Amnesty International censures Spain for treatment of refugees in Melilla, Ceuta

November 29, 2016 6:40 pm

A refugee crosses a parking lot after climbing over the border fence between Morocco and the Spanish territory of Melilla, October 13, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

has criticized the Spanish government for the treatment of refugees in two of ’s overseas territories of Melilla and Ceuta.
The Britain-based rights group published a report on Tuesday showing that the refugees were not given adequate protection by Spanish authorities in the two North African territories on the Moroccan border.
The report said there were “videos where you can see how Moroccan police hit” refugees and “make them fall and send them away.”
Spanish officers, Amnesty said, often remain indifferent to the treatment of the refugees.
About 50 people interviewed by Amnesty have recounted cases of police abuse of vulnerable people.
Esteban Beltran, the director of Amnesty International Spain, said the majority of refugees arriving in camps on the two territories “find themselves blocked in the limbo.” However, Syrians have been subject to a better treatment, Beltran added.
Ceuta and Melilla have a combined population of just over 170,000. According to official data, 11,600 refugees arrived in the two territories last year, mostly from Syria, marking a 55-percent increase compared to arrivals in 2014.
Amnesty said Syrians usually receive a swift processing of asylum requests due to the conflict in their country. Others, however, the rights group said, have a tougher time and their rights to a proper asylum procedure are not respected.
Ceuta and Melilla, according to Amnesty, even do not respect the right of those refugees carrying the red asylum-seeker card to freedom of movement, which is the case in all Spanish territory.
Amnesty called on Spain’s government to stop cooperating with Morocco to block refugees crossing the African side of the border into Melilla and Ceuta.
The Spanish Interior Ministry has not commented on the Amnesty report.
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