Spain criticised for repatriating hundreds of Moroccan minors after migration crisis

AFP - [email protected]
Spain criticised for repatriating hundreds of Moroccan minors after migration crisis
A Spanish soldier stands guard as a migrant swims towards the Spanish enclave of Ceuta, on May 19, 2021. - A steady stream of migrants tried to swim to the Spanish enclave of Ceuta, after a record influx of arrivals sent diplomatic tensions soaring between Madrid and Rabat. (Photo by Antonio Sempere / AFP)

International organisation Save the Children urged Spain on Saturday to halt the repatriation of hundreds of unaccompanied minors to Morocco, who were among thousands of migrants to cross into the Spanish enclave of Ceuta three months ago.


The international NGO accused Madrid of failing to protect the rights of the children.

Up to 10,000 migrants flooded across the border in North Africa into Ceuta over several days in May as Moroccan border guards stood aside.

This was widely seen as retaliation for Spain's decision to host Brahim Ghali, leader of the Polisario Front, a movement demanding Western Sahara be independent from Morocco, for medical treatment.

Spain on Friday began sending back more than 700 unaccompanied minors to Morocco.


"Repatriations from Ceuta continue today," Save the Children posted on Twitter Saturday.

The NGO called "for an end" to these. "Spain is not guaranteeing the protection of minors," it said.

READ ALSO: What happens to the thousands of undocumented migrants after they arrive in Spain?

The interior ministry has not officially announced the repatriations, and was not immediately available when contacted by AFP.

Ione Belarra, leader of the far-left Podemos, the junior member of Spain's ruling coalition, also criticised the transfers in a letter to Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska.

"We have been informed by children's organisations on the ground that the repatriation of minors has begun," she wrote in the letter published in online daily El Confidencial.

She said that the operation might be taking place "without strict observance" of various Spanish and international laws.


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