Africa: 168 Senegalese migrants rescued off the coast of Mauritania finally repatriated
In Senegal, the departures of clandestine canoes to the Canary Islands remain frequent. 168 Senegalese migration candidates, resued off the coast of Mauritania, are being repatriated to Senegal. They were stranded aboard a Spanish Civil Guard patrol boat since August 24th, as Mauritania refused to let them disembark on its territory.
Five days of ordeal off the Mauritanian coast… According to the Spanish Civil Guard, who picked up the migrants on their boat 150 km from the coast, Mauritania refused to allow these people to disembark on its territory. The situation on board was becoming tense, with hygiene and health issues, and some migrants had started a hunger strike.
Normally, Mauritania, located on the route to Europe, has been collaborating with Spain since 2006 and welcomes migrants intercepted by Spanish patrols. Logistic means are provided by Spain to its African partner. Senegalese authorities claim to be unaware of the reason for this refusal.
A solution has finally been found for the 168 migration candidates, heading towards the Canary Islands, to be brought back to Senegal. They have been transferred to a patrol boat of the Senegalese navy, bound for Dakar where they are expected to arrive early Wednesday morning.
On Tuesday, the Spanish Refugee Aid Commission attempted to request the halt of this return to Senegal, arguing that the migrants were still under Spanish jurisdiction and therefore may be entitled to legal assistance and international protection under certain conditions, in accordance with the European Convention on Human Rights.