about 300 peopleTherefore, local authorities have begun to set up sports centers for migrants to spend the night. The Red Cross care protocol includes an antigen test and a quarantine period due to the pandemic situation.

In the 27 years that he has been at the Red Cross, Brasero, Ceutí, claims to have experienced massive arrivals, as in 1995 at the Royal Walls, but nothing to do with what has happened these days. “It is unprecedented, neither by the number of people, nor by method used. It is not the most common thing for this small piece of sea to pass so many people at the same time ”, he points out.


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