Morocco And Spain Accused Of Migrant Deaths Cover-Up

Stalled and inadequate investigations into the deaths of 37 migrants on the Moroccan-Spanish border “smacks of a cover-up” by those two nations, says the rights group Amnesty International.

Its report finds “evidence of crimes under international law at the Melilla border” where at least 37 sub-Saharan African migrants died while attempting to cross from Morocco into Spain on 24 June.

The BBC Africa Eye investigation, Death on the Border, also uncovered evidence contradicting the official version of events.

A joint statement by UN special experts has since raised the official death count from 23 to 37 citing “excessive and lethal use of force by Moroccan and Spanish law enforcement authorities”.

The Amnesty International report marks six months since the tragedy.

“The unlawful force used in Melilla has left an indelible stain not just on the hands of the Moroccan and Spanish security forces, but also on the hands of all those pushing racist migration policies, predicated on the likelihood of harm and violence against those seeking to cross borders,” said Amnesty International’s Secretary General Agnès Callamard.

“Instead of fortifying borders, authorities must open safe and legal routes for people seeking safety in Europe,” she added.

The Spanish and Moroccan authorities have declined to comment on the new allegations.