Statement of solidarity following police violence at the Melilla border crossing
On 24 June, at least 37 people were killed and hundreds were injured as they tried to cross the Moroccan-Spanish border crossing of Melilla. These people were fleeing their countries to escape violence, war, hunger or the effects of climate change. Most of these people came from Sudan or other areas of the Sahel dessert – an area ravaged by war and extreme climate conditions.
The Spanish government has in the past days repeatedly justified the extreme violence used by Moroccan border agents with the cooperation of the Spanish police. Videos and images show Moroccan policemen beating, and using tear gas and other forms of violence against those trying to jump the fence or even on those already severely injured. Hundreds of people were left lying on the floor for hours, in agony or even motionless, under the supervision and inaction of the Moroccan police. This undoubtedly increased the number of deaths. Images also show ‘hot returns’ of migrants from the Spanish side of the border, and Moroccan agents acting on Spanish territory with the acquiescence of their Spanish counterparts.
Far from condemning the situation, the Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has qualified the action of the police forces on both sides of the border as “great coordination” and a “well-resolved” situation.
We strongly reject these militarised actions that torture and kill human beings. An independent investigation must urgently be conducted to clarify responsibilities. We also express our deepest condolences to the families of the deceased.
Friends of the Earth Spain wants to remind that global migration is mostly a consequence of a system that puts economic profits before people’s lives, a colonialist system that is based on perpetuating and exacerbating the gap between the North and the Global South. Thus, far from being a problem of “mafias operating on the border”, as the Spanish Prime Minister has repeatedly argued, we point out that there is a direct relationship between migration and the exploitation of natural, agricultural and mineral resources. Most of the people passing through the Melillan border come from Sudan and other countries in the Sahel, an area ravaged by war and the effects of climate change.
Social, climate and ecological debt
Social justice and environmental justice are indivisible; guaranteeing the protection of human rights must be at the core of any policy.
Migration policies at both national and European level must be governed by criteria of equality and non-discrimination. Moreover, the Global North must assume its responsibility for the social, climate and ecological debt to the peoples of the Global South.
Friends of the Earth Spain joins dozens of civil society organisations and groups calling for safe routes for migration. We are also calling for support to the Popular Legislative Initiative #RegularizaciónYa, which seeks to give status of legal residence to half a million people in Spain.
In Solidarity, En solidaridad.
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