Spain: Collective expulsions at the Moroccan border

Copenhagen, 13/01/17 – EuroMed Rights deplores and condemns the attitude of the Spanish authorities who refused entry to the individuals attempting to enter in Ceuta from Morocco on the night of 31 December without conducting a prior examination of their situation. The migrants were systematically turned away and were not given access to individualized asylum-seeker procedures.

These events took place in a serious context of restricted access to international protection in the European Union, and despite the fact that the European Parliament highlighted, a bare month ago, “with concern the cases of violations of the fundamental rights of migrants and refugees at the external borders of the EU” (Resolution 2016/2009).

Our NGO denounces these systematic refusals at the border, in Ceuta and in Melilla. This practice is not an isolated act, as evidenced by the growing number of reports from local and international organisations, and media reports. It is based on legislation which legitimizes an illegal policy of refoulement without prior examination denounced by EuroMed Rights[1], in a general context of impunity exercised by border guards guilty of violence against migrants. Every time, the Spanish authorities, in cooperation with the Moroccan police, turn away these individuals and send them back to Morocco without conducting an individual assessment of their cases. The practice of refoulement is illegal, it goes against international and European law, and it is profoundly unworthy of a country of the European Union.

EuroMed Rights has constantly raised the alarm regarding these areas of forced transit, lawless areas lacking in reception facilities and which encourage the emergence of violence against migrants and refugees (see our report Far from prying eyes, a trap for migrants and refugees). Yet the Geneva Convention of 1951 on the Status of Refugees obliges the States to protect individuals seeking or in a position to seek asylum.

EuroMed Rights and its members strongly reiterate the obligation to treat any person with dignity, regardless of their status. These practices that threaten dignity and life must cease immediately.


Read our press release on the occasion of the International day for the protection of the rights of all migrant workers and members of their families


[1] (only available in French) and