On 12 May, for the first time, a meeting was held for all the volunteers who are part of the visiting teams to the CIEs (Immigration Detention Centers) in Barcelona, Valencia, Algeciras and Madrid. It was a virtual meeting where the volunteers themselves had the opportunity to get to know each other better and exchange experiences of a common work, such as “accompanying, serving and defending” the people who are interned in the CIE.
Volunteers – old and new – have put into words the feelings aroused by knowing and accompanying those who are deprived of their freedom behind bars “dreamcatchers”, as they defined the CIE. During the meeting, Cristina Manzanedo and Ilham Ennmer shared their testimonies with us, bringing us closer to life stories with which a bond is created that goes beyond the visits, and people to whom we try to give back the dignity they believe they have lost by being interned in these centres.
Cristina told her story following up the case of Samba Martine, a Congolese woman who died in the CIE of Madrid ten years ago due to an accumulation of medical negligence, and Ilham, on her part, shared her experience as a translator in the CIE of Algeciras, a city which, she said, she could not see in the same way since she started volunteering; her perception of the place changed even in the daily things, such as walking through its streets or bathing on the beach.
The meeting highlighted the importance of networking and the necessary convergence between legal work and citizen mobilisation to achieve a fairer world free of these centres for the detention of foreigners.
The general feeling of gratitude for being able to share stories and recharge each other’s batteries was mixed with those shared feelings that came to light when talking about such hard work: “Powerlessness, but also hope for the commitment of so many little people”. In the space there was also room for suggestions and no one better than those people who cross the doors of the CIE to do so.
WE THANK all the people who give their time to accompany those who are on the other side of the walls of a CIE, being an example of service and testimony of hope to continue “rowing all towards the same goal, leaving aside borders”.
Jesuit Migrant Service (SJM Spain) renews its corporate image to continue the consolidation of its work of accompaniment, serve and advocacy for the rights of migrants and refugees. SJM was born more than 10 years ago now as a network that agglutinates the Jesuit social organizations that work with migrants in different cities. During past few years, this network has enhanced and covers more locations. This change is consistent with the mission ad vision that have been with SJM since the very beginning: the must of answer to social transformation and the certainty that mobility and adaptation are inherent attributes of human beings.
This image and website restyling is an instrument that helps to convey who we are in the actual context. New logo is a more simplified, modern and stylish figure, with the same colour as Social Apostolate in Spain, to which SJM belongs. The soft typography symbolises the closeness and warmth with which both staff and volunteers perform their duties every day.
The ’M’ of migrants represents our main essence: the top is a bridge of approach and encounter with other cultures and religions, where diversity is richness and there is no place for discrimination. The bottom part are three pillars that represent the three words of our motto (and JRS’ as well): accompany, serve and advocate.
SJM is made up of Jesuit social entities that works for the defence of the rights of migrants and their full access to citizenship, presents in 10 cities: Barcelona (Migra Studium), Bilbao (Fund. Ellacuría), Burgos (Atalaya Intercultural), Madrid (Pueblos Unidos-Padre Rubio), San Sebastián (Asoc. Loiolaetxea), Sevilla (Asoc. Claver), Tudela (Centro Lasa), Valencia (SJM Valencia), Valladolid (Red Íncola), alongside with a technical office in Madrid and a legal office in Melilla (Southern Border).
“Living without CIE is possible”. This is the message that was conveyed this time at the prayer vigil in solidarity with the people interned in these centres, which is held every year by the different organisations of the Jesuit Migrant Service network. On this occasion, the meeting was held in Barcelona last Saturday, in front of the Zona Franca Detention Centre for Foreigners, while the vigil in Madrid has been postponed until a new date.
The group of visits to the CIE of the Migra Studium Foundation, which is organising the vigil in Barcelona, was joined by more than 60 organisations and groups. The number of participants was limited, but the event could be followed live on Instagram.
The initiative served to denounce the unjust and useless suffering of thousands of people interned in these centres. The testimonies of inmates, collected by the volunteers who visit them, were read out. Some of them suffer from health problems or are minors. Their stories highlight the violations of rights that occur inside the CIEs. “I am a minor. I don’t know why I am here. It’s been five days since I arrived and I can’t sleep or eat. I am afraid in the cell, in the courtyard, in the dining room”, a young Algerian who was finally deported explained to the volunteer.
The auxiliary bishop of Barcelona, Mgr Javier Vilanova, who attended the event, stressed the need to accompany the people who are interned. “We want them to feel our heart that loves them and defends their rights and dignity”.
In March last year, with the state of alarm over the pandemic, the CIE was empty and closed. “For seven months it has been proven that we can live without CIE”, says Migra Studium. But in October, the CIEs reopened again, under even more difficult conditions, as visits by family members, organisations and NGOs are restricted.
The hostility represented by the CIE contrasted with testimonies of hospitality. Migrants or refugees who have been able to count on the welcome and support of the hospitality network. During the vigil, which had a vindicative and contemplative dimension, texts from different religious traditions were read and candles were lit to represent the suffering of all the people who leave their land in search of a better present and future.
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 (CATALAN VERSION)
DOWNLOAD HERE THE CIE 2019 REPORT (ENGLISH VERSION)
DOWNLOAD HERE THE ANNEX TO THE REPORT
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.