Spain houses hundreds of migrants in a prison
Photo credit: euronews. A future jail in Malaga has been converted into “provisional” housing for migrants.
TMP – 13/12/2017
Spain has come under fire for housing hundreds of migrants in a future prison in the southern city of Malaga.
More than 30 NGOs have condemned these actions.
“The current internment centres are in fact prisons without the minimum requirements but housing them there directly in a penitentiary brings them a step closer to being considered criminals,” the NGOs told the Spanish ombudsman.
Spain’s Interior Minister, Juan Ignacio Zoido, defended the government’s actions in an interview with radio station OndaCero, saying they were forced to take this measure because of “the massive wave of immigration that collapsed the system”.
According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), 17,687 migrants arrived in southern Spain by boat between 1 January and 15 November , compared to 5,445 during the same period in 2016.
The Archidona prison is a newly built facility that was scheduled to be opened in early 2018, but is already being used for migrants because existing migrant centres are “filled to the brim”, according to Zoido.
While Archidona does appear to have necessary facilities such as heating and a medical centre, the centre is struggling to host the high number of migrants under its care. A food service had to be urgently called in order to provide meals to the new guests and the mayor told the Spanish national EL Pais that the centre does not yet have drinking water.
Spanish news agency EFE reports that the migrants detained in the facility frequently shout that they want freedom and make signs with their t-shirts and towels from the inside of the establishment.