The Ministry of Interior did not give any possibility to disembark the migrants in the Canary Islands, even less to allow them to apply as refugees. The conditions on the boat became critical for both the crew members and those rescued.
A Spanish Civil Guard ship has turned back 168 Senegalese migrants, without giving them the opportunity to receive asylum. Several NGOs have called this a violation of international law.
Before this fact, the same organizations that accuse the Spanish government, had asked the crew and authorities of the Rio Tajo vessel, not to disembark the group of Senegalese outside the Spanish borders and less in their own country of origin.
The political instability in Senegal is well known, so these migrants could have been categorized as refugees. CEAR stated that this return has violated the European Convention on Human Rights.
According to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), these rescued people would have the right to be advised and informed of the situation in which they were, so that they can request and activate the protocols established for people fleeing war zones, catastrophes or famine situations.
Stranded migrants aboard a Spanish patrol boat find their journey taking them back to Senegal. A complex narrative of migration and international cooperation unfolds. Stay tuned for more insights. #MigrationStories #ReturnToSenegalhttps://t.co/Sr9WYmsdbe— The Workers Rights (@theworkersright) August 29, 2023
This group of Senegalese were rescued from the sea, when they were adrift in a precarious boat and overloaded with passengers. The rescue was carried out near the coast of Mauritania. All kinds of negotiations lasted for four days to determine where to disembark the rescued people. The Ministry of the Interior of Spain made arrangements so that the migrants could be left on land, as quickly as possible.
Mauritania refused to accept the migrants, and at that time many media, humanitarian organizations and international public opinion were calling for them to be taken to the Canary Islands.
In short, the 168 Senegalese rescued last Thursday were disembarked in their own country of origin, from where they had precisely left putting their lives at risk, and looking for a better future.
Mauritania refused to grant asylum to the Senegalese, declaring that the Spanish vessel was not carrying a competent authority to carry out this type of operation. However, it must be taken into account that from the moment a rescue is carried out at sea, the crew members of such vessel must be recognized as valid legal persons for any operation associated with this rescue.
The vessel was at sea for several days, while negotiations took place, which in the end led to the worst possible outcome, according to a considerable part of the public opinion involved in the issue.
The Ministry of Interior did not give any possibility to disembark the migrants in the Canary Islands, even less to allow them to apply as refugees. The conditions on the boat became critical for both the crew members and those rescued. There were even “distressing conditions”, as Pedro Carmona, national spokesman of the Unified Association of Civil Guards, said at the time.
Today, several European organizations and political personalities have denounced the action of the Spanish Civil Guard as a regrettable fact.