Differential treatment of specific nationalities in reception


Country Report: Differential treatment of specific nationalities in reception Last updated: 25/03/21


Persons held within the CETI in Ceuta and Melilla are not free to move outside the two cities, also due to their geographical location. In order to be transferred to the peninsula applicants and migrants have to wait for the permission of the Ministry of Inclusion, Social Security and Migration, which manages the centres, and of the Ministry of Interior which authorises their departure. In two decisions taken in July 2020, the Supreme Court (Tribunal Supremo) recognised the right to free movement of asylum seekers from Ceuta and Melilla across Spanish territory.[1] Despite the ruling, reports of asylum seekers denied to freely leave Ceuta and Melilla continued to be reported up until the beginning of 2021 (see Freedom of Movement).

There is a persisting general lack of transparency concerning the criteria followed by the CETI for transferring people to the Spanish peninsula, which has been repeatedly criticised by human rights organisations. In particular, organisations denounce discriminatory treatment based on countries of origin for the issuance of permits to allow transfer to the peninsula. Transfers to the mainland from Ceuta are provided to nationals of Sub-Saharan countries who do not apply for asylum, whereas asylum seekers and nationals of countries such as Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka may wait for more than a year in the enclave. In Melilla, on the other hand, nationals of Sub-Saharan countries and Syria benefit from transfers to the mainland but Moroccans, Algerians and Tunisians do not.[2]


[1] Tribunal Supremo, Sala de lo Contencioso, STS 2497/2020, 29 July 2020, available in Spnaish at: https://bit.ly/3bBeLWw; Tribunal Supremo, Sala de lo Contencioso, STS 2662/2020, 29 July 2020, available in Spanish at: https://bit.ly/2N6iqBt.

[2]  CEAR, Refugiados y migrantes en España: Los muros invisibles tras la frontera sur, December 2017, available in Spanish at: http://bit.ly/2mEUPqH, 22-26.

Table of contents

  • Statistics
  • Overview of the legal framework
  • Overview of the main changes since the previous report update
  • Asylum Procedure
  • Reception Conditions
  • Detention of Asylum Seekers
  • Content of International Protection
  • ANNEX I – Transposition of the CEAS in national legislation