• UN representative says Spain’s Melilla CETI fails to meet EU and UN guidelines
• Spain’s N. African centre meant to hold 480, currently houses 2,000 refugees
The representative in Spain for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR/ACNUR) says that Spain needs to undertake a comprehensive reform of its Centre for Temporary Stay of Immigrants (CETI) in Melilla, which she said falls far short of meeting the basic norms for refugee internment and resettlement facilities established by “EU directives and other international human rights instruments.”
In an interview with the news agency Europa Press, Francesca Friz-Prguda said Melilla is a major point of entry to Spain for refugees and 90% of the occupants of the Melilla CETI are refugees. But the facilities at Melilla are far from meeting EU guidelines for handling refugees and do not comply with the international Convention on the Rights of the Child or other human rights agreements.
According to the UNHCR representative, the Melilla centre is designed to hold 480 individuals and currently houses around 2,000. The result is that refugees interned at the CETI should not be staying in the facility for more than three or four days, but end up remaining there for months on end.
Spain’s next government should make the remodeling of the Melilla CETI a high priority, she said, to ensure that the Melilla CETI provides basic health and living conditions for the high number of refugee arrivals and to provide for timely processing of refugees’ asylum claims and transfer to a Reception Centre for Refugees (CAR) on the Spanish mainland.