Ceuta and Melilla are Europe's Shut Doors on Africa (vom 24.10.2005),
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[24. Oct 2005]

Ceuta and Melilla are Europe's Shut Doors on Africa

And beyond a high double trench, FORTRESS EUROPE sits and watches the ongoing tragedy of the "human avalanche".

Moroccan and Spanish authorities' repression against people attempting to enter the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta (74.00 inhabitants) and Melilla (68.000) has killed migrants in the name of protecting European borders. A three-meters high trench separates Africa from the vanguard of Spain: Ceuta and Melilla. Thousands of migrants have attempted crossing the barriers, which prevent entrance into Spain. The majority got in, but some paid for that with their own lives. On Thursday September 29th 2005, along the double trench protecting Ceuta from the Moroccan surroundings, FIVE MIGRANTS DIED. Another violent encounter occurred Monday October 3rd 2005, between immigrants and Spanish border patrols. Some 350 of them succeeded in crossing the barrier, leaving 135 persons wounded. A total of 14 DEATHS have been documented since violence broke out.

The humanitarian organisation MSF has completed a report, in which it blames Moroccan police and Spanish border guards for the violent suppression against migrants. "These people are trapped within an unjust and unheard-of circle of violence from both sides, the Moroccan and the Spanish side. They can't defense themselves in any way", says one of MSF volunteers in Morocco. The report shows no indulgence towards the EU reaction to the tragic events.

European politicians are these days reacting in many ways. Their main intention, though, remains the development of a common strategy to counter "illegal" immigration, and a common legislature towards a policy of exclusion. Morocco has been assigned, but has not yet received, EUR 40 million from its Euro-Mediterranean partnership program to increase surveillance of its southern borders. It is also possible that Spain could benefit from a contribution from the plan for a Solidarity Fund for the joint borders of the Member Sates. Morocco has already made an agreement with Spain on the repatriation of illegal Moroccan immigrants in Spain. The European Association for Human Rights says the Ceuta tragedy shows that Europe's migration policy based on repressive measures to guarantee security is at a dead end. It calls for an urgent debate on a European migratory policy respectful of rights, physical integrity and people's dignity.

The names of those who died in this attempt of entering Europe will be added to the UNITED "FATAL REALITIES OF FORTRESS EUROPE" list of deaths, containing now over 6300 documented death cases.

Since 1993 UNITED has monitored the deadly results of the building of a 'Fortress Europe': border militarisation, unjust asylum laws, detention policies, deportations and carrier sanctions. They are all linked to the carrying out of decision taken on highest political level: the Schengen treaty, the Dublin Convention and EU border control programs.

UNITED collects data on where and under which circumstances the refugees die. The "FATAL REALITIES OF FORTRESS EUROPE" list of deaths is constantly being updated and, being a strong testimony of the ongoing tragedy occurring at Europe's borders, can be used to raise awareness, to campaign, to lobby.
See - under campaigns/ refugee campaigns