Spain: Detaining immigrants to impose agreements that do not respect their rights


Tunisia on February 5, 2020

Spain: Detaining immigrants to impose agreements that do not respect their rights

For months, the process of detaining hundreds of Tunisian irregular migrants in the “Melilla” area, in humiliating, inhuman conditions has been continuing. Hundreds of immigrants are detained in plastic tents in the absence of basic minimum services that preserve human dignity. The Spanish authorities are harassing the immigrants psychologically and morally in a form of collective punishment. This prompted them to protest in forms that might endanger their lives. This measure targets especially Tunisian irregular immigrants, in particular, despite the fact that Tunisians only represent 3.8% of the total arrivals in an irregular way to Spain in 2019[1]. The Spanish authorities disrespect for all international conventions that guarantee freedom of movement and protect the rights of immigrants today reaches the point that they are using immigrants as pressure and bargaining tool on the Tunisian government to impose an immigration agreement that violates the rights of migrants and which is used as a cover for forced deportation.

The Tunisian Forum for Economic and Social Rights calls the Spanish authorities to:

  • Respect the principle of non-deportation of migrants
  • Condemns the systematic resort to detaining Tunisian irregular migrants as a form of deterrence and punishment, regardless of their personal circumstances, in contravention of the right to freedom and personal security, and without considering that it should always take non-custodial measures first
  • Condemns the failure of the Spanish authorities to respect the main procedural guarantees of not informing migrants promptly and in a language they understand of the reasons for their detention and of their other rights and of not taking into account the special circumstances of certain groups of migrants such as women and children
  • He holds the Spanish authorities responsible legally and ethically for all the desperate solutions migrants seek

Calls the Tunisian Government to:

  • Stop any negotiations with Spain that does not respect the human rights of migrants and does not respect the principle of non-deportation
  • Demands the Tunisian government to respect its position announced by the Minister of Social Affairs in December 2018 that rejects the principle of forced displacement[2]

Border management measures must comply with states’ human rights obligations and should not be based on inhumane policies which aim only to detect, detain, and deport irregular immigrants.

The Tunisian Forum for Economic and Social Rights

The president: Abderrahmane Hedhili