Oxfam reaction to the violence against migrants crossing into Spanish enclave

Published: 20th May 2021

In reaction to the violence against migrants crossing into the Spanish enclave, Ceuta, Oxfam migration expert, Eva Garzon Hernandez said:  

“Oxfam is deeply concerned about the treatment of people crossing into the Spanish enclave of Ceuta. The use of violence against migrants, including against children, and the rapid expulsion of more than half of those arriving defies international law and European values.   

“The situation in Ceuta shows that dodgy European migration deals, like the one between Spain and Morocco or Italy and Libya, do not work. EU and European leaders must focus on protecting people, rather than letting them be used as political pawns in diplomatic disputes. Europe cannot continue to turn a blind eye to violence at its borders, and needs to change its approach. We need safe and secure migration paths and real responsibility-sharing to welcome people fleeing persecution and looking for a better life in Europe.” 


Notes to editors

  • By Tuesday night, 18 May, over 8,000 migrants crossed from Morocco into the Spanish enclave, Ceuta. 2,000 were thought to be children.  


  • According to the Spanish Interior Minister, over 2,700 have been returned within the framework of the deal between Spain and Morocco which allows for express returns. Many human rights organisations criticised the deal for violating international law. 


  • Oxfam in Spain works with over 40 grassroot organisations on migration issues. In light of the current events, Oxfam Intermón signed an open letter to the Spanish Government calling for a Spanish and European migration policy that facilitates regular and safe routes with a rights-based approach.  


Contact information

Jade Tenwick | EU Media Officer | jade.tenwick@oxfam.org | mobile +32 473 56 22 60 

For updates, please follow @Oxfam and @OxfamEU