Unstable Housing- an ongoing problem for migrating people in Morocco

In recent weeks, there has been a lot less direct police interference of migrants in Tangier, ever since the death of Cédric, and the following riot, there has been some respite from raids.

But the ever present problem of unstable housing is as serious as ever.

Previously, the combination of police harassment and the lethal threat that posed, along with unstable housing and racism, were clearly the main contributors to deteriorating mental health, and factors that make their situation impossible.

Now, police harassment is less of a problem, and raids timed for the element of surprise have ceased for the moment.

But these raids was only one factor among many that made life difficult.

Daily racism directed at migrants from nearly all corners of Moroccan society is the largest factor to blame for the difficulty in finding stable housing.

Many migrants live in squatted apartments, some paying rent to fake landlords, staying in each house for little more than a few weeks at a time. The communal lifestyle means that an apartment rented cheaply is sufficient for up to twenty people to live together, yet keeping the same tenancy is almost impossible. Hostility from neighbours and landlords normally excludes migrants from renting legitimately.

Rent can be very cheap here, and simple homes do not need to cost a lot, and although finances are another challenge

For many Moroccans, having black skinned neighbours is enough reason to contact police, or to harass or attack migrants themselves.

We here have witnessed the racist mobs throwing stones and wielding lengths of wood to attack migrants. Also we have seen many scars left by migrant attacks, where people have been struck with stones or clubs on their heads, arms and legs. Migrants who have lived in Nador seem to all bear similar scars from the violence they experienced there.

Migrants homes in Tanger are usually kept for no more than a few weeks, lack either water or electricity, or are part built. At the same time few have secure front doors, often due to the previously frequent police raids.

The extra cost of moving house and being cheated out of rent paid, sometimes means migrants are going hungry, at a time when they face great challenges in their attempts to cross the border.

It seems that what needs to change here is the culture of racism, which explains why people cannot live in decent rooms and apartments and live as equals with their neighbours. So the problems here have no quick fix, no single issue that needs to be exposed, but a gradual and difficult fight towards equality and modern attitudes to ethnicity and culture.

More and more, young educated Moroccans can see as clear as day that this endemic racism is wrong and does not fit into the world they want to live in. So there is hope that things could improve, but for the time being, the pressure is never really off the migrants.

Many more bridges of direct solidarity need to be built between those in Europe and those in Africa that want a more equal world.

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