Public Advocate Considers the System of Reception of Migrants in Spain “Cruel”

The Spanish ombudsman, Francisco Fernández Marugán, denounced on Thursday the “cruel” treatment suffered by migrants in detention centers in Spain, where the system of reception is “inefficient”.

“We must change the logic of the system, which is inefficient and cheap, and on numerous occasions it is cruel to people who are only looking for a better life,” Fernández Marugán said at a hearing in Congress.

The official in charge of defending human rights evoked the “important deficiencies in the facilities” such as police stations or Foreigners’ Detention Centers (CIE).

In police stations, immigrants are detained for 72 hours in “dungeons where there is hardly natural light” and on almost no occasion “running water,” he said.

“The urgency and the supposed effectiveness cannot lead to twisting fundamental rights, emptying them of practical content,” he deplored.

In his speech, Fernández Marugán referred to the prison of Archidona (Malaga, south), which was used for weeks as a detention center for immigrants at the end of 2017.

In December, an Algerian immigrant, Mohamed Buderbala, was found dead in his cell after being placed in isolation for 16 hours, according to the ombudsman.

The fact caused controversy in Spain.

The Spanish interior minister, Juan Ignacio Zoido, presented the 36-year-old migrant as one of the instigators of a “mutiny”.

The National Police, which was in charge of that center, was not “prepared for the treatment and to assist people deprived of their liberty,” the ombudsman estimated.

According to official figures, 28,350 people entered Spain irregularly in 2017, twice as many as a year before (14,000), the official said.

Immigrants arriving on a Spanish Coast Guard Vessel

More than 22,000 of them arrived by sea, 12.6% of the total arrivals of migrants by sea to Europe in 2017.