A number of NGOs voiced their criticism on Tuesday of the Moroccan and Spanish governments’ approach to dealing with 71 sub-Saharan would-be immigrants who had taken refuge on the Spanish islet of Isla de Tierra, located just 50 meters from the Moroccan shore, with the hope of being transferred to mainland Europe.
In a joint statement, five NGOs – including SOS Racismo and the Andalusian Pro-Human Rights Association – said that the authorities “had violated legislation” in the early hours of Tuesday morning, when the migrants were forcibly removed by the Spanish Civil Guard and handed over to the Moroccan authorities.
They have been returned directly via Morocco, which does not guarantee their human rights”
“Procedures laid out in [Spain’s] Immigration Law were not followed. Each immigrant’s case must be studied to determine whether or not they meet the requirements to enter our territory,” argued Estrella Galán, the general secretary of the Spanish Commission for Refugee Aid (CEAR), which also signed the statement.
“They were not allowed to request political asylum,” she continued, “and many of them are from countries that are likely to be granted that asylum, such as Mali. They have been returned directly via Morocco, which does not guarantee their human rights.”
The NGOs who signed the statement said Tuesday that they were considering whether to take the matter to national and international human rights organizations.