Unzipping the Border # 1 Background


Fortress Europe
Ceuta is an autonomous Spanish exclave in Morocco, located on the African side of the Strait of Gibraltar, 14 km south of the Iberian Peninsula. Ceuta and Melilla (another Spanish exclave in Morocco) are Spain’s, Europe’s and the EU’s only territories in mainland Africa. Due to their location – geographically conjoined to Africa- the exclaves have historically attracted a disproportionately large number of refugees compared to the number of permanent residents. The continuously increasing numbers of refugees entering Europe through the exclaves has made the EU and Spain invest in a militarization of its borders, preventing unwanted immigrants to enter the EU through the exclave now dubbed Fortress Europe.

This response causes hardships for immigrants and significant human, political and economic challenges for both European government and civil society. The Ceuta and Melilla walls have shown that building walls have a slight effect on stopping people on the border, but creates unintended hardship for the local communities. People still manage to cross the barriers or simply go around them. With the building of barriers, refugees are likely to take more risks in the attempt of reaching their goal, including the use of human trafficking.

Ceuta, Spain: A Tax Free - Gated Community
Moroccan porteadores enter Ceuta, buy duty-free processed goods like food and electrical equipment, and carry them into Morocco where they are sold at a higher price. The porteadores then re-enter Ceuta to perform the transaction once more, and up to five times a day. In Ceuta approximately 2000 porteadores work within the border trade and moving 300 tons of goods across the border each day. The goods are transported to the nearest city, Fnideq, and  then distributed to an area stretching as far as to Fez and longer.

04/07 - Unzipping the Border # 1 Background