More migrants risk their lives to get to Spain

TMP – 18/08/2017

Footage recorded by holidaymakers on 9 August on a beach on Spain’s southern coast showed a number of migrants suddenly arriving on a rubber dinghy.

Sunbathers on a beach in Cádiz province in southern Spain, 12 kilometres from the coast of North Africa, were shocked to see a rubber dinghy loaded with about 30 migrants suddenly land on shore. The occupants quickly ran ashore and then disappeared.

According to news agency AFP, of the around 30 migrants who arrived on the beach, nine were later found by Spanish authorities. They were all minors in their teens and are believed to be from Morocco. They are due to be taken to migrant reception centres.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) says 11,849 people have arrived in Spain so far this year, compared with 13,246 for the whole of 2016.

“We assume that some of the change is due to the fact that the route [to Spain] is considered a safe route up to the coast through Morocco,” Joel Millman, an IOM spokesman said.

Chief IOM spokesman Flavio Di Giacomo suggested that migrants may be changing their routes after hearing about the deteriorating situation in Libya.

“Back in January, when we had a surge of arrivals, the migrants said that was because the smugglers told them that the Libyan coast guard would soon start stopping boats. So they are very well informed,” Di Giacomo said.
Many of those travelling to Europe through Morocco are from West Africa, including Senegal, Gambia, Guinea and Ivory Coast.

As the flow of migrants to Spain increases after Libya’s recent crackdown on smuggler boats, human rights organisations, including Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) also known as Doctors Without Borders, say that Spanish migrant reception centres are overloaded and do not respond to the needs of new arrivals.

According to a Human Rights Watch report issued last month, asylum seekers and other migrants arriving by sea to Spanish shores are often held in poor conditions and face obstacles in applying for asylum. They can be held for days in cells in police stations and are often placed in longer-term immigration detention facilities pending deportation.