We publish the Annex to the alien detention centres (CIE by its Spanish acronym) 2019 Report ‘Ten years of looking the other way’

We publish the Annex to the 2019 CIE report with the official figures of the Ministry of the Interior which, this year, arrive months late and with scarce data, not complying with the Law on Transparency.

Although SJM has always developed its annual reports contrasting the figures provided by the Government, this time it was published without most of them, something unjustifiable even despite the COVID-19 pandemic. As noted in the annex “The lack of information raises many questions, not only about the subjective reasons for the lack of transparency, but also because of the objective realities involved in each piece of data”.

The 2019 CIE Report to which this publication is attached, “Ten years looking the other way“, is the tenth publication of analysis and research about the CIE. This annual work studies the extensive list of rights violations that occur within these centres, analyses the CIE Regulations (which are constantly being violated and perpetuate a prison model that does not guarantee the rights set out in its contents) and summarises the figures of what the SJM teams observe during their visits.

The data that appears in the annex to this 2019 report is divided into three sections: a list of eight entries that portrays the internment according to the official figures, the figures on internment and the vision on the CIE according to the Delegated Prosecutors for Foreigners, segmented among the seven CIE that exist, at this moment, in Spain.

DOWNLOAD HERE THE CIE 2019 REPORT (SPANISH VERSION)

DOWNLOAD HERE THE CIE 2019 REPORT (CATALAN VERSION)

DOWNLOAD HERE THE CIE 2019 REPORT (ENGLISH VERSION)

DOWNLOAD HERE THE ANNEX TO THE REPORT

The Jesuits Social Sector of the joins the citizen complaints about the lack of legal assistance and information about the rights of migrants arriving in the Canary Islands

Several organizations denounce the lack of legal assistance and interpretation in the first research activities of migrants carried out by the police in the Canary Islands, including the Illustrious Bar Association of Las Palmas. In this way, people are deprived of a guarantee provided by law. Ignoring the legal framework, they can hardly express their needs for protection. In the past, numerous entities have denounced the poor reception conditions of migrants arriving in the Canary Islands, whether they have an international protection profile or not: among them, the Migrants with Rights Network (Red Migrantes con Derechos), which includes the Social Sector of the Society of Jesus.

The Social Sector, which is part of JRS (Jesuit Refugee Service) and has experience in the southern border through SJM; in the countries of origin and transit with Alboan and Entreculturas; and with children and youth through the Mimbre network, maintains close contact with the diocesan secretariats of migration, with other entities and with some journalists who cover the situation, supporting their work and their demands. Through these channels, it is in contact with some Malian migrants with a clear asylum profile through subsidiary protection, who fear being returned without having been able to apply for international protection. They explain that the day after their arrival, the police gave them a document. A translator simply assured them that this paper did not necessarily imply that they would be returned. But no lawyer explained to them their rights or how to apply for international protection. Nor did they give them the names of their lawyers and interpreters, so they could not maintain contact. After two months, they are confined to a hotel, passing the quarantine, without anyone having advised them of their rights or taken steps to request protection. They fear that the police will send them back to Mali, a country in armed conflict, even via Mauritania.

SEE HERE THE FULL STATEMENT

The Migrant with Rights Network (Red Migrantes con Derechos) launches a campaign to stop summary returns

The Migrant with Rights Network launches an awareness raising campaign against Summary Returns, also called “hot returns”.

For several years, the Network has been working to denounce and defend the violation of rights at the border, and to accompany, with other Church entities, people who are returned massively.

When the European Court of Human Rights issued its ruling on this matter, we expressed our displeasure about it, precisely because we were able to show the setback in the protection of migrants and refugees.

We would like to explain to you what summary returns known as “hot” returns are.

Do you know what Summary Returns are?

Foreigners who enter Spain through the fence of Ceuta and Melilla do not enter through a border post and the Law on Foreigners says that in these cases a sanctioning file must be opened which is processed with an administrative procedure of refoulement.

In Ceuta and Melilla, the procedures for SUMMARY RETURNS, also called “Hot Returns”, are applied in a particular way, and do not comply with sufficient guarantees for the protection of human rights. What guarantees are not complied with?

  • People are not identified, so we do not know if they are minors or asylum seekers.
  • They do not have access to a lawyer or to appeal that decision.
  • There is no translator, so how can we get to know their personal situation in their origin and the reason why they have arrived?
  • People are helpless. Before, there were people and organisations that documented what happened. Now, this is punishable by a heavy fine. WE DON’T GET TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS DIRECTLY.

Interview with Santiago Agrelo here.
Download the diptych here.

Supreme Court confirms right to free movement of asylum seekers on national territory

The ruling prevents the Ministry of the Interior from restricting travel by asylum seekers from Melilla or Ceuta to other parts of Spanish territory and the Schengen area.

