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Morocco and Spain must investigate the death of migrants who tried to cross into Melilla

Morocco and Spain must investigate the death of migrants who tried to cross into Melilla

“We are deeply concerned about the death of at least 23 African migrants and the injury of some 76 more when they tried to cross from Morocco to Spain on June 24,” said the spokeswoman for the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

At a press conference in Geneva, Ravina Shamdasani spoke of the incident that with highest number of fatalities occurred in many years in either of the two Spanish enclaves in Morocco.

The tragedy occurred when a group of African people tried to climb the wire fence that marks the border of Melilla in Morocco, with the intention of reaching Europe.

Shamdasani indicated that the Office has received reports of migrants beaten with batons, who were also kicked, pushed and stoned by Moroccan officials as they climbed the six to ten meter high barbed wire fence.

According to these reports, 140 Moroccan border guards were also injured.

Establish responsibilities

“We call on the two countries to undertake an effective and independent investigation as a first step to establish the circumstances of the deaths and injuries, the possible responsibilities and ensure accountabilityas appropriate, “said the spokeswoman.

The Office also urged Morocco and Spain to respect the human rights of migrants at their common border and to ensure that their border agents “refrain from any use of excessive force” against those people.

In the same way, he considered that both these countries and the European Union, the African Union and other relevant international and regional actors must guarantee the implementation of border governance measures based on human rights.

These measures, the spokeswoman added, would include the access to safe migration pathwaysindividualized evaluations and protection against collective expulsions and refoulement, as well as against arbitrary arrests and detentions.

Safe and orderly migration

The UN Committee on Migrant Workers joined the Office of the High Commissioner in calling on Morocco, Spain and the other States of the European Union to expand the availability of pathways for safe and orderly migration, and to take measures to guarantee and respect the right to seek and receive asylum.

The dead and wounded migrants, the Committee noted, “intended to cross the border in search of a better life based on their legitimate human rights.

He added that it is yet to be determined whether the victims died when they fell from the fence, in a stampede or as a result of some action by border control agents, for which they urged the two countries to carry out immediate and exhaustive investigations and to make hold those responsible accountable.

The Committee also fought for the guarantee of the access to justice for victims and their families. “The authorities must also provide full reparation for human rights violations, including violations of the principle of non-refoulement.”

Support families in the transfer of bodies

He added that the Moroccan government has an obligation to preserve the bodies of the deceased, identify them, inform their families and provide the necessary support for the transfer of the corpses. As for the wounded, he stated that they should be given the medical care they need.

The independent experts that make up the Committee deplored the violations of the right to life enshrined in the International Convention on Migrant Workers and reminded all States that migrants must not be subjected to any cruel treatmentinhuman or degrading.

States must guarantee that all policies and practices on their borders fully respect all the obligations set forth in human rights laws, “ensuring the right to life, dignity, security and physical integrity of migrants in all circumstances”, they pointed out.

To conclude, the Committee appealed to the international community and States to guarantee that such events do not happen agains and called on all concerned governments of host and transit countries to offer migrants “security, dignity and humanity, in accordance with their international obligations.”

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Written by Editor TLN

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