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Mauritania Immigration Detention

Mauritania has become a favoured transit point for African migrants attempting to reach Europe. The introduction of stricter border controls in Morocco and the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla in the mid-2000s forced migrants to search out new routes, which resulted in the Mauritanian port city of Nouadhibou, located 800 km southeast of Spain’s Canary Islands, becoming a key departure hub. Thousands of irregular migrants enter the country yearly, particularly from Senegal and Mali, to set out on perilous trips to the Canaries. Mauritania has established agreements with Spain on implementing stricter controls, including police checkpoints along its borders and surveillance operations to interdict smuggling vessels. In addition, Mauritania operates one dedicated immigration detention centre in Nouadhibou, nicknamed “Guantanamito” by detainees, which has been sharply criticised for its poor conditions.

Mauritania Quick Facts

  • International migrants:
    New asylum applications :