Politics over Humanity:
a repeated violation of Human Rights
On 17 May 2021, news spread that more than 8,000 people – including women and children – entered Ceuta, in the northern of Morocco, after swimming or climbing over the border fence that separates the Spanish territory from Morocco. Spain, which is one of the countries in the European Union that least recognizes asylum applications, urged to deploy soldiers and police officers to patrol the border, where they fired tear gas, and to escort swimmers back to Morocco, where most of them face violence and other abuse at the hands of Moroccan security forces.
Pursuant to the influx of Humans into Spain’s boarder and territory, politicians and important representants expressed their opinions justifying the latest events as a political game being played by Morocco by loosening its boarders to pressure Spain to alter its policy toward Western Sahara, which independence is being disputed between the parties.
European Commission Vice President Margaritis Schinas called for a “strong protection of our borders”. Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez promised to “restore order”, informing the Parliament that about 4,800 migrants and refugees had already been sent back to Morocco, without asylum status.
What about the strong protection of the Men, Women, Teenagers, Children, Babies and Families that run, willing to risk their lives, from the suffering that their “home” puts them through? What about the promise to restore Basic Human Dignity as provided by multiple Universal, European and national Instruments such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (herein by “Declaration”).
Article 3 of the Declaration provides that Everyone has the right to life, liberty and the security of person. Under Article 13 (2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country. Article 14, as well as Article 18 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, demands that Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum.
The main problem and the argument used by Spain is that a person is not actually in Spain until he gets past a police officer, giving it a huge margin of maneuver to escape its moral and legal obligations.
According to the Associated Press news agency, Spanish police ushered back to Morocco unaccompanied teenagers who appeared to be below 18, albeit under International and Spanish national law, unaccompanied children must be taken into care by the country’s authorities.
Unfortunately, it is not surprising that Spain has allegedly violated International, European and National Law. In October 2020, the Committee of the United Nations found, in 14 decisions, that Spain violated the Convention on the Rights of the Child, in particular, the right to identity, the right to be heard, and the right to special protection of children deprived of their family environment. In all of the 14 cases received by the Committee, Spain failed to conduct a proper age assessment.
Is politics more important, or more demanding, than the respect for the Declaration, United Nation conventions and even national Law? Is treating people as a means to the political end game a moral permissible behavior by world leaders?
Immanuel Kant defended that Human beings should be treated as an end in themselves and not as a means to something else. The fact that we are human has value in itself. I choose to agree it is morally impermissible. It is to act wrongly. I choose to repudiate treating another merely as a means.
Shouldn’t world leaders?