In Moroccan Nador, there is little to note about Melilla’s immigrant drama

In Moroccan Nador, there is little to note about Melilla's immigrant drama

France Press agency

NOS . News

  • Samira worthy

    Morocco correspondent

  • Samira worthy

    Morocco correspondent

The Moroccan fishing town of Nador is quiet. It is a popular holiday destination among Dutch Moroccans with its roots in the region. At the end of last month, the city made world news for an entirely different reason: in a storm From the Spanish enclave of Melilla, on the border with Nador, at least 23 migrants were killed, according to Morocco; Human rights organizations talk about 37 victims.

The locals want to talk about everything but the last storm. “What can I say? It just happened,” said a shopkeeper in the mall. Zakaria, 27, from Nador, understands this. “Despite the claim that there is freedom of expression, people are still afraid to speak to the press.”

When you’re walking around the city now, it’s hard to imagine a tragedy happening in the border posts. There is no trace of refugees from sub-Saharan Africa. It was immigrants from this part of the continent who tried to make their way to European lands with sticks and stones.

AMDH has distributed pictures of migrants groaning on the ground. AMDH is one of the few concerned with the fate of immigrants in northern Morocco.

The Moroccan Association for Human Rights regularly publishes photos of people who died or went missing in the storm on social media. For example, 20-year-old medical student Mohanad from Sudan. He was killed while trying to reach Europe.

The president of the Moroccan Association for Human Rights, Omar Naji, says he and his colleagues are taking a huge risk to do this work. According to him, the migrants face repression by the Moroccan and Spanish police forces year after year. “We have good relations with the refugees we visit in the forests and other places,” Nagy added.

These are the images circulating AMDH:

  • NOS

  • AMDH Nador / Twitter

    The human rights organization AMDH posted this photo on social media

Tensions escalated three days before the storm. First, the migrants are said to have been chased by Moroccan authorities from a makeshift camp in the mountains near Nador. After wandering for three days without food and drink, about two thousand men are said to have decided to go to Melilla.

They were also at risk of deportation to southern Morocco. This happens more often with immigrants, according to the story of Osman from Guinea Conakry. He says he narrowly escaped deportation in El-Ayoun when the house where he was staying was raided. He doesn’t know where his roommates have been taken.

Naji learns about these stories. Not only men are transported, but women and children are also transported.” According to the Moroccan Association for Human Rights, 1,300 people have already been transferred from the Nador region to other cities in Morocco.

AMDH believes it is necessary to know how many migrants died in the latest storm because they did not receive medical help on time. “Many family members are calling our organization for news and they are entitled to receive answers,” says Nagy.

They want a better future in Europe, and many Moroccans want that too.

Omar Nagy, President of the human rights organization AMDH

According to Zakaria, the residents of Nador have no problem with the presence of immigrants. “The feeling that they are going to take our jobs is not alive here. Most of the Moroccan youth are unemployed.”

According to him, this is the reason why many Moroccans understand immigrants and refugees. “They want a better future in Europe, and many Moroccans want it themselves.”

Nagy would like to stress that the dire situation of migrants is mainly the result of the failed immigration policy of the European Union. Zakaria criticizes EU-Morocco cooperation on migration: “Why should Morocco be the guardian of Europe?”

Nador was now preparing for the arrival of the Moroccan-European holidaymakers here. They can cross the border without any problems. It is just a dream for most Moroccans and immigrants.

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