SPAIN has been refused permission to deport 30 Saharaui asylum-seekers by the European Court of Human Rights.
The court ruled that Spanish authorities failed to properly hear the refugees’ claims.
The immigrants arrived on the coast of Spain’s Canary Islands in 2011, in makeshift boats, and lodged an appeal for international protection.
They fled after Moroccan authorities forcibly dismantled their refugee camp Gdeim Izik in Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony annexed by Morocco in 1975.
After the Spanish Minister of the Interior rejected their application for asylum and ordered their deportation, they appealed the decision at the ECHR.
The migrants claimed that they had been persecuted by the Moroccan authorities for their Saharaui origin, and would feel threatened if they were forced to return.
They alleged that they had been physically assaulted by police officers, and some family members had suffered sexual abuse and torture.
It was unanimously ruled that there had been violations of Articles 13, 2 and 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights – the right to an effective remedy, the right to life, and the right to prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment, respectively.
Spain has been ordered by the court to ‘ensure that the applicants remained within its territory while their cases were being examined, pending a final decision by the domestic authorities on their applications for international protection’.