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"This is reminiscent of the systemic violence to which the migrant communities of Nador have been subjected for years by Spanish and Moroccan law enforcement," they stressed.
On Monday, 51 Moroccan and international NGOs signed a letter requesting the immediate opening of an independent investigation by Morocco, Spain and the international community into the deaths of 23 African migrants who tried to enter the Spanish city of Melilla.
The tragedy occurred on June 24 when around 2,000 sub-Saharan migrants headed towards the Melilla fence, from the Moroccan border town of Nador. In the attempt to breach the fence and cross into the Spanish enclave city in Africa, 23 people died and dozens were injured.
News agency MAP reported that Moroccan security forces "intervened" when the migrants tried to scale or cut through a fence. Spanish authorities in Melilla said most of the migrants were forced back except for 130 that managed to reach the enclave.
The signatories of the letter demanded that the Moroccan authorities proceed with the return of the corpses to their families and condemned "the lack of prompt attention to the wounded emigrants. They described migration policies based on security as "failed" and denounced "the deadly nature" of security cooperation on migration between Morocco and Spain.
Human rights defenders recalled that arrest campaigns, raids in the camps, and forced displacement of emigrants multiplied after the resumption of bilateral cooperation in March.
The signatories of the letter pointed out that the Nador emigrants had not had access to medicines or health care for over a year and a half. They also claimed that their camps have been set on fire, which prompted a spiral of violence.
"This is reminiscent of the systemic violence to which the migrant communities of Nador have been subjected for years by Spanish and Moroccan law enforcement," the NGOs stressed.