SPAIN has come under fire from Amnesty International, which insists the country ‘can and must do better’ with handling asylum-seekers.
The human rights organisation slammed over-crowding in the refugee centres – known as CETIs – in the enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla.
Thousands of undocumented migrants are housed in the centres awaiting documents, including refugees from Syria and across sub-Saharan Africa.
The CETI in Melilla, which was only designed to hold 480 residents, is currently housing more than 1,900 according to Amnesty, including 400 minors.
“Spain can and must do better, not only be setting up a decent resettlement programme but also by increasing the numbers,” said Virginia Alvarez, a spokesperson for Amnesty in Spain.
But Spanish government officials in the enclave insist that since Amnesty’s visit a new office for processing asylum claims has been opened.
Only around 1.7% of more than three million Syrian asylum-seekers have been re-homed in rich countries, according to Amnesty.
Most refugees have fled to neighbouring countries, including Turkey and Lebanon.
Some 600 Syrian migrants, of the 1,500 Syrians at the centre, have already been granted asylum in Spain, but were waiting to be transferred to mainland Spain.
Spain has so far only permanently re-homed 130 Syrians in 2013 and 2014, and plans for another 130 in 2015.
Read about when the Olive Press visited the CETI in Ceuta in May 2014 here.