A girl born on a migrant boat has obtained Spanish nationality, in a first

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

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

The court in the province of Guipuzcoa (north) said it based its decision on the best interests of the child, which was a “constitutionally legitimate objective”.

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

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

While her mother managed to be officially registered, she failed to obtain the same for her daughter, preventing her from accessing health or education.

The court’s decision ratifies an earlier court decision in November, challenged by the public prosecutor who had appealed.

Being born in Spain alone is not enough to obtain citizenship. Applicants must have Spanish parents, have lived in the country for 10 years or be married to a national.

Last year, more than 40,000 migrants arrived in Spain by sea, mostly from Morocco, according to the Interior Ministry.

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

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

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