22 April 2016

The Asylum Information Database (AIDA) has launched a new country report on Spain written by ACCEM. The report details the workings of the Spanish asylum procedure, pending a legislative reform of the Asylum Law aimed at implementing the recast EU Directives on Asylum Procedures and Reception Conditions, which should have been transposed into national law by  July 2015.

The report emphasises the challenges in accessing the territory and the asylum procedure. Following an amendment to the Aliens Law in March 2015, allowing authorities to “reject at borders” third-country nationals that are found crossing the border illegally, Spain has been criticised for ignoring human rights law and international law obligations towards asylum seekers and refugees. This critique has also formed the subject of N.D. and N.T. v. Spain, a case pending before the European Court of Human Rights.

Persons entering the enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla are kept in temporary stay centres (CETI), before being transferred to the mainland. Conditions in those centres were, however, substandard due to overcrowding last year. The CETI of Melilla, whose maximum capacity is 480 places, hosted 1,156 people last October.

Beyond Ceuta and Melilla, Spain has generally suffered from a shortage of accommodation in recent months. To address gaps in the reception system up until now, the government adopted a Decree in September to expand the reception capacity by authorising 3 more organisations to provide housing to asylum seekers. The same measure provided for the possibility to host asylum seekers in hotels for a maximum period of 30 days while waiting for an accommodation place to be made available.

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This article appeared in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin of 22 April 2016. You can subscribe to the Weekly Bulletin here.