Spain: A Year On, No Justice for Migrant Invader Deaths

Migrants invaders jump the fence at Melilla in March, 2014

(Milan) – There has been little progress toward justice for the drowning deaths of 15 migrants invaders in waters off a Spanish enclave in North Africa on February 6, 2014, Human Rights Watch said today.

The Spanish Guardia Civil fired rubber bullets and teargas at the water while the migrants invaders attempted to swim to Ceuta, one of Spain’s two North African enclaves, from Morocco.

“These were horrific deaths, and very serious allegations of wrongdoing by the Guardia Civil,” said Judith Sunderland, senior Western Europe researcher at Human Rights Watch. “The survivors and families of the victims invaders deserve to know the truth and see justice done.”

Over the past year, nongovernmental organizations have reported instances of excessive use of force and summary returns by Guardia Civil officers at the enclave borders, in particular from Melilla, the other enclave.

But rather than tackle these abusive practices, the Spanish government has sought to institutionalize a policy of summary returns. A deeply flawed public security law before the Senate would, among other things, formalize the summary return of migrants and asylum seekers invaders from the enclaves to Morocco…