Conditions in reception facilities


Country Report: Conditions in reception facilities Last updated: 21/04/22


While the increase in arrivals of asylum seekers throughout 2018 and 2019 has exacerbated difficulties in accessing reception, the actual conditions in reception facilities have not deteriorated since reception capacity was increased. The problem asylum seekers face on some occasions is the long waiting time before they can be placed in accommodation facilities.


Conditions in CAR and NGO accommodation

The majority of available places for asylum seekers in Spain are in reception centres, during the first phase of reception, which lasts for a maximum of 6 months. As stressed, during the second phase they are placed in private housing, as the final aim is their autonomy within the Spanish society.

In general, there have not been reports of bad conditions of reception. In fact, there are no registered protests or strikes by applicants. Unless they are placed in private housing, asylum seekers are not able to cook by themselves during the first phase of reception, as meals are managed by the authority in charge of the centre.

Hosted applicants have access to several types of activities, which may vary from trainings or leisure programmes. In general, particular conditions or facilities within the reception centre depend on the authority managing the reception places. As the majority of centres are managed by specialised NGOs, generally the staff that works with asylum seekers during their reception is trained and specialised.

The accommodation of every asylum seeker is decided on case by case basis, in order to prevent tensions or conflicts (such as nationality or religious based potential situations), vulnerability or violence. Single women for example are usually placed in female-only apartments, while the same happens for single men. In this context, the unity of families is also respected, as family members are placed together.

The usual length of stay for asylum seekers inside the reception facilities is the maximum stay admitted, which is 18 months, extendable to 24 months for vulnerable persons. This is due to the fact that the system is divided into 3 main phases that gradually prepare the person to live autonomously in the hosting society. Following the Royal Decree adopted in September 2015, asylum seekers whose application has been rejected may remain within the reception facilities until they reach the maximum duration of their stay. In addition, it should be noted that asylum applicants must complete the first reception phase within asylum facilities in order to access the support foreseen in the second phase; the completion of the first phase is mandatory.

At the beginning of 2021, some migrant families reported intimidating treatment and poor living conditions at a hostel managed by an NGO in Rocafort (València). They complained about the lack of electricity during the night, the impossibility to use heaters, the lack of sufficient blankets, and the limited access to food as the latter is locked.[1] An investigation has been subsequently opened.[2]

In August 2021, the manager of a reception facility of the Red Cross in Lanzarote (Canary Islands) was fired and detained for irregularities in managing the centre with the hosts (i.e. withdrawal of personal belonging, lack of permission for exiting the centre, etc.).[3]


Conditions in CETI

Overcrowding in the CETI in Ceuta and Melilla is a serious issue that has persisted in recent years, resulting in poor or substandard reception conditions for asylum seekers and migrants.

The two CETI are reception facilities that receive the most criticism from organisations and institutions that monitor migrants’ and refugees’ rights. In 2016 and 2017, Human Rights Watch,[4] Amnesty International,[5] UNICEF,[6] and the Spanish Ombudsman,[7] published reports in which they denounced deficiencies in the conditions concerning the two centres. Similarly, in 2018, different organisations and institutions kept on expressing concerns about the living conditions in such facilities. Accommodation standards have been considered inadequate and concerns about the exposure of women and children to violence and exploitation due to the continuous overcrowding have been highlighted.[8] In light of this, the Council of Europe Special Representative of the Secretary General on Migration and Refugees expressed the necessity for the Spanish authorities to “ensure that CETIs in Ceuta and Melilla have the same standards in terms of living conditions, education, health care, language and training courses which asylum-seekers are entitled to and receive in mainland Spain”.[9] A report by the Jesuit Migrants Service also stressed inadequate conditions at the CETI in Melilla, especially in cases of prolonged stays, as well as the lack of identification of vulnerabilities, of a gender and age perspective and of guaranteeing residents’ rights to privacy and family life.[10] In 2020, IOM and UNHCR asked the Spanish authorities for an urgent coordinated response to the reception conditions at the CETI of Melilla, that they qualified as “alarming”. Both organisations recommend to adopt a rapid assessment procedure and adequate measures which would facilitate the transfer of asylum seekers to the mainland, voluntary return, family reunification etc.[11] The Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights also urged the Spanish authorities to find alternatives to accommodation for migrants and asylum seekers living in substandard conditions in Melilla.[12] In his 2020 annual report, the Spanish Ombudsman indicated that, in April 2020, the CETI of Melilla was accommodating more than 1,600 migrants, despite counting just 800 places.[13]

In its World Report 2021, Human Rights Watch expresses the same concerns on overcrowding at the CETI in Melilla and at a temporary shelter set up in a local bullring.[14]

The continuous problems of overcrowding especially at the CETI of Melilla worsened in 2020 following the COVID-19 outbreak. Since the beginning of the pandemic, many stakeholders, including the Spanish Ombudsman,[15] have been asking the Minister of Interior to increase transfers to mainland, in order to relieve the centres.[16]

Despite the transfers of vulnerable persons to mainland being carried out, following – among others – the Ombudsman’s recommendations, the situation was far from being resolved.

In its 2020/2021 annual report on the situation of human rights worldwide, Amnesty International highlighted the continuous problems of overcrowding at the CETI of Melilla, as well as the use of facilities not in line with international standards. Because of this, the organisation launched a campaign to call for the urgent transfer of vulnerable persons to other reception facilities located on the mainland, aiming at guaranteeing decent reception and health conditions.[17]

A policy note published by ECRE in July 2021, underlines that the CETIs are systematically overcrowded, present poor sanitary conditions, and health services, and that they are not adequate to accommodate families and vulnerable persons. These circumstances have worsened following the COVID-19 pandemic.[18]

At the beginning of July 2021, the number of residents at the CETI of Melilla was 877 (mostly from Tunisia and Egypt). For the first time since 2017, it did not surpass the threshold of 1,000 hosts,[19] but still surpasses the actual capacity of the facility.

