These organizations, including Amnesty International and Doctors Without Borders, have indicated, after carrying out several monitoring missions between 2019 and 2022, that these measures “generate massive violations of migrants’ rights.”
In a report on Wednesday, non-governmental organizations accused France of committing “gross violations” of the rights of migrants at its borders with Spain, with the implementation of “discriminatory” checks and “repatriation” of asylum seekers, noting that it applies the “same recipe” as on the Italian border.
The organizations gathered within the framework of the “Coordination of Procedures at the Internal Borders” project (Kafi) stated in a report published on Wednesday that Paris had “strengthened” since 2019 the control operations on the French-Spanish border that extends over a length of 632 kilometers, and implemented them in a “discriminatory” and “according to facial features” method. After re-imposing these measures since 2015.
These organizations, including Amnesty International and Doctors Without Borders, have indicated, after carrying out several monitoring missions between 2019 and 2022, that these measures “generate massive violations of migrants’ rights”.
The authors of the report emphasized that these processes “discriminately affect people who are subjected to racial profiling” and “lead to the forcible return of many people without respecting their fundamental rights, in violation of domestic, European and international laws, such as the Geneva Convention relating to the Status of Refugees” that allows anyone to seek asylum. on the border.
Lady Arbogast, head of European issues at La Cimade, told AFP that France applies the same recipe on its borders with Spain as on the Italian border, with rapid forcible returns that do not take into account individual situations, and measures that sometimes take place on the lid of a box. A police car in three minutes.
And she considered that “instead of studying the situation, especially with regard to minors and asylum seekers, it is rather ‘returning immigrants at the border’.”
The Ministry of the Interior, in response to AFP’s request, did not reveal the number of people who were “handed over” to Spain, according to the approved administrative expression.
Arbogast added that these controls, which are now in place at 37 “allowed crossing points” from train stations, highway toll gates and other locations, have prompted “migrants to take more risks and take increasingly dangerous routes to bypass.”
The organizations reported that “this is increasingly leading to serious accidents” on mountain paths, highways, along railway lines or even when swimming across the Bidasoa River separating the two countries.
In their report, the organizations stated that “at least 12 people died on these borders” between January 1, 2021 and December 31, 2022.
Therefore, the organizations call for “protecting the physical integrity” of migrants at these borders, respecting the right to asylum, or even “an end to discriminatory monitoring measures.”
Aside from these tragic incidents, the organizations point to the daily harassment that people living in the surrounding areas face as a result of being “subjected to racial profiling”.
Among the testimonies on this last point, the National Association for the Assistance of Foreigners at the Border mentioned such as a young man whom I knew by the pseudonym “Jean”, living on the French side of the border under legal documents.
It quoted the young man, who takes the bus every morning to go to his institute in the French Basque Country, that his identity is checked “regularly” and he was taken several times to the border guard station, where he is “released” at times and “deported to Spain” at other times, which makes him “delayed in Mostly about his work.