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Caminando Fronteras
Human Rights Organisation
The Guardian - Article

In order to sustain current border policies, allegations of facilitating migration and collusion with smuggling networks have become the new weapon on both shores of the Mediterranean to discredit those who challenge restrictive migration policies (...). Discouraging activists bolsters the view that some lives are worth less than others, and that the fact that migrants might perish during the crossing should be simply accepted as part of the game. Commenting on her own case, Maleno raised the concern that should worry everybody. “The most painful thing,” she said. “Is the normalisation of the loss of the right to life.”

Caminando Fronteras is a non-governmental human rights organisation that has been focusing on the protection of migrants’ rights for the last 16 years. The organisation offers a lifeline to migrants who are risking their lives to reach Europe, crossing by sea the Moroccan-Spanish border on overcrowded and unsafe boats. On receiving calls from at-risk migrants, the organisation alerts the maritime authorities of Spain, Morocco and Algeria. Caminando Fronteras also provides legal, social and healthcare support to migrants and documents human rights abuses from both sides of the borders.

Caminando Fronteras - context pic

The conditions of HRDs working on issues related to migrants and refugees have become more challenging in recent years. In 2015, the Spanish government granted border guards the authority to execute summary expulsions of migrants from Ceuta and Melilla to Morocco. This allowed the authorities to return around 100 migrants to Morocco after they crossed the border of the Spanish Ceuta without verification whether they were eligible for asylum. The law was not amended despite a decision of the European Court of Human Rights condemning this practice.


Interview with Helena Maleno