The SJM has received a favourable ruling from the Supreme Court dated 29 July 2020 which establishes jurisprudence on the right to free movement throughout the national territory of documented asylum seekers, with the mere legal obligation to communicate changes of address: a right which cannot be restricted to those who request international protection from Melilla or Ceuta. The Commissioner-General for Aliens and Borders cannot restrict fundamental rights without directly relying on the law, and asylum law does not allow him to prevent the free movement of asylum seekers.

The Supreme Court dismantles the Ministry of the Interior’s interpretation of the meaning of police checks on pre-boarding documentation between Melilla (or Ceuta) and the rest of Spanish territory, including the Schengen area: it does not prevent asylum seekers from crossing on the assumption that they had crossed the border without the required documentation to enter the Schengen area, but seeks to check whether people who have entered Melilla (or Ceuta) without a visa have sufficient documentation to enter the rest of Spain or the Schengen area states. And when it comes to asylum seekers, what counts is that the red card that documents them is a provisional residence authorisation that recognises their fundamental right to free movement and free choice of residence with the simple obligation to notify changes of address.

The case brought by SJM has a special procedural feature compared to the one brought by CEAR in Ceuta, which obtained a favourable ruling on 28 July 2020. The SJM is attacking a decision of the Commissioner General for Aliens and Borders which denied its defendant the right to travel. CEAR attacks the validity of the words “Valid only in Ceuta” (or in Melilla) added to the red card. The SJM has also followed this route in other similar cases. It has even lodged an administrative appeal under the special procedure for the protection of fundamental rights, which requires the intervention of the Public Prosecutor’s Office in the public interest. We still do not have a ruling from the Supreme Court, but the Prosecutor’s allegations are in line with the rulings of the High Courts of Justice of Andalusia and Madrid, in terms of what we defend from the SJM and CEAR in our respective cases.

SJM is in favour, as are the people who request asylum from Ceuta and Melilla. The Ministry of the Interior has no margin to continue imposing its flawed interpretation of the law. But we have to be vigilant so that the Interior changes its policy beyond complying and fulfilling every sentence on the matter it loses. The Ministry of the Interior must comply with the law and protect fundamental rights, including those of asylum seekers in Melilla and Ceuta.

More than 58,000 people accompanied by the SJM network in 201

The Jesuit Migrant Service (SJM) presents its 2019 Annual Report, a year in which the work of accompanying, serving and defending migrants and refugees, and their full access to citizenship, has been consolidated. A total of 58,965 people were accompanied in 2019 by the entities that form part of the network in the different lines of work.

In the line of Inclusion, which aims to provide integration tools to the migrant population in the cities where we work, almost 40,000 people were accompanied in individualized legal, labour and psycho-social assistance; first reception and basic orientation; and in employability and training projects.

The Frontera Sur (Southern Border) office in Melilla, which offers legal advice as well as human rights observation, assisted 530 people of 21 different nationalities last year, in addition 130 legal actions have been carried out before different authorities and institutions.

In Hospitality, the line of reception for especially vulnerable forced migrants, 460 people were received in more than 70 solidarity initiatives by lay groups, family networks and religious communities. The Community Sponsorship project in the Basque Country was the most innovative action of the year. 53 of the people welcomed were women who took part in gender-specific projects. Many of the people welcomed were unaccompanied young people.

Another of the lines of work is the presence in CIE (Internment and Foreigner Centres) where a group of volunteers and technicians visit the interns in 5 different places in the territory. In 2019, in addition to presenting the ninth annual report, 1462 visits were made to 793 people; and 61 legal actions were carried out in order to improve the conditions of internment and to work towards the end of these inhumane centres.

The Interreligious Dialogue line was given a strong boost with the consolidation of three spaces for raising awareness about the diversity of beliefs, which were attended by almost 7,000 people (mostly students from educational centres) and the proliferation of numerous cultural exchange activities, in which more than 1,600 people participated.  

The strategic line of Migrant Women and Domestic Work continued to support almost 5,000 women, especially in the areas of work and training. The work focused on strengthening their lines of defence of rights in home and care work spaces and raising awareness among the public, as well as advocacy with political authorities. In the area of Citizenship and Participation there were numerous innovative initiatives to strengthen community ties in the neighbourhoods and to promote the autonomy and voice of migrants. 420 people attended spaces for citizen participation and some 1,500 attended leisure and free time initiatives.The SJM sincerely and lovingly thanks all the people who make this work possible, which aims to achieve social justice and greater inclusion and equality for migrants: more than 1,200 volunteers and almost 70 members of the technical and managerial teams that make up the team that drives SJM’s work.