Monday, March 18, 2013

Doctors Without Borders (MSF) Exiting Morocco In Protest of Anti-Migrant Violence

Here is a piece from Reuters AlertNet on the notable and significant pull out of Doctors without Borders from Morocco in protest of the violence being met by African migrants in Morocco.

MSF reports rise in anti-migrant violence in Morocco

By Katie Nguyen

LONDON (AlertNet) - Migrants from sub-Saharan Africa have been subjected to increasing abuse, degrading treatment and violence by Moroccan and Spanish security forces since the end of 2011, Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) has said.

In the last year alone, MSF teams in Morocco’s eastern areas of Nador and Oujda, which border Algeria and the Spanish territory of Medilla, have treated the physical wounds of more than 1,100 migrants.

"Since April last year, in particular, we have seen broken arms, legs, hands and jaws, as well as broken teeth and concussions, amongst others," David Cantero, MSF head of mission in Morocco, said in a statement.

"These injuries are consistent with migrants' accounts of having been attacked by the security forces," he added.

In a new report, "Violence, Vulnerability and Migration: Trapped at the Gates of Europe", MSF said the European Union has over the past decade tightened its border controls and increasingly delegated responsibility for policing illegal immigration to countries that border it.

Since December 2011, there has been a "dramatic rise" in police raids on migrant communities in Morocco, MSF said, with reports of pregnant women, children, refugees and asylum seekers arrested and dumped in the no-man's land separating Morocco and Algeria.

And it’s not just security forces that are attacking migrants. MSF also blamed criminal gangs, bandits, smugglers and traffickers for widespread attacks against migrants.

Classified as "illegal" in Morocco, the predominantly West African migrants are offered little or no protection by the Moroccan state and so are attacked with impunity, MSF said.

"MSF's experience shows that the longer that sub-Saharan migrants are in Morocco, the more vulnerable they become," the report said.


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