Returns of unaccompanied minors to Morocco must be immediately halted by the Spanish Government.

In view of the returns being carried out since August 13th to Morocco of unaccompanied foreign minors under the guardianship of Ceuta, the Jesuit Migrant Service is concerned about the violation of children’s rights that this may entail. For this reason, it requests the Spanish Government to halt all pending returns until the competent institutions have analyzed the circumstances of each minor. 

Any unaccompanied foreign child or adolescent, due to his or her minority, is protected by a series of national, European and international child protection regulations. The competent organizations responsible for their administrative guardianship and the public prosecutor’s office must ensure that any action taken respects the best interests of the minor. The repatriation of a minor has such an impact on his or her vital circumstances that the law establishes a procedure that is particularly protective of his or her interests. 

SJM joins the public statements of the Ombudsman of Spain, the General Council of Spanish Lawyers and various organizations defending human rights and working with migrant children,  to denounce important indications of violation or our legal system by the Government of Spain to carry out these days the repatriation of minors under guardianship by Ceuta. 

Annual Report 2020

SJM (Jesuit Migrant Service) has, once again, published its Annual Report. 2020 has been an intense period, in which Covid pandemic has revealed the collective fragility, but at the same time has been a progress moment in SJM’s mission, that has invited us to seek more creative and hopeful common answers,. The entities part of SJM have accompanied 30,555 people during 2020, of which the 50% has been in first reception spaces, many of them motivated and adapted due Covid-19. 

Also, 817 people have been welcomed in Hospitality communities, more than 5.600 people have participated in training and employment programs, more than 2.500 in individualized itineraries of psychosocial and legal accompaniment, more than 1.880 women have been accompanied in the specific line, and about 7.200 people have participated in citizenship initiatives, coexistence in diversity and awareness.

In 2020, the common work developed by the entities that are part of the SJM network in 9 cities has been present and consolidated, as well as the work in alliance with other organizations of the Social Sector of the Society of Jesus and other Jesuit social and academic institutions. The presence and participation in external networks, at the intra-ecclesial and European level, broadens the joint view of accompaniment to the migrant collective in a complex. Changing and interconnected world. 

During this time of global emergency, new programs have been developed, like the virtual assistance channel during the state of alarm or the launch of the Lumen series of brief reports. The hospitality reception has prioritized the accompaniment of the most vulnerable people. Work at the internal (CIE) and external (Southern Border) borders has brought new challenges beyond the day-to.day work. The other lines of work have found the spaces, adapting to a new reality to continue being close to the migrant population, trying to avoid falling into irregularity and accompanying processes of labor, training and social inclusion. 

SJM is a human team that works to accompany, serve and defend the integration process of migrant people and their rights, seeking to influence and reflect in order to generate a public debate on migration policies. It is formed, as stated in this Report, by 155 hired people in the member entities of the network, another 11 in the technical offices and 1.322 volunteers in various spaces and initiatives. To all of them and to all the people who make SJM’s mission possible, thank you very much for continuing to be close to us in such a complex year. 

Proposal for the Reform of the Regulation on Aliens to guarantee the inclusion of unaccompanied migrant children and young people

CHILDHOOD AND MIGRATION ORGANISATIONS AND PROFESSIONALS PROPOSE A MODIFICATION OF THE REGULATION ON FOREIGNERS TO GUARANTEE THE RIGHT TO DOCUMENTATION FOR CHILDREN ARRIVING ALONE IN SPAIN.

These proposals, made within the framework of the public consultation process opened by the Ministry of Inclusion, Social Security and Migration at the beginning of February, have the sole purpose of facilitating the transition to adult life for all children.

The proposal for modification put forward by professionals and expert bodies aims to guarantee the full and effective integration of these children and young people into Spanish society, in accordance with national and international legislation that guarantees the protection of human rights, and in particular, children’s rights.

The document presented focuses on the articles relating to the identification, documentation, processing and renewal of residence and work authorisations for children and adolescents who have arrived alone in Spain and who have been under the care and/or guardianship of the public protection entities of the Cities and Autonomous Communities. In line with the Ombudsman’s recommendations already accepted by the Ministry, the need for an exhaustive modification of Articles 196, 197 and 198 is proposed, and, going a step further, modifications to Articles 148, 190 and 211 of the same regulatory text are proposed.

In addition, several Transitional Provisions are included for the retroactive application of the Regulation, with the aim of documenting all young people who, although they were minors from 1 January 2018 to the present day, did not have access to their documentation despite being entitled to it, which places them in a situation of social exclusion.

