Spain: MSF connects to "Fourth World"
In September 2000, MSF also began aiding the many people - mostly from Morocco and sub-Saharan Africa - who were arriving on the beach in precarious conditions in the southern city of Tarifa.
As the Spanish authorities began to take up their responsibilities toward the new arrivals, MSF was able to shut down the program in April 2001. Mobile teams continue to monitor the situation, collect information, and provide aid where necessary.
Teams also visit other coastal areas, including Ceuta and Melilla, Spanish departments on the northern coast of the African continent. Immigrants in these areas often live in deplorable conditions. In addition to offering medical aid, MSF works to raise awareness of the plight of this vulnerable group among the Spanish public. See page 6 for more on MSF advocacy on asylum issues.
Speaking out against a new law
A Spanish law which came into effect in January 2001 restricts regularization of immigrants, permits the expulsion of immigrants without a work or residence permit, and denies "irregular" immigrants the right to meet, associate, unionize, and strike. MSF participated in public demonstrations against the legislation and cared for people who went on hunger strikes in opposition to the new law.
"Fourth World" projects
MSF provides first aid and needle exchange for intravenous drug users in Barcelona, and is working to get a space where these drug users can safely and cleanly inject. MSF also runs a clinic serving the city's disadvantaged population. Work in Barcelona began in 1994.
Since April 2000, MSF has also worked in Madrid, offering psychological care to those in need and guiding immigrants and asylum seekers toward social, health, educational, and cultural services. Another arm of this program works to detect and treat tuberculosis, particularly in undocumented immigrants.