Tag Archives: Ceuta and Melilla

Increase in Numbers of Migrants Reaching Spanish Coast in 2011

The Spanish Ministry of Interior and the Asociación Pro Derechos Humanos de Andalucía (APDHA) both released reports regarding the numbers of migrants who reached Spain by sea in 2011.  APDHA reports larger numbers of arrivals and deaths in 2011 than the official governmental report.

The report from Spanish authorities states that a total of 5,443 migrants were known to have reached Spanish territory by sea, including the Canary Islands, in 2011.  This represents an increase over 2010 when 3,632 persons are known to have arrived, but represents a substantial reduction in total numbers compared to the peak year of 2006 when over 36,000 migrants reached Spain by sea or by entering the North African territories of Ceuta and Melilla.

According to Spanish authorities, 340 migrants reached the Canary Islands by sea in 2011, an increase over the 196 who arrived in 2010, but significantly fewer that the over 31,000 migrants who reached the Canary Islands in 2006.  3,345 migrants reached Ceuta and Melilla by sea, by being smuggled into the territories, or by otherwise crossing the border fencing.

The Guardia Civil reported that 29 migrants are known to have drowned in 2011, but some NGOs believe the numbers of deaths are much larger.

APDHA in its report  issued last month stated that it believed a larger number of migrants reached Spain.  The APDHA report was based on a survey of publicly available information.  It estimates that 8,867 people reached Spain (compared to the 5,443 reported by authorities).  APDHA also reported that 84 migrants are known to have died and at least 114 were known to be missing in 2011.

Click here and here for Spanish Ministerio del Interior report. (ES)

Click here and here for the Asociación Pro Derechos Humanos de Andalucía report. (ES)

Click here1, here2, here3, here4, here5, here6, here7, here8, here9, here10, here11, and here12 for additional articles.  (ES)

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Record Numbers of Migrants Reaching Ceuta and Melilla by Sea

Since the beginning of July there has been a surge in the number of irregular migrants entering the North African Spanish autonomous cities of Ceuta and Melilla.  Over 200 migrants have entered Ceuta mostly by swimming or using small rafts to enter the territory from Morocco.  Melilla has reportedly had approximately 207 migrants reach its territory during the same period.  This is the largest number of irregular entries by sea in recent years, though the number is small compared to the events of 2005 when numerous migrants were able to traverse the border fences of the two cities.

The CETI (Centre for Temporary Stay of Immigrants) in Melilla is at roughly twice its capacity and is holding over 730 immigrants.  The CETI in Ceuta has an official capacity of 512 and is now holding over 680 migrants. The three main political groups in Ceuta’s local government have called on the Spanish government to transfer migrants from Ceuta to the mainland in order to relief the overcrowding.

Francisco Javier Velázquez, the director general of the Spanish police and Civil Guard just completed a visit to Rabat to seek greater cooperation from Morocco in controlling the migratory flow towards the Spanish territories.  Several media reports suggest that Moroccan authorities have reduced police and border guard patrols near the Spanish cities because they were deployed elsewhere in Morocco in response to the large demonstrations surrounding the referendum on the new Moroccan constitution.  With the internal demonstrations becoming smaller and less frequent, Spanish authorities believe that the Moroccan border patrols will soon be restored.

Click here, here, here, here, here, and here for articles. (all ES)

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Migreurop Report: European borders- Controls, detention and deportations

Migreurop has released its second report on Europe’s borders: “European borders- Controls, detention and deportations.”  Migreurop describes the report as a “[denunciation of] the « externalization » process of the European union migratory policy [which] shows how third countries are obliged, through the threat of the reconsideration of cooperation agreements and development aid, not only to readmit the migrants chased from Europe, but also to keep them on their own territory from travelling towards its doors.   From Calais area in France to the edge of Turkey and the Adriatic sea, from the surroundings of Gibraltar to the Sahel Saharan desert and the new member states of eastern Europe, a subcontracting of migratory control is carried out in series, sometimes very far away from the Union but also within its territory, especially when it deals with sending asylum seekers from country to country considered as unwanted. A large population of exiles, from both sides of the European borders, is subjected to arbitrary incarceration, wandering, and the constant humiliation of a hostile environment….”

