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Urgent Interventions

Spain: Ceuta: street children at risk of expulsion

Case ESP 021100.1.CC
Follow Up to Case ESP 021100

The International Secretariat of OMCT requests your urgent intervention to the following situation of the autonomous community of Ceuta in Spain.

New information

The International Secretariat of OMCT was informed by reliable sources of declarations allegedly released by Mr Mohamed Chaib, new Counsellor of Social Welfare (Consejero de Bienestar Social) in Ceuta, subsequently backed by the Government Delegate, Mr L.V. Moro, on the situation of foreign children being attended to by the autonomous community of Ceuta.

According to the information received, on 23 February 2001, Mr Mohamed Chaib declared to a local newspaper (El Faro de Ceuta) that he intends to close down the San Antonio Centre and repatriate the children and hand them over to their families or to centres supposedly run by NGOs in Morocco. He also allegedly declared that the foreign children who are homeless in Ceuta “are not willing to integrate and are thievish”.

Subsequently, Mr Moro, Delegate of the Government in Ceuta, allegedly declared to the press that he supports the counsellor and that “a new shared philosophy is born”.

The International Secretariat of OMCT expresses its disapproval on the above-mentioned declarations and considers them contrary to the Spanish legislation, especially that which protects children. They are also contrary to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which sets in article 2 that: “States Parties shall respect and ensure the rights set forth in the present Convention to each child within their jurisdiction without discrimination of any kind, irrespective of the child's (…) race, colour, (…) national, ethnic or social origin,(or) property (…)”.

The International Secretariat of OMCT expresses its grave concern about the situation, and particularly about the physical and psychological safety and integrity of all street children and calls on the Spanish Government to protect the street children in Ceuta as any other Spanish child, without any discrimination on the ground of national origin, race or social status, in accordance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Brief remainder of the situation

The International Secretariat of OMCT was informed by reliable sources of the arrest, detention and in some cases, the alleged torture and ill-treatment of several street children of Moroccan origin, in Ceuta.

The information reported that in Ceuta street children are often picked-up in police wagons in the city centre. They are allegedly harassed in detention and some of them ill-treated not only by police officers but also by the educators who run the centres of VIAS (Islamic Volunteers of Social Action), an institution of social workers allegedly with a fundamentalist character.

Denunciations exist confirming the arrest and illegal expulsion of minors. For example on 5 October 1998, a group of police officers of the city of Ceuta, acknowledged that minors were expelled from the national territory for the reason that they did not have the assistance of an interpreter and therefore no judicial assistance.

Action requested:

Please write to the authorities in Spain urging them to:

i. guarantee the safety, the physical and psychological integrity of all street children in Ceuta;
ii. take all necessary measures to protect, educate, rehabilitate and reintegrate street children and to impede their criminalisation and repatriation;
iii. put an immediate end to the persecution and harassment of all street children, and especially those of Moroccan origin;
iv. guarantee the respect of human rights and the fundamental freedoms throughout the country in accordance with national laws and international human rights standards and in particularly the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention against Torture.


Presidencia del Gobierno, S.E. D. José María Aznar Lopez, Complejo de la Moncloa - 28071 Madrid. Portavoz del Gobierno, Dr. Pio Cabanillas; Fax: (+ 34) 91 321 40 30

Director del Gabinete de la Presidencia, D. Carlos Aragones Mendiguchia, Complejo de la Moncloa - Madrid Fax : (+ 34).91.390.0356

Ministro del Interior – Dr. Mariano Rajoy, Paseo de la Castellana, 5 - 28071 Madrid Fax : (+ 34) 91.522.1538. (+ 34).91.522.5865

Defensor del Pueblo - Fernando Alvarez de Miranda y Torres Eduardo, 31 - 28071 Madrid Fax : (+ 34) 91.308.1158

Consejo General del Poder Judicial - Presidente Francisco Javier Delgado Barrio Marques de la Ensenada, 8 - 28071 Madrid Fax : (+ 34).91.310.0306

Fiscal General del Estado - Jesús Cardenal Fortuny, 4 - 28071 Madrid,
Fax : (+ 34).91.319.3317

Ministro de Asuntos Exteriores - Juan Abel Matutes Plaza de la Provincia, 1 - 28071 Madrid España Fax (+ 34).91.366.3856

Ministro de Justicia, Dr. Angel Acebes Paniagua, Fax.: (+ 34)9 1 390 22 68

Tribunal Tutelar de Menores de Ceuta; Fax: (+ 34) 95 651 36 34

Diplomatic Representations of Spain in your respective countries

Geneva, 07 March 2001

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.
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