Morocco-Spain border: the murderous dead-end

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(Brussels) FIDH, EuroMed Rights, and the World Organisation against Torture (OMCT) denounce violence against migrants at the Spanish-Moroccan border in a joint statement, and call on both countries’ authorities to hold the perpetrators to account.

On 23 August 2018, 116 people have again been deported from Ceuta to Morocco, and two have died during the mass arrests conducted in Morocco as a result. These events are but another example of the consequences that a violent, restrictive and security-oriented approach of migration policies may have.

Among the deportees, 17 have been summoned to the first instance court of Tetouan on 10 September; they have been sanctioned to two months’ imprisonment for irregular entry and stay in the country, contempt of officers during the performance of their duties, and weapon possession. The rest of the group have been forcibly displaced by the Moroccan police force to other towns. Peaceful demonstrations before the Spanish consulate in Tangier last 31 August have been brutally repressed.

It is urgent that Moroccan and Spanish authorities put an end to the general context in which such tragic events have unfolded especially the unacceptable economic and social insecurity faced by migrants in Morocco including when in a regular situation; the impossibility to reach Spain even to seek asylum in the dedicated offices in Ceuta and Melilla; violence and harassment exerted in full impunity against migrants and some of their supports among the NGO sector.

In this context, EuroMed Rights, the FIDH and OMCT:

  • Stress that it is essential that perpetrators of violent acts are sanctioned, whoever they are, and thereby express their concern at the absence of proceedings against the official authorities who have acted violently on both sides of the border;
  • Consider that Morocco should, as a matter of urgency, adopt without further delay a law on asylum and migration, alongside with a genuine integration policy, in conformity with international law enabling the full and effective respect of the rights of migrants and refugees

Finally, it is chocking to see Spain, in plain contradiction with earlier commitments by the new governments resorting to such violence and deporting migrants collectively – allegedly with the complicity of the Moroccan authorities. Such practices, which have been unanimously condemned by the United Nations, the Council of Europe and civil society organisations, have to stop immediately and the provision covering such practices in the law on security be abolished (so called « Citizens Security” Law).

In this respect, our organisations welcome the reopening of the inquiry into the Tarajal massacre back in February 2014 where fifteen people were killed as a result of the use of anti-riot material by the Guardia Civil. We also welcome the opening of an inquiry by the judicial police in Morocco to investigate the causes of the deaths of the two Malians, during the mass arrests last August.

Our organisations hereby express their solidarity with the victims of these events; We express our support to Moroccan and Spanish civil society organisations as well as with migrant community organisations in Morocco which have immediately mobilised to ensure a close follow-up as well as support to victims.

EuroMed Rights
International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)
World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT)

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