Tunis/Tunisia — Families of Tunisian migrants stranded in the city of Melilla, Spain, staged a sit-in on Tuesday in front of the Spanish embassy in Tunis to demand that their children be allowed to enter the Spanish territories, denouncing the "humiliating treatment" of their children detained in the Melilla centre.
In the midst of heavy security around the embassy, families of the migrants shouted slogans calling for the release of their children and the guarantee of their right to mobility to seek new opportunities in Europe.
In a statement to TAP, "Earth for All" association chairman Imed Soltani who had called for the sit-in, said the protest movement had been staged at the request of the migrants' families to express their displeasure at the Spanish authorities' detention in Melilla of nearly 800 Tunisians for more than a year in inhuman conditions.
He stated that his association receives daily calls from those migrants, some of whom have gone on hunger strike while others have sewn their mouths shut to demand freedom of movement and humane treatment like other nationalities allowed to enter the Spanish territory.
He added that the families of the migrants detained in the city of Melilla want, through this sit-in, to draw the attention of the Spanish ambassador to Tunisia to the sufferings affecting their children criticising, at the same time, the silence of the Tunisian Foreign Ministry which has not intervened, according to him, to free these Tunisians.
The Tunisian Forum for Economic and Social Rights (FTDES) had previously called for a halt to violations of the rights of Tunisian migrants detained at the Melilla centre, urging the Spanish authorities to speed up the transfer of migrants to more respectful places pending regularisation of their situation. It also reiterated its rejection of the forced repatriation of migrants.