Spain came under fire on Tuesday (November 21) for housing hundreds of migrants in a prison in the southern city of Malaga. Most migrants come from Algeria and arrived to Spain by boat.
More than 30 NGOs have denounced these actions as “confinement of people in a penitentiary centre.”
“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,” they told the Spanish ombudsman.
The opening of the prison of Archidona in Malaga was not meant to open until the beginning of 2018.
In an interview with radio station OndaCero, Minister of the Interior Juan Ignacio Zoido said the “massive wave of immigration that collapsed the system” forced them to take this measure.
The migrants in Archidona are “in the same conditions as in the migrant centres, says Zoido, which are “filled to the brim.”
The “not yet prison” also has “new technologies, heating, an infirmary, television, and sports clubs,” added Zoido.
However, the centre did not appear to be in the condition to host so many people at the start. On Tuesday, a food service had to be urgently called in order to provide meals to the new guests and the mayor of Archidona told the Spanish national EL Pais that the centre does not yet have drinking water.
The security team is made up of 52 voluntary agents who were conjured up in all urgency last Monday
The immigrants shout that they want freedom and make signs with their t-shirts and towels from the inside of the establishment, said the Spanish agency EFE.
A member of the local government said the measure was “completely temporary and exceptional.”
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) said 17,687 migrants reached southern Spain by boat between January 1 and November 15, compared to 5,445 during the same period in 2016.