It can be noted that, on top of overcrowding, CETIs do not provide satisfactory conditions for family units and overall for families with minors. As a result, families are separated and children stay with only one of their parents. In both centres, the shortage of interpreters and psychologists has also been criticised.[20]


Conditions in other reception facilities

Living conditions on the Canary Islands[21]

During 2021, many challenges in providing adequate reception conditions to migrants and asylum seekers continued to be reported in particular on the Canary Islands. This is due to the significant increase of arrivals as described in Arrivals by sea, but also because of the overall lack of reception facilities and the deficient humanitarian assistance system on the Canary Islands. Thus, already in 2020, different temporary reception options have been adopted on an ad hoc basis, such as encampments, hotels,[22] using parts of the CIE as reception facility,[23] or using buildings belonging to the Ministries of defence and Home Affairs for the purpose COVID-19 quarantine.[24]

­­­­­The encampment at the dock of Arguineguín (Gran Canaria), created impromptu in August 2020 to address the increase of arrivals and to provide temporary reception to 400 persons, ended up hosting up to 2,600 persons. The deplorable living conditions were also denounced, with migrants sleeping on blankets in the open, without the possibility of changing clothes and with no access to showers – in some cases, persons could not access showers for more than 20 days.[25] The dock was renamed “the dock of shame” and became the symbol of the failure of the Spanish (and EU) migratory policy.[26] The Judges for Democracy (Jueces y Juezas para la Democracia – JJpD) confirmed that the situation and the conditions of the encampment were the consequence of the erroneous migratory policy of the Government, and recalled that migration policies must be human rights oriented.[27] The Spanish Ombudsman and Amnesty International called for the immediate closure of the encampment,[28] and the latter recalled that migrants arriving to the Canary Island must be treated in respect of human rights and with transparency.[29]

The Arguineguín encampment was finally dismantled at the end of November 2020 and newcomers were brought to a new encampment, located at a military site in Barranco Seco (Gran Canaria).[30] However, following the dismantlement of Arguineguín camp, around 200 migrants reported to have been left on the street for many hours, without any information nor resources or reception solutions.[31] In March 2021, an investigation uncovered the serious abuses against media freedom that took place while journalists intended to denounce the situation at the camp.[32] In January 2022, the Provincial Court of Las Palmas ruled on the case lodged against the inhumane treatment of migrants at the Arguineguín camp. Despite acknowledging the terrible conditions of the encampment, the judge considers that the situation was not caused by a voluntary action of the authorities to violate migrants’ rights.[33] The NGO CEAR condemned the decision, in arguing that human rights violations should always be recognised as such.[34]

Already in 2020, many stakeholders, such as the Spanish Ombudsman or the NGO CEAR, repeatedly called upon the authorities to transfer migrants and asylum seekers from the Canary Islands to appropriate reception facilities on the mainland.[35] Yet, between January and November 2020, the Ministry of Inclusion, Social Security and Migration only transferred between 10% and 15% of all the newcomers to the mainland, out of which around 2,000 were vulnerable migrants and asylum seekers.[36] The deterrence policy followed by the Government on the Canary Islands is similar to the one applied in Ceuta and Melilla, whereby only a minority of transfers are carry out to mainland.[37] In December 2020, the Council of Ministries adopted different measures aiming at ensuring the functioning and improvement of the reception system on the Canary Islands with a budget of € 83 million.[38] Despite this investment, the Minister of Interior stated in December 2020 that the main objective remains to resume deportations as soon as possible, and that expulsion of migrants is one of the main axes of his migratory policy.[39]

The Government announced that it would find adequate reception solutions by the end of 2020, but the abovementioned challenges have persisted at the beginning of 2021. Around 7,000 migrants and asylum seekers were being hosted in hotels in the southern part of the island of Gran Canaria,[40] and only one out of seven reception centres was operating. Some municipalities on the Canary Islands further started to threaten hotels with fines in case they continued hosting migrants and asylum seekers after 31 December 2020.[41] In 2021, sanctions proceedings have started at least against 10 hotels for hosting migrants and asylum seekers, with fines that go up to 150,000 Euros.[42]

In mid-January 2021, the Ministry of Inclusion, Social Security and Migration announced the opening of a new reception facility at the former military regiment Canarias 50, with a reception capacity of 442 places. This is the second facility that is foreseen by the Government’s Canarias Plan, which aims to create a total of 7,000 reception places.[43] Doctors of the World warned that the new facilities that the Government plans to build on the Canary Islands are likely to replicate the situation of the Arguineguín dock.[44] In February 2021, a technical accident resulted in the flooding with sewage water of the camp.[45]  Video footage from inside the camp seen by several media outlets shows dirty water entering tents where people sleep and brown puddles under their beds. A few days earlier, the same camp had been flooded after heavy rainfall.

At the beginning of 2021 tension rose between migrants sheltered on the Canary Islands, where the fear of deportation and the poor living conditions led to hunger strikes, protests and self-harm,[46] including a man’s attempt to jump off a balcony. More than 175 persons, hosted in a hotel for 3 months, started a hunger strike to protest against their retention in Tenerife.[47] In early February 2021, 450 people accommodated at a school in Gran Canaria went into hunger strike to protest their current living situation.[48] In February 2021, the Government authorised the transfer of 1,000 vulnerable migrants to mainland, out of which a majority are women with children.[49]

During the first months of 2021, the Senate worked on a report on migration, in view of the modification of the Regulation of the Immigration Law. However, the Senate was refused access to the reception facilities on the Canary Islands by the Ministry of Interior.[50] During a hearing at the Senate on the preparation of the report, the NGO CEAR thus presented a set of 12 proposals to address migration on the Canary Islands, which includes the creation of a stable structure for the humanitarian assistance to migrants and asylum seekers, and the guarantee of a flexible, transparent and systematised policy for transfers to mainland, i.e. without discrimination based on nationality.[51]

