What happened last Friday at the Melilla border is the consequence of a dehumanizing migration policy

  • The Jesuits deeply regret the lives lost in Nador last Friday and call for the need for safe and legal avenues of access to protection.
  • Jesuit Migrant Service lawyers are providing legal assistance to some of the people who have arrived in Melilla and whose return proceedings have been stalled because they have expressed their intention to apply for international protection. 
  • Entreculturas and Alboan work in alliance with local organizations that assists migrant people in transit in Nador and Tñanger, as well as in many origin countries. 
  • We denounce that these events happen as the consequence of a single perspective of security and tight control at the border, where there is a lack of humanitarian assistance and serious human rights violations. 

Madrid/Melilla, Monday 27th June, 2022. The social works of the Company of Jesus working on the southern border deeply regret the death of, according to figures from the Moroccan authorities, at least 23 people when they tried to jump the fence in the Barrio Chino area of Melilla on Friday 24th June. In the images recorded on the Moroccan side of the border, we can see the harshness of the police and inhumane treatment to repel this attempted access, worrying facts that may involve human rights violations. 

On the other hand, as has happened in previous similar situations, on the Spanish side of the border there have been rejections of injured people, some of whom could be minors, all of whom are more than likely to be in need of international protection. The Jesuit Migrant Service, Entreculturas and Alboan demand that the Spanish Government use diplomatic channels to ensure that the Moroccan authorities open a rigorous investigation to clarify the circumstances in which there people lost their lives at the border, as well as to identify the deceased and inform their families. 

What happened at the Melilla border is the consequence of an inhumane and irresponsible migration and border management policy. The insufficiency of sage and effective legal channels to access European territory and international protection forces people fleeing situations of conflict, violence of lack of livelihoods to put their lives and physical integrity at risk. And in this context, what we see are situations of excessive harshness on the part of the authorities that sadly lead to numerous violations of rights and, on occasion, deaths. Unfortunately, at the border, the security perspective prevails over the humanitarian one. 

SJM’s legal team is working to accompany and provide legal assistance to some of the young people who managed to arrive at the CETI in Melilla last Friday, whose request for international protection is being respected and is currently being processed. This means that any refoulement proceedings that have been initiated have been halted. Most of the young people come from Sudan, a country immersed in a serious social crisis and with high rates of recognition of protection by Spain. It is necessary to remember that the CETI is not a police facility and that people there should not be deprived of their liberty. 

Entreculturas, Alboan and SJM call for a review of European foreign policies. The diversion of cooperation funds for migration control must end immediately and the new European Pact on Migration and Asylum must be more protective of the rights of migrants and refugees. We also demand greater consistency from the Spanish Government with the provisions of the draft Cooperation Law, which includes the objective of “promoting a comprehensive approach to migration focused on people and their rights”. 

After years of work in this Southern border, one of the most unequal in the world, what is at stake in this crisis is consistency with European values and principles, as well as our ability to build a fair, peaceful and sustainable future that will only be possible under democratic principles and guaranteed rights. 

YOU CAN READ HERE THE FULL ARTICLE (SPANISH)

SJM demands that the guarantees of the rights of migrants in Melilla do not remain a dead letter

  • After the two attempted jumps in Melilla, it is necessary to identify profiles of special vulnerability and protection needs, such as potential asylum seekers or minors, in addition to informing them of their rights on an individual basis. 
  • Additionally  to the border rejections that have occurred at the fence itself, there is concern that the Spanish authorities may initiate procedures for the return of persons who have arrived at the CETI without having received adequate legal assistance. 
  • In the events of these two days, the number of serious injuries and the violence that is generated and perpetuated in border contexts is impressive.

Madrid-Melilla, Friday, March 4th, 2022. About 3,000 people have tried to jump the fence of the border perimeter of the city of Melilla, of which about 850 have managed to reach the Center for Temporary Stay of Immigrants (CETI). From what the Jesuit Migrant Service (SJM) and other organizations have been able to observe, many of the people come from Sub-Saharan countries (Mali, Burkina Faso, Chad, Sudan, Ivory Coast…) or Arab countries (Syria, Yemen, Libya) where there is an armed conflict ongoing. It is therefore possible that many people are potential asylum seekers . In addition, many of them are young adolescents, which may suggest that some of them are minors and therefore require protection by the Administration.

In both cases, it is necessary that these people receive adequate information about their rights, with appropriate individualized legal assistance, and that protection mechanisms be activated, since the law prevents their return to the country of origin. 

SJM fears that the guarantees of the rights of migrants provided for in the legal system will remain a dead letter. During the jumps there have been refoulements and rejections at the border. Those who managed to reach the CETI have been identified by the Police to initiate the process of refoulement. The existing fear, as on other occasions, is that legal assistance is quick and cursory, without sufficient time to delve into the personal circumstances of each person, in case there are protection needs. In addition, cultural interpretation services are often inadequate. It is likely that Spain will initiate fast-tack procedures of less than 10 days to advance interviews and asylum decisions in order to expedite returns to Morocco: we remain attentive to developments. In any case, it must be ensured that all rights are met.

The events of these days have left terrible scenes. On both the Spanish and Moroccan sides we have seen people with serious injuries that have required hospitalization, also among the State Security Forces and Corps. These injuries can be explained by the combination of damaging architectural obstacles and a disproportionate use, on occasions, of force on the part of the agents, which turns the southern border into a space with a markedly violent character. Particularly worrisome is the fact that many police and civil guards are observed without proper numerical identification.

