Europe: protecting the rights of repatriated people

In view of a forthcoming visit to the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla in Moroccan territory by a delegation of members of the European Parliament, Fr Joseph Buades SJ spoke in Brussels on 6 December of his concern about asylum seekers being returned to Morocco while the authorities fail to respect their international obligations on protection of asylum seekers and on temporary detention. This interview was reported by EFE, a Spanish News Agency. Fr Buades, coordinator for migration issues for the Spanish Provinces, was part of a small group of international observers who in early October witnessed the harsh treatment inflicted by Spanish and Moroccan authorities on a large group of sub-Saharan asylum seekers and migrants (cfr. Headlines 2005-10 special edition). 

The group was forced onto a convoy of buses directed towards Morocco’s southern border with Mauritania. Fr Buades spoke of the harsh conditions in which the immigrants and asylum seekers were held, handcuffed, and given neither food nor water; in some cases they were abandoned in desert areas. The conclusions of the visit will be debated by the Civil Liberties Commission of the European Parliament, which will decide whether or not to raise the issue in the full session of the European Parliament. 

To read Headlines October special edition: