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Girl born on migrant boat granted Spain nationality, in a first

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.

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. Candidates need to 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, 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.