The SJM works to accompany the experiences of migrants, trying to heal the wounds produced. The legal team of the SJM is mobilized to provide legal assistance in the procedures of refoulement and international protection, while redoubling efforts with other entities present in the field to detect people susceptible to some kind of protection according to Spanish law. As an entity of the Catholic Church, the priority is to be close to the people.

We present the report “The lack of protection of unaccompanied children at the border”.

Together with Entreculturas, Alboan, SJM Mexico and the Documentation Network of Migrants Defense Organizations of Mexico (REDODEM) we have published the report “The lack of protection of unaccompanied children at the border”. This work was presented on the morning of Thursday, December 16th with a virtual conference.

The report denounces the lack of support networks and the difficult situations that unaccompanied children and adolescents have to go through on their migratory route, where their rights are seriously violated. There is a lack of a solid approach to children and gender realities that addresses the conditions they face during transit and arrival in the destination country, exposed to being victims of human trafficking networks, degrading treatment, exploitation and aggression. 

In addition, at the borders of both countries (Spain and Mexico), unaccompanied children and adolescents are detained in unhealthy and inhumane conditions, where they suffer a situation of helplessness in the country of arrival for weeks of months until they can prove their family ties after separation. Other rights identified as being violated include the right to identity, to be heard, to communicate with family members, to have access to a lawyer or to have translation if needed.

In short, the implementation of the Migrant Protection Protocol is not respected and unaccompanied children and adolescents arriving at the borders of Spain and Mexico are treated as adults, thus leaving them unprotected, without taking into account their situation of special vulnerability, forgetting their age and the special protection afforded to unaccompanied children and adolescents by the Convention on the Rights of the Child. 

When an unaccompanied child or adolescent leaves home, taking into account all the lack of protection they will go through, they do so in order to seek a dignified life with equal opportunities. There people usually suffer structural violence, persecution, aggression or economic reasons in their country of origin for which they cannot continue with their lives in a dignified manner. Furthermore, although the majority of unaccompanied children and adolescents are usually boys, the number of girls has also increased and remains at a worrying level, also fleeing from forced marriages, female genital mutilation or situations of severe vulnerability. 

YOU CAN SEE HERE THE SUMMARY VIDEO

YOU CAN SEE HERE THE PRESENTATION EVENT

SJM 2021 Meeting: Seeds of Resistance

On November 10th, 11st and 12nd, the Jesuit Migrant Service held its Annual Meeting 2021 in Madrid, where about 70 people from the network’s entities participated with the motto “Seeds of Resistance”. The meeting took place at the Casa de Ejercicios de las Esclavas de Cristo Rey. 

We began the Assembly on Wednesday, November 10th, when the welcome and reception took place at 7:00 pm. After dinner, an evening was organized as a first contact and meeting point for the participants of the Meeting.

On Thursday morning we began with an Institutional Welcome, where María del Carmen De La Fuente, SJM coordinator, and Luis Arancibia, Delegate of the Social Sector, presented the main challenges and achievements of the network, alluding to the motto of resistance to continue accompanying on a daily basis. After this presentation, with the aim of framing our action and putting a face to the realities seen in the care and accompaniment of migrants in the last year, the dynamic “The faces we see” took place. Through the faces of people who are accompanied, testimonies were presented so that we could see more closely what stories are seen in several of the areas and dimensions of work, from the southern border and Detention Centres , to residential reception and social inclusion. 

Wednesday morning ended with an eye on where we are. A self-diagnosis to make visible where the capacities of the works and the connections of the network are placed. To this end, 5 working groups were created, each with a dimension: protection, reception, residential, inclusion and coexistence. They identified elements defining each dimension, present difficulties and challenges, and connections with the other dimensions. To end the dynamics, there was a sharing among all the participants. 

Finally, as part of the same dynamic, we looked at where we should be in order to change things, with the objective of identifying the needs, challenges and opportunities to accompany, serve and defend the people we are looking at. For this space, based on what was carried out during the morning, the participants were distributed in three spaces: Intervention and Accompaniment, Strengthening and Sustainability, and Raising Awareness and Advocacy. In each space we identified lines of force and common aces to pool all the dimensions and understand where we should be in order to respond the needs and challenges of migrants in the most effective and relevant way. 

Friday morning was entitled “Keys to Resilience”, where some of the network’s colleagues shared their own stories, testimonies of celebration in each of the steps we take together with those we accompany, serve and defend, as well as words of resilience and hope that were shared to support the team in the most difficult moments and continue to look forward without giving up. 

To end the Assembly and before the group photo and the farewell meal, there was an space for closing and recollection of the Assembly in an interreligious key, with an activity in which each person shared the main word that resonates in this Assembly in a little boat that sails in the sea of the day to day in the accompaniment of migrants. 

Thank you very much to all the entities and companions who came to Madrid to share, enjoy and learn in this annual meeting where we recharge strength and energy to continue with our mission and challenges.

SJM is the network of organizations of the Social Sector of the Society of Jesus, organizations that work in the field of migration, which are: Pueblos Unidos Center and Padre Rubio of the Foundation San Juan del Castillo (Madrid), Migra Studium Foundation (Barcelona), Claver-SJM Association (Sevilla), Ellacuría Foundation (Bilbao), SJM Valencia, Red Íncola (Valladolid), Atalaya Intercultural (Burgos), Padre Lasa Center (Tudela), LoiolaEtxea Association (Donostia). The University Institute for Migration Studies (UP Comillas, Madrid) and the Diocesan Delegation of Migration of Tangier (site in Nador) are also part of the network.

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).