Every child has the right to an education, regardless of their status or that of their family. A principle to which Spain does not adhere to believe the latest decision of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child. The UN institution has just condemned Spain for violating the right to education of an 8-year-old boy of Moroccan origin in Melilla. Despite confirmation of his birth and residence in the Spanish enclave, local authorities refused to enroll him in public school.
“AEA was born to a Moroccan mother in Melilla in 2013 and has lived in the Spanish enclave ever since. When he was six years old, AEA’s mother tried to send him to school, but authorities did not recognize their residence. Despite several legal proceedings, the local administrative and judicial authorities refused to allow AEA to attend public school ”, explains the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in its decision of Monday, June 14.
Faced with this injustice, AEA’s mother filed a complaint with the CRC in March 2020. It was only eight months later that the authorities confirmed that AEA and her family lived in Melilla. Even though national law grants resident children the right to education, local authorities have always refused to let the 8-year-old boy go to school, arguing that there was no evidence that he had a child. legal residence permit, raised the CRC.
The dispute was resolved in March 2021 when Spain’s education ministry ordered local authorities to allow AEA admission to the school. But it was already too late, believes the CRC in its decision, since the child had already missed nearly two years of formal education.
“ We welcome the decision to admit AEA to the school. However, this came too late and does not completely remedy the harm caused by his prolonged absence from school. “, Said Luis Pedernera, member of the Committee, quoted in the press release of the CRC. The latter even recalled that ” all children have the right to education, regardless of their legal status or that of their parents. AEA should have been able to learn in a classroom and befriend other children his age, even though he is not of Spanish nationality “, he added.
The CRC thus concluded that Spain had violated the rights of the AEA by failing to take swift action to verify his residence in Melilla and by not admitting him into the public education system immediately after his residence in Melilla had been confirmed.
Thus, the Committee urged Spain to pay AEA adequate compensation and to take proactive measures to help it catch up with its educational background. “ Even though Spanish law guarantees education to all resident children, regardless of their administrative status, AEA and most other children who do not have a legal residence permit in Melilla face de facto obstacles that prevent their schooling. This amounts to discrimination in violation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child », Said Luis Pedernera.
In order to avoid similar violations, the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child has called on Spain to ensure that local administrative and judicial authorities take effective and swift action to confirm the residence of a child. and admit him without delay into the public school system.