GUE/NGL strongly condemns the Spanish Guardia Civil following the emergence of a video* that shows police beating a young Cameroonian trying to cross the border into Melilla.

The Group calls on Commissioner Cecilia Malmström to also condemn these actions and put pressure on the Spanish government to end such violent practices and initiate infringement proceedings against officers where appropriate.

GUE/NGL President Gabi Zimmer said: “Europe cannot tolerate such practices that violate the fundamental rights of migrants and asylum seekers.

“As GUE/NGL already outlined in an open letter to the JHA Council last week, it is high time for the European Commission and European governments to make concrete proposals to address the tragic situation at European sea and land borders, notably by developing safe and legal ways to access Europe for asylum seekers as well as developing a comprehensive legal migration framework.”

Spanish GUE/NGL MEP Marina Albiol said “This is yet another illegal act of the Spanish Guardia Civil in Melilla. The Spanish Interior Ministry cannot act with impunity by not acting when people trying to reach Europe are assaulted at the border.

“The undemocratic character of the people that govern us is once again highlighted amid the continued silence of the European institutions on issues such as deportation and the forced return of migrants, both typical methods of the border police in Melilla.

“Evidence gathered by journalists and NGOs – like this latest video testimony – should be used to harshly punish the Mariano Rajoy government.”

Spanish GUE/NGL MEP Pablo Echenique-Robba said: “Having seen with horror and indignation the images showing the unacceptable actions of the Spanish security forces at the Melilla fence, it is hard to articulate a rational and calm discourse.

“I am ashamed to live in a country whose government instructs public servants to strike brutally – sometimes even shoot – helpless people who come fleeing misery and hunger, all the while reducing development aid and perpetuating unfair trade policies when it comes to the countries of the global South.

“We will only live in a just society when security forces act to arrest and imprison the political and economic oligopoly from which these orders emanate; a political caste that is the real cause of the main problems in Spain and in the world”.

Basque GUE/NGL MEP Josu Juaristi said: “The immigration policy of EU member states has proven itself to be complicit in the deaths of asylum seekers. Police repression must stop now. At the same time the EU must react immediately and condemn these practices.”

President Gabi Zimmer concluded: “Current commitments to take a tougher stance on smugglers, increase cooperation with third countries and raise budgets for border surveillance, including FRONTEX, will only lead to more deaths in the Mediterranean and at land borders as women, men and children will not stop seeking protection in Europe. We urgently need a humane asylum policy now.”

* The video was published by the NGO Prodein. For many years, this NGO has been documenting the common practice of the Spanish Guardia Civil to force migrants who have crossed the border to go back, handing them over to Moroccan authorities without respecting procedures established by European and international law. All the migrants who reach Spanish territory have the right to access a procedure that guarantees them the right to seek asylum, access to a lawyer, an interpreter and appeal to a judge to contest any deportation order.

GUE/NGL Press Contacts:
Emily Macintosh +32 470 85 05 08
Gay Kavanagh +32 473 84 23 20
European United Left / Nordic Green Left
European Parliamentary Group

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