Since the end of 2020, different NGOs started to open reception facilities on the Canary Islands under the humanitarian programme funded by the Ministry of Inclusion, Social Security and Migration. Accem opened a reception facility in Tenerife under the humanitarian programme and within the Plan Canarias. It was initially planned that the facility would count 2,400 places, but it finally was created with 1,500 places, and employing 220 professionals. The organisation provides a comprehensive assistance to migrants (i.e. legal support, psychological assistance, interpretation, health assistance, etc.). The centre hosts solely men, the vast majority coming from Morocco and Senegal. In November 2021, Accem opened also an emergency humanitarian assistance and referral centre in Lanzarote with 1,000 places, within the Plan Canarias and from August 2021 it started to manage four flats with a total of 18 places in Tenerife within the programme for the humanitarian assistance of migrants. The flats host women and women with children.[52]

The Fundación Cruz Blanca opened one centre in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria with 140 places for women and mothers with underage children, and another facility with a capacity of 400 places for men.[53]  The organisation Fundación Cruz Blanca, which is specialised in the assistance to trafficked persons, has also opened two centres in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. One centre has 40 places available and aims to provide comprehensive assistance to women and their children presumed to be victims of human trafficking; while the other centre had 25 places and is dedicated to women presumed to be victim of trafficking.[54] As previously mentioned, IOM also started its operations on the Canary Islands at the beginning of 2021, more specifically in Tenerife, where it currently manages a facility counting with 1,100 reception places (reduced to 1,054 due to the necessity to assure anti COVID-19 measures).[55]

In February 2021, the Council of Ministers approved a budget of €15,8 million for the reception of migrants arriving to the Canary Islands.[56] The Minister of Interior informed that only vulnerable migrants and asylum seekers would be transferred to mainland.[57] The Government Delegate in Canarias affirmed to consider positive that many irregular migrants blocked at the archipelago asked for the expulsion to their origin countries, due to the impossibility to follow in their migratory journey to mainland.[58] The European Commission acknowledged that Spain has the last decision on transferring migrants who didn’t apply for asylum to mainland.[59]

In a thematic report issued in March 2021, the NGO CEAR denounced the lack of foresight and preparation of the reception system at the Canary Islands, which led to various human rights violations. Reception facilities lacked basic services and did not offer decent living conditions. Moreover, people were arbitrarily detained, legal assistance was lacking, as well as efficient systems to identify asylum seekers with special needs (i.e. trafficked persons, unaccompanied migrant children).[60]

In the same month, the Spanish Ombudsman also published a report on the matter, referring to the collapse of the reception system’s capacity of the archipelago, due to the increase in arrivals.[61]

In the first months of 2021 protests and hunger strikes were organised as a reaction to the poor living conditions in the new encampment of Las Raí,  The police responded violently to the protests, launching rubber balls against the demonstrators and attacking them.[62] Following the demonstrations, various migrants were detained.[63] The Minister of Inclusion, Social Security and Migration committed to solve the problems with the food and the provision of water at the facility.[64] In May, the encampment notably reduced the number of migrants hosted, thanks to their transfer to the facility of El Matorral in Fuerteventura and to mainland.[65]

In light of the closure of two hotels, around 150-200 Sub-Saharan migrants (most of them from Senegal) tried to apply for asylum, in order to avoid expulsion and to be referred to a reception facility.[66]

In April 2021 the Administrative Court (Juzgado de lo Contencioso Administrativo) nº 5 of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria established that a migrant can fly from Canarias to the mainland using his/her passport or asylum application, and that this is compatible with the COVID-19 restrictions measures to movement.[67]

Transfers increased to mainland in April 2021, when the Government transferred 1,800 persons during 5 weeks,[68] being 4,385 those transferred since the beginning of the year.[69]

A COVID-19 outbreak was registered at the encampment of El Matorral, with the following transfer of positive migrants to a quarantine facility.[70] Following a complaint made by the Spanish Ombudsman on the bad conditions of a quarantine facility in Fuerteventura, the State Secretary for Migrations ordered its dismantlement.[71]

In May 2021, Amnesty International denounced that, despite the approval of the Canarias Plan, reception conditions continue to be inadequate.[72] Thanks to the transfers to mainland, at the end of May 2021 the reception facilities at the Canary Islands consistently reduced the numbers of migrants hosted.[73]

An investigation carried out by Doctors of the World concludes that the reception conditions provided to migrants and asylum seekers arriving by boat have a consequence to their health situation and make them sick. The NGO underlines that the insufficient food and hygiene, the lack of information and the inadequate health assistance in the macro-encampments at the Canary Islands have seriously affected their health.[74]

At the end of July 2021 Amnesty International called the Government to take measures in order to guarantee decent reception conditions, as well as access to the asylum procedure, the right to information and to legal assistance, together with fostering transfers of vulnerable persons to mainland.[75]

A thematic report published by Amnesty International in December 2021 denounced the failure of the migration policy and of the asylum system at the Canary Islands, and that the Spanish authorities did not guarantee adequate reception conditions nor access to a fair and efficient asylum procedure to migrants and refugees reaching the archipelago by sea.[76]

The Canary Islands continue to lack the capacity to face the rapid increase in sea arrivals; this negatively impacts also centres for unaccompanied minors, that struggle to provide adequate reception conditions and services.[77] It has been underlined that the emergency approach adopted in dealing with the situation on the islands leads to severe delays in procedures such as age assessment, access to residence permits for children, enrolment in training and vocational courses.[78] Lack of accommodations places targeting ageing out adolescents has caused a great vulnerability of youth migrants when leaving minors protection centres when aging out. Coordination with the other Spanish autonomous communities is needed, and support by the central government is vital to deal with the situation in the long term.

