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UNHCR also denies Marlasca: The return of the Melilla tragedy was illegal and vulnerable people

Another failure for Fernando Grande-Marlasca’s version of the Melilla tragedy. Now it is the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) that contradicts the explanations provided by the Minister of the Interior on Wednesday, in this case about the hot return carried out by the Civil Guard during the fence jump. At least 23 people were killed.

After the minister defended the legality of the practice in Congress and ensured that there was no record of any vulnerable person being “refused at the border”, the UN agency responded strongly: Remember that this practice “contradicts legal regulations”. and claims to have testimonies of people returned on June 24 who came from conflict countries and were therefore vulnerable.

That day, 470 people were returned from Melilla by the Civil Guard and Moroccan gendarmes, who even entered Spanish territory to beat and turn back migrants and refugees who crossed the barbed wire. “We ended the denial of the border under the conditions regulated by the tenth provision of the Law of Citizen Security and in accordance with the ruling of the Grand Chamber of the Supreme Court,” Grande-Marlasca justifies. The minister admitted that the number 470 returns issued by the Ombudsman were filed by his department.

If Angel Gabilondo’s team has already reprimanded the ministry that this practice violated the current legislation, Aknuri repeats it again this Wednesday: “The UN Refugee Agency recalls that the practice of returning people without a procedure that allows them to access the asylum system is against. legal regulations and human rights treaties to which Spain is a party,” said UNHCR’s representative for Spain, María Jesús Vega, in statements collected by

Similarly, the spokesperson qualified that representatives of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees are not against “the return to their countries of origin of people who do not have a need for international protection or other special considerations, and that the returns are carried out in conditions of safety and security.” Dignity”. However, on June 24, the Spanish and Moroccan authorities did not respect these conditions, as shown in numerous pictures. The reason: they were returned en masse and without individual procedure.

National and international regulations require the use of individual examination of each case, precisely to avoid migrants with a vulnerable profile among returnees, such as potential refugees, minors or victims of trafficking. In this regard, the Minister of Internal Affairs assured that “there is no record that any socially vulnerable person was refused at the border”. But there were, according to UNHCR: “We received testimonies from people who immediately returned to Morocco after entering Melilla, many of them from countries where there are conflicts that generate refugees, such as Sudan, South Sudan and Chad.” Therefore, their return would impede their right to claim asylum.

Survivor testimonies collected by in July indicated that the Civil Guard also brought back the injured and minors, one of whom is 15 years old and clearly looks like a child. An investigation published this Tuesday by the Lighthouse Reports consortium, including El País, also confirmed the rejection of the teenager at the border. All returnees were handed over to the Moroccan authorities, who ended up beating and rounding up many of the returnees.

During her appearance, Grande-Marlasca denied that it was impossible for sub-Saharan migrants to claim international protection at the asylum offices in Ceuta and Melia. It has even been said that the people who violently attacked our borders did so because they could not claim asylum, and it is simply a lie and irresponsible to accuse our civil servants of these types of actions,” the minister said. However, the UNHCR has on various occasions condemned the obstacles black asylum seekers face when approaching the border post of the autonomous cities. This Tuesday, the Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights gave the government an ugly look at the “impossibility” these people face in seeking asylum in Melilla.

To protect himself from the reactions of MPs such as Enrique Santiago (Unidas Podemos), who recalled the lack of legal channels to request protection, such as through Spanish embassies abroad, Grande Marlasca took cover in Acnur to defend Spain as an example. in protecting the right to asylum. “We are a pioneer country with the right to asylum. Acnur works with us. And I think UNHCR does not have a bad impression of the work coordinated with the ministry and the government in this matter. But it is one thing that the asylum can be signed, and another thing is a violent attack on the border, at the risk of forces and bodies, and at the risk of the migrants themselves,” the minister emphasized in the Congress.

But, on the same day that Marlasca spoke, the UNHCR wanted to say that it does not support the direct returns carried out during the Melilla tragedy, because they do not respect national or international law. The UN agency has repeatedly raised concerns with the Spanish authorities about this return, “which does not take into account the individual circumstances of the returnees, including their international protection needs,” the spokesperson of the international organization reiterated.

“This return is contrary to the principle established in Article 33 of the 1951 Geneva Convention on a refugee, where his life or liberty is threatened, under Article 33 of the 1951 Geneva Convention. a certain social group or political opinion)”, emphasizes Vega.

Source: El Diario





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