Spain is now planning a new law that gives the police the right to immediately return asylum seekers who arrives to the two Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla. If the new law is implemented it can put an effective damper on parts of the asylum-stream currently passing through Spain.
Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Nils Muiznieks, is furious over the proposal, arguing that Spain risks destroying the entire asylum system if the law is adopted.
Spain, meanwhile, claims that the measures are necessary to help the border guards to secure the borders of Ceuta and Melilla, two Spanish cities that are bordered with tall fences against Morocco.
Police in these cities has been accused of violating international laws, by beating up African asylum seekers who climb over the fences and deporting them on the spot, without getting asylum, a so-called "pushback".
Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Nils Muiznieks, said after a meeting with the authorities in Melilla and Madrid that the plans to legalize this type of deportation was "a clear violation of human rights law."
"I have seen pushbacks in many countries, but none of the places it is legal," he said at a press conference in Madrid.
"It will give very bad precedent if such a practice was enshrined in legislation, because I think it will mean the beginning of the end for the asylum system."
Spain opens new international offices to process asylum applications in Ceuta and Melilla. Muiznieks believes it is urgent to invest more in such facilities and expand the overcrowded migration centers.
He claimes that currently it is only migrants who come through the regular border crossings, mainly Syrians, who apply for asylum in Spain.
Hardly any of the migrants who come from countries south of the Sahara and climbing over fences are seeking asylum, he said. In some cases, because they are being deported on the spot.
In connection with the terrorist attacks in Paris, Muiznieks also insisted that there "is no direct link between migration and terrorism."
"We saw in Paris that the terrorists were French nationals," he stated. He added that security measures which may seem oppressive, can do more harm than good.
"It is important to remember, and to continue to remind Spain and other countries about their human rights obligations in connection with counter-terrorism," he stated.
The article photo, which went viral in international newspapers last fall, shows asylum seekers who illegally climb the border fence to Spanish Melilla.
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