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Council of Europe Calls for Improved Migrant Housing in Spain

September 4, 2020, 10.03 PM

STRASBOURG, – Top rights advocate Council of Europe called for improved migrant housing in Spain and coronavirus prevention for migrants held in Melilla.

The territory is on the coast of Morocco where hundreds of migrants are being placed.

In a letter to Madrid, the Council of Europe said some 500 people are in lockdown in the Melilla bullring.

The migrants have limited access to showers and toilets, and not enough food and water.

Read also: Migrant Rescues in the Mediterranean Sea to Resume in August

In addition, "no identification of vulnerable persons or medical screening is reportedly taking place," the council's human rights commissioner Dunja Mijatovic wrote.

Every year thousands of migrants try to enter Melilla as well as Ceuta, Spain's other foothold in Morocco, since arrival would give them a chance at EU asylum.

Registered asylum seekers in the territories are also allowed to move freely within Spain, and the council urged Madrid to transfer more migrants to the mainland.

But while acknowledging the challenges for the Spanish government in housing the migrants while containing the Covid-19 outbreak, "the situation prevailing in the 'plaza de toros' does not appear to be adequate from a human rights point of view," Mijatovic said.

Read also: Coronavirus Cases in Spain Surpass 400,000 as Virus Transmission Increases

She also expressed concerns over the use of private security guards at the bullring in light of reports of fights and thefts among residents, and of claims of excessive force used by personnel.

"Ultimately, it is the authorities' responsibility to ensure that the facility's management fully respects human rights," she said.

The coronavirus pandemic has sharply reduced the number of migrant arrivals to Melilla and Ceuta this year, with just 1,383 new arrivals in the first seven months of this year, down from 3,313 in the same period in 2019. 

(Writers & Editors: DSA/JS/TGB, Agence France-Presse) 


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