About the death of immigrants in Ceuta

About the death of immigrants in Ceuta

Statement about the death of immigrants in Ceuta

Last 6th of February, the death of at least fifteen immigrants that were trying to reach Spanish territory across the border of Ceuta became a human tragedy of prime importance that causes a deep sadness and pain in us.


Moreover, the circumstances surrounding these deaths raise serious questions about the action of the Spanish security forces. Therefore, we believe that an independent and thorough investigation about this incident must take place in order to find out and demand accountability, as well as an in-depth revision of the strategy adopted by the police to try to prevent the repetition of a tragedy like the one we are living.


Unfortunately, the events in which people die trying to reach Europe are becoming far too frequent. A few months ago we regretted too the deaths of immigrants in the coasts of the Italian island of Lampedusa through our statement last 1st of November.

It is true that these events cast doubt against the commitment affirmed repeatedly by the European Union (EU) about that its policies of asylum, flow management and border control respect human rights. The rigid European borders, for which resources and surveillance are not skimped, not only prevent irregular entry but also make that the decision of emigrating to be a dangerous plan that threatens lives and feeds the mafias, contributing, thus, to the creation of a criminalizing vision of irregular immigrants that it is often used to encourage racism and xenophobia within the EU.


In these times in which the European Commission is revising the design of what will be the most important terms of its future migration policy, we must reiterate that the recommendations pointed out by the United Nations Reporter on the Human Rights of Immigrants should be taken into account, as well as those of the many organizations of the civil society such as the group of Christian Organizations (COMECE, CCME, Caritas Europe, ICMC, Eurodiaconia, JRS-Europe, QCEA) or PICUM (Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants in Europe).

In this sense:

  • It is requested that a more realistic context of the management of flows policies is adopted, admitting neglected needs in the labor markets and promoting the opening of more realistic and efficient channels in order to benefit regular immigration with fully respected rights in a context of full transparency.
  • There is a need to stop restricting the right to family reunification through the application of the directive on family reunification in its broadest sense.
  • It is necessary to avoid that EU externalizes the surveillance of its borders or the protection of the most vulnerable groups, preventing them not to be assigned to countries of dubious reputation regarding the protection of human rights.  
  • The EU must take extreme care with transparency and the guarantees in the asylum and return procedures.

The application of all these measures could drastically reduce the number of people dying when they try to reach the EU.

The building of an EU that pretends to be a model regarding human rights (see Preamble of the Treaty of the EU) implies the revision and the elimination of those policies, initiatives and instruments that when being applied, they infringe human rights.


Lastly, as we expressed in our statement about Lampedusa, we ask again for a greater and deeper commitment of the European countries in favor of humanitarian assistance and development cooperation in Africa and the Middle East, a cooperation that enhances peace and democracy, dealing with the causes that generate migration.

In line with pope Francis, who warned about the danger of globalizing indifference, and in line with the Spanish bishops that, in the World Day of Migrants and Refugees aimed that “asylum and assistance must not be denied to immigrants in endangering life situations”; we reiterate the need to recover the sense of fraternal responsibility between individuals and peoples. A fraternity able to eliminate the structures of injustice and selfishness that generate unbearable shortages and inequalities and that are the origin of the uncontrollable mass migration towards Europe.

Download statement: Statement about Ceuta.pdf

Spanish General Commission for Justice and Peace

Madrid, 19th February 2014