Human smugglers throw migrants overboard off a Spanish beach: four drowned

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SAN FERNANDO – Human smugglers have thrown migrants from  a boat just off the coast of Spain. According to rescue organisations, most could not swim. Sadly, four people drowned.

The shocking incident occurred on the beach of Camposoto in the municipality of San Fernando (Cádiz). A total of 27 people were on board the boat as it approached the beach. Moreover, 23 of them were saved. Three of these migrants had to be transferred to the hospital in Puerto Real due to hypothermia. One of them has now been released. However, for four others, help came too late.

The boat quickly flees away

Images distributed by Spanish media including broadcaster Cadena Ser and RTVE (see this page) show how those left behind turn the boat and quickly flee. The migrants screaming for help were left behind. Surrounded by pleasure yachts off the tourist coast of Chiclana and Sancti Petri, they desperately try to keep their heads above water. The fleeing boat continued its journey to Sancti Petri, in Chiclana, where eight more North African male migrants were dropped off. It was a boat of the ‘narcolanchas’ type, normally used for drug smuggling.

Rescue operation

Fortunately, for the survivurs, there were rescue organisations nearby. Several units took part in the operation: the Spanish Coast Guard Salvamento Marítimo with a boat and helicopter, officers of the National Police, the Guardia Civil (both on land and with the Maritime Service by boat), and members of the Red Cross, who provided the migrants received.

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Survivors to temporary shelter

A total of 35 migrants arrived by boat. In addition to the four deceased, two are still in hospital. 29 others were first cared for by the Red Cross and then transferred by the National Police to the Crinavis Temporary Reception Centre (CATE) in the town of San Roque.

Violations of migrant rights

The drowned migrants from this incident have become victims of human smugglers. Asylum seekers who survive their journey often become victims of violations of their human rights by the countries of arrival.

A report was recently published on the migration crisis in Spain. Investigating organisations concluded that there have been numerous violations of the rights of migrants who entered Spain via irregular routes in the past two years. Although everyone who reaches Spanish territory has the right to apply for asylum, this is often not realised in practice. Moreover, hundreds of people die at sea every year during their journey to Spain. Finally, migrants are regularly confronted with violent repression, such as direct deportations or detention in temporary accommodation centres. Rights violations and poor living conditions have also been found in these centres.

Also read: Record number of migrants reach Canary Islands

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