Sub-Saharan “migrants” jump the fence in Melilla, March, 2014
A top European rights official warned Spain on Friday that it risked destroying its asylum system if it passed a law authorizing police to immediately deport migrants from its north African territories.
Spain says the measure is needed to help its border guards secure the border of Ceuta and Melilla, two Spanish cities fenced off from Morocco.
Its police have been accused of breaking international rights conventions by beating African migrants who climb the fences into the territories and deporting them on the spot without asylum procedures — so-called “pushbacks”.
The human rights commissioner of the 47-nation Council of Europe, Nils Muiznieks, said after meeting officials in Melilla and Madrid that the plan to legalize such deportations was “in clear breach of human rights law”.
“In many countries I have seen pushbacks, but nowhere are they legal or legalized,” he told a news conference in Madrid.