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SPANISH CITIZENSHIP

In a first for Spain, girl born on migrant boat is granted Spanish nationality

Spain has granted Spanish nationality to a girl born on a migrant boat as her Cameroonian mother tried to reach Europe, Spanish authorities said Wednesday, adding it was a first for the country.

In a first for Spain, girl born on migrant boat is granted Spanish nationality

A court granted “for the first time Spanish nationality to a little girl, born in May 2018 on board a migrant boat, which was heading towards the Spanish coast”, judicial authorities said on their website.

The court in northern Guipuzcoa province said it had based its decision on the child’s best interests which was a “constitutionally legitimate objective”.

Leaving her stateless would have put her in a “situation of inequality” compared to other children, meaning a “significant negation” of her basic rights including the right to education, the court added.

Since arriving in Spain at the southern coastal town of Tarifa with her mother, the girl has lived in the country.

While her mother managed to be officially registered, she failed to get the same for her daughter barring her access to health or education.

The court’s decision ratifies an earlier court ruling in November, contested by the state attorney which had appealed it.

Being born in Spain is not enough on its own to obtain nationality. In most cases candidates need to either have Spanish parents, have lived in the country for 10 years or be married to a national. Foreign children born in Spain can obtain Spanish nationality one year after obtaining Spanish residency and legally living in the country.

READ MORE: How children born in Spain to foreign parents can obtain Spanish nationality

Last year, more than 40,000 migrants arrived in Spain by sea, having mostly travelled from Morocco, according to the interior ministry.

Four migrants including a young child died and a fifth was missing Wednesday after their boat sank trying to reach Spain, local officials said.

Twelve people were rescued when the boat ran into trouble off the coast of the region of Murcia in southeastern Spain, the officials said.

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MIGRATION

Melilla migrants sentenced to 8 months in Moroccan jail

Morocco on Thursday sentenced 14 migrants to eight months in jail following their arrest a day before a deadly mass crossing into the Spanish enclave of Melilla in June.

Melilla migrants sentenced to 8 months in Moroccan jail

Fourteen migrants have been sentenced to eight months in Moroccan jail following their arrest a day before a deadly mass crossing into the Spanish enclave of Melilla in June, their lawyer has said.

“It’s a very severe judgement,” the lawyer, Mbarek Bouirig, told AFP. He said he planned to appeal.

The accused, mostly from impoverished Sudan, were arrested on June 23 during a Moroccan operation near Melilla, which along with Spain’s other enclave of Ceuta is the EU’s only land border with Africa.

At least 23 migrants died the following day when around 2,000 people, many also Sudanese, stormed the fences along the frontier. It was the heaviest death toll in years of attempted crossings into the enclaves.

The 14 were charged with offences including belonging to a criminal immigration gang and insulting law enforcement officers, Bouirig said.

Omar Naji of the AMDH human rights group, which monitored the trial, said the migrants did not try to cross the border.

 “Why condemn migrants whose sole wrongdoing was to have taken refuge in a forest?” he asked.

A Moroccan court last month sentenced 33 migrants to 11 months in jail for illegal entry, while a separate trial of 29 migrants including a minor continues.

Spanish rights group Caminando Fronteras says as many as 37 people lost their lives in the mass crossing attempt, higher than the official toll of 23.

The United Nations, the African Union and independent rights groups have condemned the use of excessive force by Moroccan and Spanish security personnel.

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