• Asylum seekers returned to Morocco before being properly ID’d, processed
• UHNCR says mass rejection of asylum seekers violates international accords
The United Nations High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR) has cautioned the Spanish government that an incident Saturday at the border fence of the Spain’s North African enclave of Ceuta in which Spanish border guards left more than 50 would-be asylum seekers stranded on a barbed-wire fence before returning them to Morocco is in violation of international norms and treaties to which Spain is a signatory.
The UNHCR office in Spain reminded the government that under international accords on human rights and the treatment and protection of asylum-seekers, Spain is obliged to “provide access to (its) territory and to asylum to those who need international protection” and that automatic expulsions to Morocco of people trying to cross into Ceuta violates Spain’s obligations. According to UNHCR, Spain is required to process and identify asylum-seekers before making a determination on their status or taking a decision to deport them to the country of origin or a third country.
The incident on Saturday involved more than 200 Sub-Saharan migrants who scaled the wire fence from Morocco to reach Spanish territory on the Ceuta side and claim asylum status from Spain. More than 50 of the migrants were left for hours atop the barbed-wire before being forced down and turned over directly to Moroccan authorities without the requisite identification and processing having occurred.
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