State of the World's Minorities 2007 - Spain
|Publisher||Minority Rights Group International|
|Publication Date||4 March 2007|
|Cite as||Minority Rights Group International, State of the World's Minorities 2007 - Spain, 4 March 2007, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48a97134b3.html [accessed 12 July 2014]|
In 2006, the Spanish government approved a new Statute of Autonomy for Catalonia, further expanding the region's autonomous powers and strengthening Catalan culture. The statute was approved by referendum in Catalonia on 18 June 2006. Due to its geographical position, Spain is a primary entry point for African migrants to Europe. In November 2006 it was reported that some 16,000 illegal immigrants from Africa had come to the Canary Isles in 2006, and Spain continued to be accused of abuse against African migrants and asylum seekers. In July 2006, three were killed when they tried to enter the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla from Morocco, allegedly as a result of Spanish and Moroccan law enforcement officers using disproportionate and lethal force to prevent them entering; in 2005 at least 13 people were similarly killed. In October 2006, Amnesty International again expressed its concern about the allegations of ill-treatment and excessive use of force by the Spanish Civil Guard, including use of firearms and heavy rubber bullets at close range, when confronting migrants and asylum seekers attempting to climb over the fences into Ceuta and Melilla. Moreover, Amnesty asserted that, when people are intercepted by Spanish Civil Guards in the area between the two border fences, they are often immediately unlawfully expelled through one of the gates in the fence closest to Moroccan territory.