A report published by the Mixed Migration Centre, Save the Children and Médicos del Mundo found that the lack of standardized or comprehensive protocol for managing arrivals and screening often renders children difficult to identify for the authorities. Identification is a challenge as lawyers and interpreters are not systematically present when children arrive, so is common for refugees and migrants not to be properly counselled and informed. In addition, children do not receive adequate information about their rights, including the right to asylum. Furthermore, professionals at the reception centres are not trained to recognize those who could apply for asylum, resulting in a very few asylum requests. Access to specialized psychosocial support for children is also needed, considering the migration route’s difficulty and that many of them have suffered violence on previous migratory phases.[79]

Save the Children has also identified deficiencies regarding the screening and age assessment process. Spanish authorities continue running systematic medical exams, instead of comparing the documentation provided by embassies and consulates. The invasiveness of these exams has been denounced by UN’s Child Rights Committee on several occasions. Besides, sometimes it takes up to 6 months to resolve the procedure and the reliability of such exams is highly questionable.[80]

Moreover, as already mentioned above, EASO started to support Spanish asylum authorities, after having agreed upon an operational plan mainly focused on support to reception. This includes providing enhanced capacity to reception services in the Canary Islands. In January 2021, EASO carried out a needs’ assessment mission at six sites in the Canary Islands, which have received a high number of persons with international protection needs in recent months. The mission was carried out in order to enable the Agency to tailor its support to the specific needs in the region, and the results were discussed with the State Secretary for Migration of Spain.[81] The Operation Plan on Special Support to reception agreed between the EASO and Spain foresees a set of areas where the EU agency can support the Spanish Government, including assessing ‘the need for actions in support of emergency reception facilities with a specific focus on the Canary Islands’.[82]

Living conditions in Cañada Real of Madrid

An informal settlement of Cañada Real has been set up in Madrid where many migrants and other persons live. The living conditions are extremely poor and, since the last quarter of 2020, there is no electricity available. This situation affects around 4,600 persons, including 1,800 children, many of them of a young age. The responsible authorities have not taken any measures yet to address this issue.

In December 2020, the Spanish Ombudsman urged the competent authorities to immediately solve the situation, which was worsening due to the cold and bad weather conditions.[83] The seriousness of the situation and the impact on the health of the children has been also stressed by different UN Rapporteurs, asking inter alia to stop stigmatising migrants, Roma population and persons living in poverty.[84] The UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights stated that the poor living conditions faced by families is in violation of the conventions ratified by Spain and further criticised the politicisation of the situation on the Cañada Real, which is a shanty town in the Madrid Region composed of a succession of informal housing.[85] The Special Rapporteur reiterated in February 2021 the breach of international law by Spain in view of its inactivity for the protection of human rights.[86]

The instruction judge (Juzgado de Instrucción) of Madrid opened a case against the Autonomous Community of Madrid and Naturgy/Unión Fenosa, the company providing the service.[87] In addition, the European Parliament (EP) member Urban asked the EU Commission to urge the Autonomous Community of Madrid to provide decent reception solutions to families at risk of exclusion and to use the EU funds received to that end. The Spanish High Commissioner for Child Poverty further asked the President of the Autonomous Community to look for adequate reception solutions.[88]

Following low temperatures and winter conditions in Madrid in mid-January, a 74 years-old man died, 3 persons were hospitalised, and 40 persons were intoxicated because of butane gas canisters.[89] Following these incidents, a report against the Autonomous Community of Madrid and Naturgy/Unión Fenosa has been lodged in front of the competent Court and the Public Prosecutor Office.[90] The General Council of Spanish Lawyers (Consejo General de la Abogacía Española),[91] the Pontificia Comillas of the University of Madrid,[92] and the Platform for Childhood (Plataforma de Infancia),[93] also condemned the serious human rights violations occurring in Cañada Real.

In April 2021, a social enterprise launched a pilot project aimed at installing solar panels, from which will benefit different families living in Cañada Real.[94] Regardless, after 1 year the situation continues to be difficult, especially when the winter and the low temperatures are arriving, and persons do not know if the solar panels, the firewood and the gas will be sufficient to guarantee their living conditions.[95] Around 30 families asked the company Naturgy to re-establish their service since it was cut in October 2020, as well as the formalisation of a contract in order to receive energy in their houses and to pay the corresponding consumption. The company, however, refused to register the request.[96]

Different associations and groups of the area created the ‘Civic Platform for the support of Light in Cañada Real’, with the aim of advocating for the rights of the persons living there.[97]

In December 2021, Amnesty International launched a campaign to collect signatures to request the Autonomous Community of Madrid and the Municipalities of Madrid and of Rivas Vacia-Madrid to urgently act in order to guarantee electricity and contracts at Cañada Real, where around 4,000 persons (including 1,812 children) are living in dire conditions since they were deprived of electricity.[98]

Living conditions in other informal settlements

The situation in informal settlements across Spain (especially in Andalucía) continued to be a concern in 2021. Many migrants and seasonal migrant workers live in these settlements in poor living conditions and with no access to basic services.[99] Many of them are victims of trafficking, forced labour and forced prostitution.[100]

During the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the situation worsened due to the impossibility to access water, food and health services, as well as the impossibility to follow distancing rules and sanitary measures in the informal settlements in Almería (Andalucía).[101]