The current regulation multiplies administrative procedures, dilutes responsibilities between the different administrations and does not provide agile and effective responses to the real needs of these children. The lack of automatic work authorisation for young migrants of working age, the demands on the business sector and young people for the processing of their work authorisation and subsequent hiring, the validity of only one year for the residence cards of minors under guardianship and the obstacles to their renewal, the difficulties in obtaining registration cards and the disparity of criteria at provincial level for their processing, and the non-recognition of the validity of children’s identity documents issued by the authorities in their countries of origin, are some of the issues that have left children and young people in a state of absolute defencelessness.

HERE THE PRESS RELEASE WITH ALL THE PROPOSALS

CONSULT HERE THE FULL DOCUMENT OF RLOEX REFORM PROPOSALS

SIGNATORIES:

Aldeas Infantiles SOS, Alucinos la Salle, Asociación Española de Abogados Extranjeristas, Asociación Noves Vies, Asociación Pro Derechos de la Infancia (Prodein), Asociación Progestión, Cáritas, Col.lectiu Hourria, Comisión Española de Ayuda al Refugiado (CEAR), Comisión de Ayuda al Refugiado (CEAR) – Euskadi, Coordinadora de Barrios, Coordinadora Estatal de Plataformas Sociales Salesianas (CEPSS), Coordinadora Obrim Fronteres, Cruz Roja Juventud, Federación Andalucía Acoge, Federación Estatal de SOS Racismo, Fundación Raíces, La Merced Migraciones, Plataforma de Infancia, Pueblos Unidos – Servicio Jesuita a Migrantes, Save the Children, UNICEF España, Voluntarios por otro Mundo Wasata Sans Frontières

VIII March for Dignity – Tarajal We Don’t Forget

As every year since 2014, we have participated in the MARCHES FOR DIGNITY in memory of the at least 14 people whose lives were taken on 6 February 2014 on the Tarajal beach in Ceuta.

This year has been a special march because of the situation we are living due to the pandemic, but even so, alternatives have been found to MAKE MEMORY, DEFEND LIFE AND DEMAND RIGHTS.

On the afternoon of 5 February, we shared a very interesting round table discussion with Patuca Fernández, lawyer at the Fundación La Merced Migraciones, who explained the evolution and current state of the case, María José Aguilar, Professor of Social Work and Social Services at the University of Castilla la Mancha, who spoke on “Políticas migratorias: Políticas de muerte”, Txema Santana from CEAR Canarias to relate the situation of this 2019 in the islands with the paper “Canarias: el muro que emerge del mar”, Mamadou Dia from the association Hatay sonrisas de Gandiol with the paper “Senegal: jóvenes en busca de alternativas” and Sani Ladán, vice-president of the Asociación Elín with the paper “Derechos el camino hacia el futuro”. The round table will also feature live performances by the singer Pedro Sosa and the singer Mia Fuentes.

The following day, Saturday, 6 February, acts of remembrance took place in more than 30 cities. In Ceuta, as every year, it was a very emotional act in which a group of people gathered on the Tarajal beach, read the names of the people whose lives were taken that fateful day and set up a candle for each of them. We listened to a song and read the manifesto. In Melilla we participated together with other organisations such as Geum Dodou in a tribute to the memory of the disappeared people and demanded justice.

Seven years of impunity and injustice that cannot be forgotten. Seven years demanding rights and remembering. #TarajalNoOlvidamos

SJM renews its corporate image

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).

We publish the Southern Border 2020 report ‘Seeking a Way Out’

We publish the Southern Border report 2020, Seeking a Way Out, in which we launch a series of proposals to the Administration to comply with human rights at the southern border.

This third publication on the area of ‘Southern Border’ includes the work of accompanying the migrant population and observing Human Rights that the organisation carries out from the Melilla office, it also analyses the social and legal consequences that the tightening of migratory control has on those who seek a way out of their transit through the city.

The report is structured around seven essential issues to understand the border context: among them, the drama of those who risk their lives to seek asylum; the lack of guarantees in the return procedures; the Supreme Court ruling that guarantees the right to free movement of asylum seekers from Ceuta and Melilla; the problem of considering victims of trafficking as criminals; the dramas of young people who go from sheltered centres to street situations; family separation due to disproportionate zeal; and the measures in the context of a pandemic that aggravate the situation of migrants.

‘Seeking a Way Out’ continues and expands the library of reports on Southern Border that SJM publishes biannually, documents that have been drawing the path of the migratory reality in Melilla in search of a humane and safe migration policy.

DOWNLOAD HERE THE SOUTHERN BORDER REPORT 2020_SJM

DOWNLOAD HERE THE SJM SOUTHERN BORDER 2020 REPORT (ENGLISH)

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.