Five NGOs denounce the expulsion of two Moroccan minors whose repatriation suspended a court in Ceuta | Spain

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Some of the boys who entered Ceuta in May were photographed in the center of the city in August.
Some of the boys who entered Ceuta in May were photographed in the center of the city in August.Joaquin Sanchez

Five organizations that assist unaccompanied foreign minors have denounced that the Civil Guard of Ceuta expelled two boys aged 15 and 16 to Morocco on November 28. The NGOs consider this case particularly serious not only because the procedure established by law to return immigrant minors to their country had not been complied with, but also because the two expelled were part of the group of 12 boys whose repatriation was suspended by a Ceuta court in the middle of August, when the autonomous city, the Government delegation and the Ministry of the Interior launched repatriations without following legal protocol. Then, 55 boys were returned to Morocco, but the court’s precautionary measures in favor of the minors ended up forcing the authorities to interrupt the returns.

The NGOs describe this expulsion as “summary” and “illegal”. Lourdes Reyzábal, president of Fundación Raíces, one of the organizations that made the complaint public, maintains: “What has happened is extremely serious. Once again, in Spain, immigration policies prevail over childhood protection laws. Once again, our governments fail to comply with the procedure established by Spanish legislation for the repatriation of foreign minors ”.

The Minister of the Interior, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, when questioned about the returns, has defended scrupulous respect in matters of Immigration. “The law has been complied with, is being followed and will always be complied with in any field of action of the State security forces and bodies,” he stated in Brussels, where he attended a meeting with the interior ministers of the community bloc. Grande-Marlaska has expressed “tranquility” in this matter and has offered cooperation in the investigation: “We will give the information that is required by the judicial authorities or the competent authorities”, informs Guillermo Abril.

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In a subsequent statement, the Ministry of the Interior indicates that on the day of the expulsion denounced by the NGOs, at 5:15 p.m., civil guards posted at the Tarajal customs detected the presence of three people swimming from Moroccan waters who reached the Spanish coast and were intercepted on the beach of Tarajal. According to the version offered by the ministry, they were three Moroccan men, of legal age, who were returned and placed in the hands of the police of their country.

The NGO version differs greatly from that of the Interior. According to the complaint, the two boys and another friend were in the water, in the port, trying to stowaway on a Transmediterránea ship when a Civil Guard boat intercepted them. The minors provided their personal data and refused to return to Morocco. Then, according to the complaint, the agents took them to the border and, still wearing wet clothes, handed them over to the Moroccan gendarmes. One of the boys’ lawyers, Patricia Fernández Vicens, explains: “The Civil Guard version is incompatible with the children’s story. “” Interior refers to the rejection of three different people or it is adulterating the facts, which happen in the port of Ceuta while they are looking for how to get on a ferry and not in the Tarajal beach trying to enter the city. “

The now expelled adolescents arrived in Ceuta in May, among the more than 10,000 people who crossed the border without control in those days. They had been living on the streets for months and were part of the large group of young people who are looking in the port of Ceuta for their opportunity to get on a ferry that takes them to the Peninsula. They had passed through the warehouses of the Tarajal industrial estate, where at first the children were crowded in terrible conditions. Later, they were accommodated in a sports center converted into a reception center.

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The case of these two boys reached the court because in those days when the authorities began to repatriate children without following the scrupulous procedure dictated by law, the lawyers from Fundación Raíces and Coordinadora de Barrios traveled to Ceuta to ascertain what it happened on the border. The lawyers ended up assuming the defense of 80 minors and on August 16 they asked the Courts of Ceuta to adopt precautionary measures in favor of 12 of them, including the two expelled. The Contentious-Administrative Court 1 of Ceuta agreed with them and ordered that their repatriation be suspended, a resolution that was confirmed by another order of August 24. “The judicial procedure continues its course, and as long as there is no resolution on the merits of the controversy, the precautionary measure remains in force and must be scrupulously respected,” Reyzábal warns.

After learning of the expulsion of the two minors, Fundación Raíces and Coordinadora de Barrios last Friday addressed the Court of Ceuta, the Ministry of the Interior, the city’s Minors Protection Area, the Minors Prosecutor of Ceuta, the prosecutor of Coordinating Chamber for Minors of the State Attorney General’s Office and the Ombudsman. They ask for an investigation and that “the necessary procedures” be carried out for the “immediate” return of the minors to Spanish territory.

The complaint goes beyond this specific case and warns that, according to the testimonies of other minors and the entities that work in the field, this would not be an isolated expulsion. “In recent months, there have been other returns of minors without guarantees by different members of the State Security Forces and Corps in similar circumstances.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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