Monday, September 20

The Prosecutor’s Office asks the Interior for the order for the return of minors in Ceuta and to clarify how it is guaranteeing their rights

The Prosecutor’s Office is already officially investigating the operation launched by the Minister of the Interior, Fernando Grande Marlaska, to return to Morocco dozens of children and adolescents who have been in Ceuta for months since last May, when there was a massive departure tolerated by the authorities of the Alawite kingdom. As has been able to verify, the Prosecutor for the Juvenile Hall, Eduardo Esteban, has sent a letter to the Ministry of the Interior in which he requests information on the order given by Marlaska, under an agreement with Morocco, to return children and adolescents in groups without the endorsement of the Prosecutor’s Office, which is required by the Immigration Law. In that communication, the prosecutor of the Supreme Court addresses the Secretary of State for Security chaired by Rafael Pérez Ruiz to report on the order given by the minister to the Government Delegation to proceed with the return of the minors and also send the agreed procedure to carry out the transfer of children and adolescents.

In the official letter sent to the ministry, the prosecutor for minors is interested in the “measures adopted to guarantee the respect of minors, indicating whether an individual file has been initiated regarding each minor, whether this has been heard in it, and each file has been communicated to the prosecutor and any other matter that it deems appropriate to communicate “. The request for this information is the definitive proof that the operation designed by Marlaska was carried out without the mandatory endorsement of the Prosecutor’s Office required by law.

Article 35 of the Organic Law on Rights and Freedoms of Foreigners in Spain and their social integration says verbatim in point number 5: “The State Administration will request a report on the minor’s family circumstances from the diplomatic representation of the country of origin with character prior to the decision regarding the initiation of a procedure on their repatriation. The initiation of the procedure has been agreed, after having heard the minor if he has sufficient judgment, and after a report from the services for the protection of minors and the Public Prosecutor’s Office, the Administration of the The State will decide what is appropriate regarding the return to their country of origin, to the one where their family members are or, failing that, regarding their permanence in Spain.In accordance with the principle of the best interests of the minor, repatriation to the country of origin It will be carried out either by family reunification or by making the minor available to the minor protection services it is, if the appropriate conditions were given for their guardianship by them “.

Both the NGOs that work with these vulnerable groups and the Ombudsman have taken for granted that the device started this Friday and that it has continued this Saturday has skipped all these procedures and is only supported by the agreement signed with the Moroccan authorities. Aministía Internacional and Save the Children have requested the stoppage of returns, but this Saturday, as was able to verify, there have been new transfers: another 15 minors in vans.

National Police agents have accessed first thing in the morning from the Santa Amelia sports center to the Tarajal border to proceed with their repatriation to Morocco

The Ministry of the Interior thus maintains the roadmap of the program agreed with the Moroccan authorities to return to their country over ten days at least 150 young people, which includes the first list drawn up with unknown criteria and to which they have had access

Some of the warnings to Marlaska come from within the Cabinet. By letter, his colleague, Ione Belarra, responsible for Social Rights and the 2030 Agenda, reminded him that Interior is solely responsible for these decisions that can have very serious consequences.

The operation claims to be based on the Agreement signed in March 2007 in Rabat “on cooperation in the field of preventing the illegal emigration of unaccompanied minors, their protection and their concerted return,” a pact that Morocco has never agreed to apply from Ceuta and Melilla, territories that it considers its own.

Local Executive sources have extracted in statements to two very “positive” “political” readings of what happened in recent days. First, that the Alawite Kingdom “treats Ceuta for the first time like any other part of Spanish territory.” Second, that “high-level contacts” have even been established with the participation of local authorities in relation to the neighboring country.

The problem is that the operation was conceived outside of the Prosecutor’s Office and the City’s Child Protection Service, in charge of and responsible for migrant minors alone while they are in Spanish territory. Both entities must, according to the Regulations of the Immigration Law, issue individual reports on each repatriable minor, even with the appointment of a judicial defender, before the government authority decides on their return or stay in Spain.

The Ceuta Prosecutor’s Office initiated proceedings for the protection of minors last Wednesday after learning of the holding of a “high-level” meeting on the Tarajal border between representatives of the Government Delegation, the local Executive and the Moroccan authorities to specify the conditions in which would produce the return of minors alone to their country appealing to the 2007 agreement that Rabat had never accepted to apply in the autonomous cities, whose Spanishness it denies.

According to those familiar with the steps taken, the Autonomous City has assured the Public Ministry that it was only an “informal meeting” and a “contact.” The Delegation has not even answered despite the fact that its owner, Salvadora Mateos, had already assured on Monday that “in days” he would see evidence that bilateral relations are “very good” again.

The Progressive Union of Prosecutors has joined this Saturday to the objections that the Ombudsman has already exposed to the conditions in which the return of young people is being carried out, which must undergo “a specific and individualized procedure” always giving priority to the best interests of the minor “. “They are girls and boys, many of them in grave danger, and our legal and moral obligation is to protect them,” he warned in a statement.