At the beginning of 2021, a fire at the settlement of Don Domingo in Almería left 2 persons wounded and around 200 persons affected,[102] and another fire destroyed the settlement of San Jorge in Palos de la Frontera (Huelva), fortunately without any damage to its 400 inhabitants.[103] In May, a fire at one of the main settlements near Almería, in Nijar, resulted in one person being injured and around 200 who were left without shelter. It can be noted that the settlement hosted between 600 and 800 migrants employed in agriculture.[104] In the same month, two fires in the settlements of Palos de la Frontera y Lucena del Puerto (Huelva) caused many damages and two persons (one from Ghana and one from Morocco) were killed.[105] After the events, the Asociación Pro Derechos Humanos de Andalucía (Apdha) urged to find viable and decent housing options for the persons living in the agricultural settlements of the province.[106] The sub-standard living conditions of the settlements in Almería remained the same for more than 20 years,[107] despite the funds allocated (2,3 million Euros) by the regional government (Junta de Andalucía) to improve the living conditions in the settlements after the start of the pandemic.[108] Alternatives to settlements for temporary workers exist and can be created, as demonstrated by the temporary shelter with 40 places put in place by the Asociación Nuevos Ciudadanos por la Interculturalidad (Asnuci).[109]

In October, two fires affected numerous migrants living in the informal settlement in Lepe (Huleva). Fortunately, there were no casualties nor persons injured, but the fires demonstrate the unbearable situation migrants face in such settlements.[110] The Asociación Pro Derechos Humanos de Andalucía (Apdha) denounces a flagrant neglect of duties by the administration.[111] The lack of real measures by the Municipality of Lepe in order to end with settlements has also been denounced.[112]

A census carried out by the trade union Comisiones Obreras (CCOO) states that in the city of Albacete around 800 persons scrape out a living in 10 settlements and 13 sub-settlements between April and September.[113]  

Already in 2020, the Spanish Ombudsman expressed concerns about the rights of migrant workers in the agricultural sector. It called on authorities, employers and agricultural organisations to adopt coordinated and urgent solutions to address the inhuman conditions under which these workers live in different parts of Spain, and to guarantee their labour rights.[114] In addition, the Spanish Ombudsman asked the Public Prosecutor for information on the investigations initiated after the death of a Nicaraguan citizen while working in a farm in the province of Murcia. The request also referred to the difficulties in accessing the asylum procedure.[115]

The NGO Accem also condemned the inhuman conditions faced by seasonal migrant workers employed in the agricultural sector across Spain. It recalls that, while the COVID-19 pandemic has shed light on the issue, it remains a persisting matter of concern in the country. This includes poor housing conditions, overcrowding, limited access to basic services such as water or sanitation, as well as a situation of homelessness and social exclusion, labour exploitation and abuse.[116] The UN Special Rapporteur on Poverty urged Spain to improve the deplorable conditions of seasonal workers, and to guarantee them decent work and housing conditions.[117] In November 2020, a judge in Huelva (Andalucía) decided that a seasonal worker living in an informal settlement was entitled to the right to be registered at the Municipality of Lepe.[118]




[1] El Salto Diario, ‘Familias migrantes denuncian trato intimidatorio y malas condiciones en un albergue de València’, 14 January 2021, available in Spanish at:

[2] Levante, ‘Investigan por mala praxis a una entidad que acoge migrantes en un albergue’, 22 January 2021, available in Spanish at:

[3] Cadena Ser, ‘La Guardia Civil detiene a la persona responsable de Cruz Roja de los centros de inmigrantes en Lanzarote’, 5 August 2021, available at:

[4] Human Rights Watch, ‘Spain: LGBT Asylum Seekers Abused in North African Enclave’, 28 April 2017, available at: See also The Guardian, ‘In limbo in Melilla: the young refugees trapped in Spain’s African enclave’, 10 May 2017, available at:

[5] Amnesty International, El asilo en España: Un sistema de acogida poco acogedor, May 2016, available in Spanish at:, 37.

[6] UNICEF, Acogida en España de los niños refugiados, 2016, available in Spanish at:

[7] Spanish Ombudsman, El asilo en España: La protección internacional y los recursos del sistema de acogida, June 2016, available in Spanish at:, 64.

[8] Council of Europe, Report of the fact-finding mission by Ambassador Tomáš Boček, Special Representative of the Secretary General on migration and refugees, to Spain, 18-24 March 2018, SG/Inf(2018)25, 3 September 2018, para 5.1.

[9] Ibid.

[10] Servicio Jesuita a Migrantes, Sacar del Laberinto. Informe Frontera Sur 2018, December 2018, 39.

[11] IOM, UNHCR, IOM and UNHCR ask for an urgent and coordinated response to the alarming reception conditions of refugees and migrants in Melilla, 3 August 2020, available at:

[12] Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Spain’s authorities must find alternatives to accommodating migrants, including asylum seekers, in substandard conditions in Melilla, 3 September 2020, available at:

[13] Defensor del Pueblo, ‘Informe anual 2020. Volumen l. Informe de gestión’, May 2021, available at:, 212-213.

[14] Human Rights Watch, World report 2021. Spain – Events of 2020, January 2021, available at:

[15] El Diario, ‘Interior mantiene el hacinamiento de más de 1.600 migrantes en el CETI de Melilla a pesar del riesgo de contagio’, 8 May 2020, available in Spanish at:

[16] Melilla Hoy, ‘Andalucía Acoge reclama al Ministerio del Interior la descongestión urgente del CETI de Melilla’, 28 August 2020, available in Spanish at:, Ceuta TV, ‘La Federación Andalucía Acoge exige a Interior que desbloquee la situación de los CETI de Ceuta y Melilla’, 28 August 2020, available in Spanish at:; El Diario, ‘Interior ignora desde abril la petición del Defensor del Pueblo de trasladar a migrantes del saturado CETI de Melilla a la península por el riesgo de contagio’, 26 August 2020, available in Spanish at:  

[17] Amnesty International, ‘Informe 2020/21 de Amnistía Internacional: La situación de los derechos humanos en el mundo. Human Rights in Spain’, 7 April 2021, available at:

[18] ECRE, ‘Boosting asylum in Spain – Making the most out of AMIF funding’, July 2021, available at:

[19] El Faro de Melilla, ‘La ocupación del CETI baja de los 1.000 residentes por primera vez desde 2017’, 8 July 2021, available at:

[20] Amnesty International, Fear and Fences: Europe’s approach to keeping refugees at bay, EUR 03/2544/2015, November 2015, 23.

