Rights group Amnesty has said in a report that homosexual migrants have suffered discrimination – including threats and assaults – from other people inside centres in the north African Spanish encalves of Melilla and Ceuta.
Amnesty are calling for Spain to guarantee the immediate transfer to the peninsula of those who are particularly vulnerable, and to stop cooperating on migration control with neighbouring Morocco, which it has accused of violating refugees’ rights.
“There are videos where you can see how Moroccan police hit (migrants)… make them fall and send them away,” Amnesty said, adding that Spanish officers often turn a blind eye.
The rights group interviewed some 50 people in Ceuta and Melilla, who revealed how migrants often experience police brutality, and how vulnerable migrants, including homosexuals and domestic violence victims, are not given adequate protection.
In Melilla’s centre, at least 60 people have asked for asylum after being persecuted in their home countries for their sexual orientation, but some have been waiting between six months and a year to be transferred.
Once making it to Spanish territory, migrants and refugees are taken to temporary detention centres where they must wait for officials decide whether or not they can stay.
While Syrians’ requests are acted upon immediately as it is not difficult to prove how unsafe their homes are, other nationalities have a harder time, while, according to Amnesty, standard asylum procedures are not always respected.
“The majority of people asking for asylum, except those of Syrian nationality, find themselves blocked in the limbo that is Ceuta and Melilla,” said Esteban Beltran, director of Amnesty International Spain.
More than 11,600 migrants and refugees arrived in Ceuta and Melilla last year, a 55 percent increase from 2014. The combined population of the two enclaves is just over 170,000.