I spent my first few days back in Morocco meeting African migrants living in tents in the forest or in shacks on a university campus in Oujda.
Moroccan security forces commonly beat, otherwise abuse, and sometimes steal from sub-Saharan migrants in the northeastern part of the country, Human Rights Watch said in a report released Monday. The Spanish authorities are not much friendlier. Most of the migrants I met – young guys from Cameroon, Nigeria, Guinea and Mali – have been beaten by police at least once. I tell some of their stories in this article for Vice UK.
Last Thursday, seven migrants drowned in Spanish waters around Ceuta as they tried to reach the enclave. But while getting to Europe entails mortal risks, most of the migrants see no way back either. Many are too poor to go home, or risk their lives if they do. The risk of being beaten is not enough to make them give up the dream of reaching Europe, as I argued in this blog post for The Economist.
Brussels puts enormous pressure on Rabat to stem the flow of migrants, particularly into Ceuta and Melilla, two Spanish enclaves on Morocco’s northern coast. But it’s clear that longer term solutions are required that mean people will not have to take these incredibly dangerous journeys.
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