[21] It has to be noted that migrants and asylum seekers/persons in need of international protection can be hosted in the same facilities at the Canary Islands, and in many occasions the sources do not distinguish properly between the two categories. Maybe sources speak about migrants, but also asylum seekers/persons in need of international protection can be included in such label.

[22] Canarias7,’¿Qué pasa con los inmigrantes cuando llegan a España en situación irregular?’, 19 November 2020, available in Spanish at:

[23] El Diario, ‘El Ministerio de Migraciones inspecciona el CIE de Fuerteventura para valorar su reapertura como espacio de acogida’, 19 June 2020, available in Spanish at:

[24] Cope, ‘La llegada de inmigrantes obliga a buscar edificios para que pasen la cuarentena’, 27 May 2020, available in Spanish at:

[25] Cadena Ser, ‘Siete migrantes llevan más de 24 días en un campamento de Arguineguín sin duchas’, 13 November 2020, available at:

[26] LCM24, ‘Arguineguín: la imagen del fracaso de la política migratoria del Gobierno y de la U’E, 19 December 2020, available in Spanish at:

[27] Europapress, Jueces para la Democracia ven “errónea” la política migratoria del Gobierno ante la situación del muelle de Arguineguín, 19 November 2020, available at:

[28] Cadena Ser, ‘El Defensor del Pueblo pide a Interior el cierre inmediato del campamento de Arguineguín’, 27 November 2020, available in Spanish at:

[29] Amnistía Internacional, ‘AI: “Es necesario afrontar la crisis migratoria en Canarias con pleno respeto de los derechos humanos y con transparencia”’, 27 November 2020, available in Spanish at:

[30] El País, ‘Un baño de lejía para clausurar el campamento del muelle de Arguineguín’, 30 November 2020, available in Spanish at:; El País, El Gobierno vacía el campamento de Arguineguín, 29 November 2020, available in Spanish at:

[31] El Diario, ‘Seis horas de angustia en la calle, sin recursos ni información, para los 227 migrantes desalojados del muelle de Arguineguín,’ 18 November 2020, available in Spanish at:

[32] El Diario, ‘Una investigación reporta “serios abusos” a la libertad de prensa durante el hacinamiento de migrantes en Arguineguín’, 15 March 2021, available at:

[33] El Diario, ‘Archivada la denuncia contra el hacinamiento de personas en Arguineguín’, 17 January 2022, available at:

[34] El Diario, ‘La Comisión Española de Ayuda al Refugiado critica el archivo del recurso sobre muelle de Arguineguín’, 18 January 2022, available at:

[35] El País,’ El defensor del pueblo: “Confinar inmigrantes en Canarias no es la solución”, 4 December 2020, available in Spanish at:; La Vanguardia, ‘CEAR pide al Gobierno que traslade a migrantes de Canarias a la Península’, 18 November 2020, available in Spanish at:

[36] Diario de Avisos, ‘Barcelona acogerá a 50 inmigrantes procedentes de Canarias’, 1 December 2020, available in Spanish at:; Europapress, ‘El traslado de 30 inmigrantes de Canarias a Sevilla eleva a casi 2.000 los enviados a la Península desde enero’, 25 November 2020, available in Spanish at:

[37] El Diario, Un gran campamento de migrantes llamado Canarias: “Quieren convertir las islas en Lesbos”, 21 November 2020, available in Spanish at:; El Día, ‘José Antonio Moreno Díaz: “Canarias es una válvula del Estado para medir el acceso de migrantes”, 14 November 2020, available in Spanish at:; El Día, ‘“Están utilizando todas las herramientas para que nadie salga del Archipiélago”’, 19 January 2021, available at:

[38] La Vanguardia, ‘Gobierno aprueba 83 millones para hacer frente a la crisis migratoria canaria’, 15 December 2020, available in Spanish at:

[39] Europapress, ‘Interior anuncia que pronto recuperará plenamente las devoluciones y se desvincula de los traslados a la Península’, 10 December 2020, available in Spanish at:; Voz Populi, ‘El Gobierno asegura que la devolución de inmigrantes es “uno de los ejes” de su política migratoria’, 10 December 2020, available in Spnaish at:

[40] El Diario, ‘Un hotel vaciado y dos campamentos a punto de abrir, así avanza el Plan Canarias de Migraciones’, 4 January 2021, available in Spanish at:; Carrera contrarreloj para construir los macrocampamentos de inmigrantes en Canarias, 4 December 2020, available in Spanish at:

[41] Público, ‘Los campamentos de Canarias no arrancan mientras las multas amenazan a los hoteles que alojan a migrantes’, 29 December 2020, available at:

[42] Preferente, ‘Canarias: expediente sancionador a diez hoteles por alojar inmigrantes ilegales’, 12 January 2022, available at:

[43] El Diario, ‘El Gobierno central abre el Canarias 50 con 442 plazas iniciales para albergar migrantes en la capital grancanaria’, 15 January 2021, available in Spanish at:

[44] Cope, ‘Médicos del Mundo teme que los nuevos campamentos de migrantes en Canarias repliquen la situación de Arguineguín’, 2 December 2020, available in Spanish at:

[45] El País, ‘Se inunda de aguas fecales uno de los campamentos de migrantes de Canarias’, 8 February 2021, available in Spanish at:

[46] El País, ‘Tension spreads through migrant shelters in Spain’s Canary Islands’, 8 February 2021, available in Spanish at:

[47] El Salto Diario, ‘Una huelga de hambre para llegar a la península tras tres meses de espera’, 17 January 2021, available at:

[48] ECRE, ‘Atlantic Route: Spain’s Blocking of Migrants in the Canary Islands Causes Suffering and Sparks Protests’, 12 February 2021, available in Spanish at:

[49] El Español, ‘El Gobierno da luz verde al traslado de 1.000 inmigrantes vulnerables de Canarias a la Península’, 4 February 2021, available in Spanish at:

[50] Canarias 7, ‘Interior no autoriza al Senado a entrar en los campamentos de inmigrantes’, 10 February 2021, available in Spanish at:

[51] CEAR, ‘Doce propuestas para abordar la migración en Canarias’, 9 February 2021, available in Spanish at:

[52] Information provided by Accem-Canarias on 17 February 2022.

