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21 April, 2024
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Man files UN complaint against Spain over border tragedy

UN committee urges Spain to reopen investigation into border deaths


A 25-year-old individual from Cameroon, who identified himself under the pseudonym Ludovic, has lodged a complaint with the United Nations against Spain, alleging multiple violations of the convention against torture.

As reported by The Guardian, the complaint stems from an incident in 2014, where at least 15 people lost their lives while attempting to enter Spanish territory from Morocco.

Ludovic expressed frustration over the lack of accountability, noting that despite three judicial investigations initiated into the events, none yielded hearings from survivors or victims' families. He emphasized feeling dehumanized both during the incident and subsequent legal proceedings.

Recounting the events, Ludovic, who was 15 at the time, described attempting to cross into the Spanish enclave of Ceuta from Morocco with approximately 200 others. Despite being unable to swim, he persisted, gripping onto a breakwater amid gunfire and teargas deployed by Spanish authorities. He recalled sustaining injuries, including being struck by a baton.

Spanish authorities acknowledged firing rubber bullets but denied targeting individuals directly. Ludovic's testimony underscores the absence of medical aid, translation, or legal support upon reaching Spanish soil, where he was ultimately pushed back to Morocco.

Subsequent legal actions, including investigations into the Guardia Civil officers' conduct, yielded minimal progress. Ludovic's pursuit of justice led him to settle in Germany, where he sought to testify but faced setbacks and eventual case closure without convictions.

Supported by the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR), Ludovic's UN complaint urges Spain to reopen the investigation, citing ill-treatment, expulsion, and authorities' failure to probe his case adequately.

Hanaa Hakiki of ECCHR condemned Europe's border policies, labeling the Tarajal deaths emblematic of systemic disregard for Black lives. Sani Ladan from Asociación Elin highlighted the impunity surrounding the 2014 incident as a precursor to subsequent tragedies, including the Melilla massacre in 2022.

Meanwhile, Spain's ombudsman, Ángel Gabilondo, raised concerns over the conditions faced by approximately 400 asylum seekers at Madrid airport. He criticized overcrowded and unsanitary facilities, citing inadequate access to hygiene essentials and substandard living conditions.

The plight of Ludovic and others underscores persistent challenges within European border management and asylum procedures, prompting calls for accountability and improved humanitarian standards.

[With information sourced from The Guardian]

Cyprus  |  UN  |  complaint  |  Spain  |  Morocco  |  government

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