Home Foreign Human rights watchdog slams Morocco for ‘unlawful’ crackdown on Sub-Saharan

Human rights watchdog slams Morocco for ‘unlawful’ crackdown on Sub-Saharan

Moscow        –         The Moroccan authorities’ recent crackdown on sub-Saharan refugees and migrants, is “cruel” and “unlawful,” a prominent human rights watchdog said on Friday, calling on the government to “respect the human rights of migrants.”
Amnesty International reported that since July, Moroccan law enforcement forces have been carrying out major raids in the country’s northern provinces of Tangiers, Nador and Tetuan.
According to the Moroccan Association for Human Rights, 5,000 people have been seized and replaced in buses to the country’s remote areas near the Algerian border or in the south of Morocco to be abandoned there.

The migrants’ legal documentation has not been checked, some of them have been handcuffed, and in some cases they have had to trek miles in order to reach an urban center from where it would be possible to travel back home.

“This shocking crackdown on migrants and refugees in Morocco is both cruel and unlawful.

“It represents a worrying backslide for a government that in 2013 introduced new asylum and migration policy commitments to bring Morocco into compliance with international standards,” Heba Morayef, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa director, was quoted as saying by Amnesty International.

She went on to say that the Moroccan authorities should “immediately cease these discriminatory round ups and uphold the positive commitments taken over the past five years to respect the human rights of migrants.”

According to Morayef, the measures to be taken should include the adoption of a law on asylum which would promote refugee protection.

“While the Moroccan authorities have the right to regulate entry, stay and exit, this right must be exercised in a way that is consistent with international human rights law and in accordance with the Refugee Convention,” Morayef said.

The most recent raids followed the Spanish authorities’ measures taken against sub-Saharan refugees.

On Aug. 22, around 200 migrants attempted to enter the Spanish enclave city of Ceuta, located near the Moroccan border, by storming a border fence, while around 800 migrants attempted to enter Ceuta on July 26.
The clashes left over 20 law enforcement agents injured.

On Aug. 23, the Spanish authorities transferred 116 sub-Saharan refugees back to Morocco.

“Spain and the EU in general should refocus their cooperation with Morocco, prioritizing the protection of human rights and the creation of an asylum system in the country, as required under international law,” Morayef said.

According to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Morocco is popular among migrants both as a transit country for those aspiring to reach Spain, and as a host country.

Over 4,700 refugees were registered by the UNHCR in the country in 2017.
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