Update from the ongoing deportations of migrants from the externalized border of the European Union

On Tuesday, 10th of February, the Moroccan authorities launched a large-scale operation to arrest and deport hundreds of migrants. They tormed the Gurugu mountain, destroying and burning the camp, and arresting around a thousand people who were than brought into a makeshift camp. Their photo, prints and nationalities were recorded. In the course of the day, between 20 and 30 busses left for Southern Morocco and distributed the Gurugu detainees around a dozen different
cities: Errachidia, Goulmina, El Jadida, Safi, Kelaat, Sraghna, Chichaoua, Tiznit, Essaouira, Youssoufia, Agadir. Up until now, most people remained imprisoned in different houses, they are given food and clothing. Although they are being told that they will be freed soon, and that the Moroccan state is only taking their ID in order to regularize them, it seems more like the Gurugu inhabitants will be deported.
Several meetings with different ambassadors have been taking place over the last couple of days, and food, shelter and clothing has been provided before deportations of migrants in the past. It may be difficult to speculate, but if the Moroccan authorities just wanted to to drive people away from the border, they would not bother keeping them
for over 2 days now.

Instead, they might be preparting to deport into people’s countries of origin or even to Mauretania, as some claim. This
morning, the police raided Gurugu again, filling another 4 busses with detainees and burning any left-overs of the camps. The cameroonian camp is now completly destroyed, with hardly anybody left, but also the other communities have suffered severely, and hundreds of their brothers have been deported.

In this operation, Morocco has violated many of its own laws, including the arrest of minors, the absence of individual case-by-case evaluation, or the detention of people over more than 24h without giving any reason.
Yet, the Moroccan authorities try to maintain their human rights’ facade: the ministerial delegate Charki Draiss showed photos at a press conference of migrants being given food and being well cared-for. The government’s states that it doesn’t want to tolerate any more migrants’ camps near the EU borders. It is not difficult to guess who is behind
this large-scale operation: It seems that the European Union has paid Morocco 10M Euros to conduct parts of the operation, especially a large-scale intervention of the Red Cross only few days before the deportations. In early February, the Red Cross generously handed out food to the Gurugu inhabitants, but they had to fill in a questionnaire.
The migrants now believe that these questionnaire and the accompanying visits to the forest served to gather information about the number and nationalities of the Gurugu migrants.
It seems evident that this whole operation is just another disdainful attempt to comply with the EU’s murderous border regime.

Meanwhile, it is not clear yet whether the Moroccan government will extend the operation to other forest camps or migrant quarters in Northern Morocco. Police have been seen around other forests in the Nador area (e.g. Boringo), but up until now, the situation seems calm.
In Tangier, however, several dozen people have been arrested around a market area, they are now being held in the Miznana commissariat. Again, it is unsure whether this is part of a larger strategy or just random intimidation and harassment.

Whatever the case, we will continue to support any person who is harassed or arrested because they are claiming one of their most basic human rights: the freedom of movement.

Big thanks to everybody who has already supported morally or materially!
Spread the information, spread the call-out for support and fight against fortress Europe!!!


9 thoughts on “Update from the ongoing deportations of migrants from the externalized border of the European Union

  1. It is not the role of national Red Cross/Red Crescent societies to provide data to assist a state in policing migrants, as this clearly destroys the trust necessary to perform humanitarian work.. Any suspected infringement of local Red Cross/Red Crescent impartiality should be reported to the International Committee of the Red Cross.
    Kindest wishes to you all.

  2. UPDATE: this morning, the police conducted raids in Boringo, a forest camp full with women and children. These people are waiting for boats, and are usually not harassed by the police. The forest is not that known and usually not in the media, which is why it seems the Moroccan authorities are getting quite serious about actually evicting the Northern Moroccan camps.

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