[53] Information provided by Fundación Cruz Blanca on 11 February 2022.

[54] Information provided by Fundación Cruz Blanca on 11 February 2022.

[55] Information provided by the IOM on 4 March 2022.

[56] El Diario, ‘El Gobierno destina 15,8 millones de euros para la acogida de personas migrantes en Canarias’, 9 February 2021, available in Spanish at:

[57] Europa Press, ‘Marlaska dice que solo se traslada de Canarias a la Península a migrantes vulnerables o solicitantes de asilo’, 23 February 2021, available at:

[58] El Diario, ‘El delegado del Gobierno en Canarias considera “positivo” que los inmigrantes bloqueados en las Islas pidan la deportación’, 19 February 2021, available at:

[59] El Diario, ‘La Comisión Europea reconoce que España tiene la última palabra sobre la derivación de migrantes a la Península’, 9 March 2021, available at:

[60] CEAR, ‘Migración en Canarias, la emergencia previsible’, 1 March 2021, available at:, 5.

[61] Defensor del Pueblo, ‘La migración en canarias’, March 2021, p. 3, available at:

[62] El Salto Diario, ‘Pelotas de goma, la solución de las autoridades para atajar las tensiones en el campamento de Las Raíces’, 7 April 2021, available at:; Cadena Ser, ‘La Policía carga contra migrantes senegaleses en Las Raíces’, 6 April 2021, available at:

[63] El Diario, ‘Aumenta la tensión en el campamento de migrantes de Las Raíces: siete detenidos y huelga de hambre’, 15 March 2021, available at:; El Diario, ‘Migrantes y residentes protestan frente al campamento de Las Raíces por las malas condiciones de las instalaciones’, 20 February 2021, available at:

[64] El Diario, ‘El Gobierno central trabaja en mejoras del servicio de comidas y abastecimiento de agua en el campamento de Las Raíces’, 17 March 2021, available at:

[65] El Diario, ‘El mayor campamento para migrantes de Canarias se vacía y reduce a la mitad su ocupación’, 22 May 2021, available at:; El Diario, ‘Continúan los traslados al campamento de Las Raíces en plena protesta por sus condiciones’, 23 February 2021, available at:

[66] Canarias 7, ‘Casi 200 inmigrantes intentan pedir asilo ante el cierre de dos hoteles en Gran Canaria’, 22 March 2021, available at:

[67] Público, ‘Un juez dictamina que un migrante puede volar desde Canarias a la Península con su pasaporte o una solicitud de asilo’, 15 April 2021, available at:

[68] Canarias 7, ‘El Estado ha trasladado a la península a 1.800 inmigrantes en las últimas cinco semanas’, 10 May 2021, available at:

[69] El Diario, ‘El Gobierno acelera los traslados de migrantes de Canarias a la Península: 4.385 en lo que va de año’, 8 May 2021, available at:

[70] El Diario, ‘El campamento para migrantes de El Matorral ya suma casi una veintena de casos positivos de COVID-19’, 2 April 2021, available at:

[71] El Diario, ‘Migraciones ordena desalojar la nave para cuarentenas de Fuerteventura tras una denuncia del Defensor del Pueblo sobre sus malas condiciones’, 24 April 2021, available at:

[72] Amnistía Internacional, ‘Canarias: la infinita espera’, 4 May 2021, available at:

[73] El País, ‘Los traslados bajan a mínimos las cifras de migrantes acogidos en Canarias’, 31 May 2021, available at:

[74] Médicos del Mundo, ‘la salud naufraga en la frontera sur’, June 2021, available at:

[75] Amnistía Internacional, ‘El gobierno está a tiempo de impedir que Canarias se convierta en otra frontera europea sin derechos para las personas migrantes y refugiadas’, 27 July 2021, available at:

[76] Amnistía Internacional, ‘Canarias: fracaso en las políticas migratorias’, December 2021, available at:

[77] El Confidencial, ‘Canarias, sin plazas para acoger menores: el próximo niño deberá quedarse en comisaría’, 1 February 2022, available at:

[78] Information provided by Save the Children on 11 February 2022.

[79] Mixed Migration Centre, Save the Children, Médicos del Mundo, ‘A Gateway Re-opens: the growing popularity of the Atlantic route, as told by those who risk it’, February 2021, available at:

[80] Save the Children, ‘Canarias: Save the Children pide al gobierno un plan coordinado de acogida y protección de la infancia migrante y refugiada para evitar las vulneraciones de derechos de los niños y niñas’, 4 December 2020, available at:

[81] EASO, ‘Spanish State Secretary for Migration visits EASO following launch of new operation in the country’, 1 February 2021, available at:

[82] EASO, ‘Operating plan. Special support on reception agreed by EASO and Spain’, 2021, available at:

[83] Defensor del Pueblo, El Defensor exige a la Comunidad de Madrid y a la Delegación de Gobierno una solución urgente para restablecer la luz en la Cañada Real, 21 December 2020, available in Spanish at:

[84] United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Spain: Power outages put children’s lives at risk in informal settlement – UN experts, 22 December 2020, available in Spanish at:

