Hazards at the borders: Update from the 1/07/2015

Despite a “reinforced” wave of repression, many people try to get to Europe, leaving from Morocco hidden in cars, trying to climb the fences around Ceuta or Melilla, or by boat (in 2015, 71 boats with 1260 migrants have arrived in Andalucia)
These crossing attempts result sometimes in human dramas, severe injuries or “disappearances” which are often not reported by mainstream media or by the authorities. Thus it’s not uncommon that someone alerts us about the disappearing of a migrant while trying to cross. But any further inquieries often remain in vain!
The repression organised by Morocco in cooperation with Spain and financed by the EU extends to the borders by an increasing militarisation, by real raids in the forests where the migrants seek shelter, in the markets (Soukh) and in the cities where migrants live.

The crossings
In the past months the crossings in the Strait of Gibraltar have become harder for the people trying their luck to get to Europe:

  • 4 out of 5 boats are “recovered” by the Moroccan navy towards Morocco. It seems that the navy is increasingly active in locating boats leaving from Morocco, as they can resort to their own elaborate systems of surveillance and to critical information provided by the Spanish authorities about the presence of such boats in the Mediterranean.
    For example, the commander Vicente Corral, member of the operational command of the staff of the Guardia Civil has underlined “the cooperation between all actors operating in the sea” as a key to the fight against drug and human smuggling networks. He has even enlisted the “shipping companies” as collaborators with the security forces because of their continious presence in the sea.
    It makes us wonder if this is still a “rescue operation” or rather a “push-back”.
  • The crossing conditions become ever more difficult for migrants. They need to find routes which are less surveilled by the Moroccan navy but more dangerous, the technical possibilities are limited by the lack of material, and they can only alert NGO’s or official organisations about their journey when they are already in real danger, out of fear that the Moroccan navy will come and arrest them. Following this new configuration of the repressive Moroccan forces and the Spaniards, some people throw themselves into the water as soon as they are close to the Salvamento Maritimo, in order to force them to rescue and not let them be pushed-back by the Moroccans.
    Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YUlacakkZVU&feature=youtu.be
    Further info: http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/157 and http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/160
  • A reported boat at sea with 22 people on it “disappeared”
  • Two Senegalese people drowned on the 27th of June in a boat intercepted by the Moroccan navy in Tangier.


The raids
The makeshift camps where the migrants live near the border were again rounded up by the Moroccan police: the personal belongings of the migrants are destroyed and some of the migrants are arrested and deported to cities in the south of Morocco, far away from the borders.

21/06, a raid took place in the forest of Zoutya (Nador/Melilla): the personal belongings were destroyed and 15 migrants were deported to Casablanca

25/06, raid in the forest of Bolingo (Nador/Melilla): 38 people were arrested and deported to Fes and Meknes

26/06, raid in the market of Selouane (Nador): 11 migrants were arrested, some even with residence permit. Some managed to escape.

27/06, in Nador: a boat with 25 people (4 women, one of them pregnant, and 2 babies) was intercepted by the Moroccan navy. They were arrested along with 12 other migrants, all of them got deported to Fes and Meknes.


Cassiago (Ceuta):

The migrants at Cassiago tell us that the police comes to Cassiago at least once a week, sometimes arresting people and destroying their belongings.
Because of these arrests and deportations the camps are disorganised, which prevents new crossing attempts . Furthermore, the deported people  have to trace back their way up North in order to join others in the forest and re-try the journey. There is in fact no alternative for them, neither going back to their country of origin, nor a regularisation in Morocco.

Since the beginning of Ramadan, some groups of Moroccans harass subsaharan migrants. There were several demos by some Moroccan inhabitants, against the presence of migrants.

Video shot by a migrant

The violence resumed on the 28th of June after a sit-in, and it intensifies due to the intervention of the state. Before, the police hasn’t been doing anything when they were called to prevent the violent evictions of migrants’ houses. Now it seems that the authorities pursue their policy of intimidating the migrants at the borders: Without proposing any alternative, the wilaya of Tangier is optimist to give back the squatted flats to their “landlords”, effectively kicking out migrants leaving them on the streets.

At the same time, the trial of Charles, a young Senegalese who was killed last year during similar clashes was postponed yet again. Until now, there is no justice for him and other victimes of racist murders in Boukhalef.

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