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    A migrant, who is part of a group intercepted aboard a dinghy off the coast in the Mediterranean sea, reacts on a rescue boat upon arriving at a port in Malaga, Spain August 7, 2017

    Migrants Held in Prisons With Inadequate Conditions in Spain - Migrants Service

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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Migrants who arrive via the western Mediterranean route to Spain face detention in prison or in government detention facilities with inadequate living conditions, Josep Buades Fuster, the spokesman for the Jesuit Service for Migrants Spain told Sputnik on Friday.

    “With regard to the Foreigners' Detention Centers (CIE), many [migrants] are in poor conditions, so that repair and reform works are not enough to comply with adequate living conditions. Others are installed in old prisons, which contradicts the provisions of the law and the Constitutional Court,” Fuster said.

    READ MORE: Spain Should Make Improvements to Be Ready for Migration Inflow — UNHCR

    European Border and Coast Guard Agency Frontex, which works with the Spanish government to ensure security of the border, stated in its January report that the number of migrants that reached Spain from northern Africa in 2017 along the western Mediterranean route had hit a record high of 22,900. The executive director of Frontex, Fabrice Leggeri, also said in January that the number of migrants could rise in the coming year.

    Under the Aliens Act, non-citizens of Spain have to be placed in one of the eight official CIEs, in which detainees are deprived of the right of movement. The 2014 CIE Regulation states that the Spanish Ministry of the Interior is the one responsible for the direction, coordination, management and inspection of its facilities, where migrants can, according to the regulation, be held for up to six months.

    The centers however have been operating at over-capacity and the Spanish Interior Ministry, in order to detain the increasing number of migrants arriving in the country, has been using prisons to restrict the migrants’ freedom of movement. After 500 Algerian migrants arrived on the southeastern coast of Spain in November, they were transferred to a penitentiary in Malaga that was still under construction until January. However, under Spanish law, processing centers for asylum seekers are not allowed to be prisons.

    READ MORE: UN Refugee Agency Warns Spain Lacks Capacity to Handle Migrant Sea Arrivals

    Yet Fuster states that contrary to these numbers and information in the media, the western Mediterranean route is unimportant when considering that large groups from the populations of these migrants are already residents in the country.

    “The migratory route through the western Mediterranean, despite the great media interest it raises, is very unimportant in numerical terms: at least, if we look at the population groups resident in Spain from sub-Saharan African countries … very large groups, established in Spain for many years, with many long-term residents and many who have acquired Spanish nationality,” Fuster said.

    According to Frontex, the Western Mediterranean route has been traditionally used by migrants from Algeria and Morocco. However more recently they have been joined by sub-Saharan migrants escaping conflict in the region, and from 2015 Syrians have made up the largest portion of migrants using this route.


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