[85] El País, Dejar a familias en esta terrible situación es una violación de convenios que España ha ratificado”, 9 January 2021, available in Spanish at:

[86] El País, ‘La ONU insiste: España incumple el derecho internacional en la Cañada Real’, 18 February 2021, available at:

[87] Europapress, Un juez abre diligencias por los cortes de luz en la Cañada Real, 22 December 2020, available in Spanish at:

[88] Tercera Información, ‘La Cañada Real ante la ola de frío: Urban pregunta a la Comisión Europea y el Alto Comisionado contra la Pobreza Infantil dirige una Carta a Ayuso’, 7 January 2021, available in Spanish at:

[89] Europapress, ‘Tres residentes en la Cañada (Madrid) están ingresados por congelación y 40 se han intoxicado por humo y butan’o, 19 January 2021, available in Spanish at:

[90] Cadena Ser, ‘Denuncia contra la Comunidad de Madrid y Naturgy por la muerte de un vecino de 74 años en la Cañada’, 13 January 2021, available in Spanish at:

[91] Consejo General de la Abogacía Española, La Fundación Abogacía Española condena la vulneración de derechos fundamentales en la Cañada Real, 15 January 2021, available in Spanish at:

[92] Universidad Pontifica Comillas, Comillas muestra su preocupación con la Cañada Real, 19 January 2021 available in Spanish at:

[93] Plataforma de Infancia, ‘Las organizaciones sociales demandan una respuesta urgente en la cañada real’, 2 February 2021, available in Spanish at:

[94] Público, ‘La Cañada Real se volverá a iluminar gracias a paneles solares después de seis meses sin luz’, 2 April 2021, available at:

[95] El Diario, ‘A punto de empezar la siguiente batalla contra el frío en la oscuridad de la Cañada Real’, 8 October 2021, available at:

[96] El Salto Diario, ‘Familias de la Cañada solicitan la formalización de sus contratos de luz’, 22 October 2021, available at:

[97] Plataforma Cívica de apoyo a la lucha por la luz en Cañada Real. Luz, Contratos y Mesa de seguimiento, available at:

[98] Amnistía Internacional, ‘Cañada real: 4.000 personas esperan la luz’, December 2021, available at:

[99] Público, ‘Sin casa, sin trabajo y sin comida: migrantes al límite en Andalucía’, 22 May 2020, available in Spanish at:

[100] Revista la Mar de Onuba, ‘Nuevas detenciones en el entorno agrario por explotación laboral de trabajadores en condiciones de esclavitud’, 27 May 2020, available in Spanish at:

[101] El País, ‘Cuando el coronavirus da menos miedo que el hambre, 12 May 2020, available at:;  El Diario, Sin acceso a agua ni posibilidad de aislarse: los temporeros que viven como si no hubiera pandemia’, 18 May 2020, available in Spanish at:

[102] El Salto Diario, ‘Dos heridos y más de 200 personas afectadas en un nuevo incendio de chabolas en Níjar’, 15 February 2021, available in Spanish at:

[103] Huelva Información, ‘Un incendio arrasa un asentamiento chabolista en Palos de la Frontera’, 19 February 2021, available in Spanish at:

[104] El País, ‘Un herido y 200 personas sin hogar tras incendiarse el mayor asentamiento chabolista de Almería’, 23 May 2021, available at:

[105] Huelva Información, ‘Dos muertos en un nuevo incendio de un asentamiento chabolista’, 19 May 2021, available at:

[106] APDHA – Asociación Pro derechos Humanos de Andalucía, ‘APDHA Huelva ve “inaplazable” una “propuesta habitacional seria” tras los dos incendios en asentamientos agrícolas’, 22 May 2021, available at:

[107] Newtral, ‘Un nuevo incendio en un asentamiento de temporeros en Huelva: “Llevamos 20 años con la misma situación”, 19 May 2021, available at:

[108] El Diario, ‘Los asentamientos de temporeros migrantes de Almería y Huelva siguen en precario pese a las ayudas millonarias’, 21 April 2021, available at:

[109] El País, ‘Las ‘villas miseria’ de los temporeros rebrotan del fuego’, 18 March 2021, available at:

[110] La Vanguarida, ‘Otro incendio en un asentamiento de Lepe incide en la “peligrosa situación de vida” de los migrantes’, 19 October 2021, available at:

[111] APDHA – Asociación Pro derechos Humanos de Andalucía, ‘APDHA Huelva denuncia la dejación de funciones de las administraciones tras el último incendio en el asentamiento de Lepe’, 4 October 2021, available at:

[112] APDHA – Asociación Pro derechos Humanos de Andalucía, ‘APDHA Huelva denuncia la falta de medidas reales del Ayuntamiento de Lepe para acabar con los asentamientos’, 8 April 2021, available at:

[113] El Digital Albacete, ‘800 inmigrantes malviven en 10 grandes asentamientos en Albacete capital’, 29 October 2021, available at:

[114] Defensor del Pueblo, El Defensor pide que se garanticen los derechos laborales y unas condiciones de habitabilidad dignas para los temporeros agrícolas, 21 July 2020 available in Spanish at:

[115] Europapress, ‘El Defensor del Pueblo pide información a la Fiscalía General del Estado sobre la muerte de un temporero en Lorca’, 11 August 2021, available in Spanish at:

[116] Accem, ‘Los rebrotes de la Covid-19 hacen visible la situación de pobreza y exclusión de los trabajadores temporeros migrantes’, 10 August 2020, available in Spanish at:

[117] El Diario, ‘El relator de la ONU sobre pobreza exige a España mejorar “las deplorables condiciones” de los temporeros “antes de que la gente muera”’, 24 July 2020, available in Spanish at:

[118] El Salto Diario, ‘La Justicia obliga al Ayuntamiento de Lepe a admitir el empadronamiento en chabolas’, 14 November 2020, available in Spanish at:

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