EXCLUSIVE: Archidona prison – UN condemns Spain’s ‘lack of national strategy’

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Riot police: The Spanish government claimed last week’s incident was a “small incident”

THE UNITED NATIONS has condemned the Spanish government’s treatment of migrants at the Archidona prison.

The organisation is also calling for Malaga to be made one of two “main disembarkation hubs” in the country.

Maria Jesus Vega, a Spokesperson for the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Spain, said: “The situation in the Archidona prison is just a symptom of a worrying situation in Spain in relation to the management of the mixed migration flows (refugees and economic migrants), due to the lack of a national strategy to properly address this challenge. We cannot continue patching things up.“

Hundreds of migrants have been held at the ‘unopened’ prison since mid-November.

“There is an urgent need to develop preparedness and contingency plans to provide an adequate response to the situation for which UNHCR has been long advocating and offering its support”, Ms Vega added.

“While 25,976 refugees and migrants arrived to Spain by the end of November (by land –Ceuta and Melilla- and sea), representing an increase of around 100% compared to the same period in 2016, the figures are certainly manageable for a country like Spain (and are far from the figures of the Central and Eastern Mediterranean routes in these previous years).”

Last week, the government were accused of using riot police, rubber bullets, tear gas and batons on migrants protesting for more food and against their deportation. Seven children from the group have since been taken into Spanish care, according to reports.

Activists claim that the Spanish government have begun deporting many others back to Algeria.

Ms Vega continued: “Clearly additional efforts are needed to ensure inter-ministerial coordination and that appropriate structures and procedures are in place to provide adequate assistance to new arrivals. This includes adequate accommodation, swift identification of people in need of international protection and those with specific needs including victims of trafficking, unaccompanied or separated children, people with disabilities etc.

“UNHCR is proposing the establishment of two main disembarkation hubs – in Cádiz and Málaga – fully equipped to act as registration, identification and assistance points where protection needs of arrivals could be swiftly detected and persons referred to the adequate channels, including the asylum procedures when necessary.”

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