Disastrous and deadly situation for migrants in Nador (Morocco)

March 21st 2019

On March 20th, the Moroccan Association of Human Rights (AMDH) presented in Rabat a report on migration in Nador (northeastern Morocco). The AMDH has described the city as a "no-go zone" and has exposed the grim toll of 244 bodies of migrants registered by the El Hassani regional hospital in 2018 (most drowned at sea), compared to 14 in 2017. Besides the number of deaths, the AMDH deplores the "disastrous situation" linked to the illegal detention of migrants in Nador.

The NGO had monitored about fifteen camps in northern Morocco, where between 2,000 and 3,000 foreign migrants were waiting to cross the border to Spain. These camps are subject to more and more frequent dismantling operations by specialized security forces (340 raids in 2018 compared to 92 in 2017, 90 in 2016 and 41 in 2015). According to the AMDH, during these operations, phones and money of migrants are confiscated, without minutes. These searches do not only target illegal camps but also the residences of migrants and they are often carried out with violence. Three cases of attempted rape have been reported.

According to the AMDH, about 9,100 migrants were arrested and transferred to other more remote areas of the country. These repressions come under inhuman conditions and minors are not spared, in violation of the international conventions of child protection yet signed by Morocco.

By constructing sharp-edged barriers in Ceuta and Melilla and reinforcing the militarization of borders, European and Moroccan migration policies have simply diverted the trajectory of migrants and especially favored a juicy and deadly traffic, denounces the AMDH. The association regrets that the hunt is mainly focused on migrants and not on traffickers. It notes that European aid (140 million euros in 2018) to counter illegal emigration is centered on the security, without significant strengthening of Moroccan relief resources.