N.D. and N.T. v. Spain (no. 8675/15 and no. 8697/15): communicated case on refoulement of asylum applicants in Melilla

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

In the joined cases of N.D. and N.T. v. Spain the ECtHR has requested information from the Spanish government on the procedures available to asylum applicants at the border of the Spanish enclave of Melilla, in particular as to identification and registration of a request for international protection.
The applicants, a Malian and Ivorian national, had stones thrown at them by the Moroccan authorities in the 14-15 hours it took to cross the three fences at the border. They witnessed others being attacked by the Moroccan and Spanish authorities. After arriving in Spain they were immediately and summarily arrested and driven to Moroccan territory. They claim that around 75-80 sub-Saharan immigrants were taken with them from Spain to Morocco on 13 August 2014.
They alleged that they were refouled to Morocco where they risked ill-treatment contrary to Article 3 without any effective remedy, contrary to Article 13. In addition they assert that they were victims of collective expulsion contrary to Article 4 Protocol 4, and rely on Article 13 as they were unable to be identified as asylum seekers, to assert their individual circumstances and to challenge their immediate deportation to Morocco and the risk of abuse in that State before the Spanish authorities, by means of an appeal with suspensive effect.  The Court rejected the Article 3 claim as manifestly unfounded, but considered the other complaints admissible. It also communicated allegations in relation to Article 4Protocol no. 4 (collective expulsion) to the Spanish government for their response before the Court will pronounce on the matter.
The Spanish government has amended its Aliens Law since these events, to legalise the summary return of those who have irregularly crossed the border at its enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla. This has been criticised by ECRE among others. More information can be found in the op-ed by Estrella Galán, Secretary General of CEAR. 

Based on an unofficial ELENA translation. 

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Effective remedy (right to)
Right to remain pending a decision (Suspensive effect)