The Barcelona CIE is closing. It’s up to citizens to make sure it never opens again

Translation of 23 October press release by Tanquem Els CIEs

The Immigrant Detention Centre (CIE) in Zona Franca, Barcelona, will close on 30 October for renovation. The uncertainty regarding what will happen next gives us a unique chance to make sure that it never opens again.’ve spent years denouncing human rights abuses, uncovering the hidden reality of the CIE and taking torture cases to court. The CIE has cut short the lives of Mohammed, Idrissa and Alik. Thousands of people have demonstrated at the gates of the CIE, calling for the closure of these shameful centres. We’ve made dozens of complaints to legal authorities, demanding changes to the undignified living conditions within. The Catalan Parliament has made a historic declaration in favour of its closure. Now, on 30 October, the Barcelona CIE will close for renovation, according to the Interior Ministry.

At Tanquem els CIE (Let’s Close the CIE) we celebrate the news of the closure, in the understanding that it should be framed in the context of a process in which the majority of citizens want the Barcelona CIE, and all other CIEs, to disappear from our society and for them to be relegated to a bad memory in our history.

Fruit of the popular mandate rejecting the CIEs, in June the Catalan Parliament approved a motion to call on the Spanish Government to close the centre. All Catalan parties, with the exception of the PP and Ciudadanos, voted in favour of the motion, which said:

· “The Catalan Parliament calls on the Catalan Government to demand that the Spanish Government: a) Starts, as soon as possible, a process to gradually close all immigrant detention centres (CIE), given that the European Directive (Directive 2008/115/CE of the European Parliament and the Council of Europe of 16 December, relating to common rules and procedures for Member States in returning illegally staying nationals of third countries) does not demand the existence of such centres.

During the period of its closure, whether temporary or permanent, no-one will have their liberty denied due to their administrative situation in Catalonia. Without a doubt, this is great news for human rights, but it is not enough. The Interior Ministry is deporting people who are not detained in the CIEs, taking advantage of 72 hour detentions without legal assistance or a court approving the deportation orders, which can be up to four or five years old. We want the CIE to stay closed, but we also want to stop deportations being carried out without any kind of legal guarantees.

The closure of the CIE could involve the transfer of people undergoing deportation processes to other CIEs in Spain which remain open and where conditions are just as bad. As well as a deprivation of liberty, this distance from their social and family ties will make their situation even worse. For this reason, we demand the closure of all CIEs in Spain.

From today, we’ll work to make sure that the Barcelona CIE stays shut so that no-one in our city is deprived of their freedom because of where they’re from. We want to warn of the possible reopening of the CIE, which the interior ministry plans for February 2016, under the new Spanish Government. The new government, formed after the elections on 20 December, will be responsible for respecting the popular mandate for the permanent closure of all immigrant detention centres.

At Tanquem els CIE we invite all of the local associations, and men and women of Barcelona and the rest of Catalonia to come together for a demonstration on 30 October at 18h at the gates of the CIE in Zona Franca. The Barcelona CIE is closing. It’s up to all of us that it never opens again.