Jorrit Rijpma in Bureau Buitenland on storming of Melilla
Last Friday, more than a dozen people died during the storming of Spain’s North African enclave of Melilla. A dramatic incident, but certainly not the first time that refugees and migrants have used force to try to enter Melilla.
Jorrit Rijpma, Professor of European Law, spoke about the situation in Dutch radio broadcast Bureau Buitenland.
Are refugees who reach Melilla during such a storming operation able to claim asylum in Europe? ‘Melilla is a small piece of Spain in Morocco that is actually part of Schengen. So European human rights and the European asylum policy apply there. On paper, that means if you report there at the border, you will start the procedure. Pending that procedure, you may remain on the territory.’
But things are different in practice, says Rijpma. 'The Moroccan and Spanish security services and border guards work closely together. They prevent people from reaching the official border posts. Even during such a mass attempt and contrary to Spanish and European rules, many refugees end up being pushed back into Morocco. That’s against the rules.’