Here is the Table of Contents:


  • What have migrants become 3

Ceuta, a gilded prison

  • A murderous border 7
  • A legal limbo 8
  • The situation of migrants in detention 8
  • The situation of migrants in the CETI (open centre) 9
  • Deportations and expulsions 12
  • Surviving without resources 14

Sahel-Saharan countries, Europe’s new sentries

  • I – European interference in inter-African migrations – the case of Mauritania 18
    • The “crisis of the cayucos” 18
    • 1. Cooperation instigated by Europe 18
    • 2. Mauritania tramples on its own principles and conforms 21
    • 3. Subcontracting repression and endangering foreigners 22
  • II – Bargaining between Libya and Europe: migrants as an exchange currency –the case of Niger 33
    • 1. A reciprocal exploitation 34
    • 2. An increasingly repressive control of borders 37
    • 3. Arrests and detention in Libyan territory 39
    • 4. A deadly expulsion policy 42
  • Conclusion: the real face of Kadhafi’s pan-Africanism 44

Poland, Romania: how to be good state members in the enlarged EU

  • I – At the new frontiers: the screening of migration 47
    • 1. Reducing the transit and deserving Schengen 48
    • 2. The border police, Frontex and cooperation with other European states 48
  • II – Reception and detention centres 52
    • 1. The detention of foreigners 52
    • 2. Reception centres: isolating asylum seekers 60
    • 3. “Dublinized” asylum seekers 61
  • III – Returns 63
  • IV – Intolerance towards migrants and refugees 66
  • V – Embryonic mobilizations 70

The Ionian and Adriatic seas: forced returns between Italy and Greece

  • A new migration route at Europe’s gates 73
  • I – Controlling and blocking 75
    • 1. Controls in Greece 75
    • 2. Controls at sea 77
    • 3. Controls in Italian ports 78
  • II – Turning back and readmission 82
    • 1. Arbitrary practices and violation of rights 82
    • 2. The port of Venice: collective returns 83
    • 3. The port of Ancona 86
    • 4. Forced return to Greece 86
  • III – Detention 88
    • 1. At the borders and at sea: areas beyond legality 88
    • 2. Detention in Italy 89
    • 3. Detention in Greece 90
  • IV – Some cruel situations 93
    • 1. In Greece 93
    • 2. In Italy 96
  • V – Mobilizations 97
    • 1. In Venice 97
    • 2. In Ancona 97
    • 3. In Greece 98

Ping-pong at the Greco-Turkish border

  • Selective expulsions and random readmissions 106
  • Reactions to a degrading and sometimes murderous situation 107
  • Assistance, support, resistance 108

Dismantling the Calais jungle: a deceptive operation

  • I – The declared objectives of the 22 September 2009 operation 112
  • II – The real objectives of dismantling the jungle 113
  • III – The Modus Operandi: brutality and trickery 115
  • IV – What next? 116

Migreurop network 121

Annexes 122

  • Knocking down walls and defending the right to migrate 122
  • UNHCR-Libya : the bid is rising, migrants pay the price 124
  • All for the closure of camps for migrants, in Europe and beyond 125
  • Italia and Libya: hand in hand 127
  • Roma people victims of the French government xenophobia 128

Click here for the report (EN), or  here (FR), or here (ES).

Click here for article (ES) in Periodismo Humano about the report.

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Spanish Court Rules that Schengen Treaty Prevents Asylees From Leaving Ceuta and Melilla

As noted on Diario de la Inmigración, a Spanish Court in Ceuta (el Juzgado Contencioso Administrativo número 2 de Ceuta) has ruled that persons granted asylum or subsidiary protection may not leave Ceuta for the Spanish peninsula.  The court agreed with the position of the Spanish government and ruled that the two autonomous cities of Ceuta and Melilla are not part of the Schengen area and that proper documentation is therefore required to enter the Schengen area from the cities.  The court concluded that the “yellow card” (“tarjeta amarilla”) issued to persons granted asylum or subsidiary protection is insufficient documentation to enter the Schengen area.

The UNHCR and CEAR have previously criticised the Spanish’s government new policy of restricting the free movement of persons in Ceuta and Melilla who have been granted asylum or subsidiary protection.  UNHCR believes that the restrictions on free movement violate article 5 of Spain’s 2009 asylum law (la ley 12/2009, de 30 de octubre).

Click here, here, and here for articles (all ES).

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