29 deaths at European borders: The migration policy agreement between Spain and Morocco that kills!

Photo: AMDH

The tragic events of 24 June 2022, on the border between Nador and Melilla, in Morocco, are a violent reminder of the failure of security-based migration policy. The 27 deaths and hundreds of injured people both on the migrants’ side and the Moroccan security forces’ side are the tragic example of the European Union’s (EU) policies of externalising its borders, with the complicity of a southern country, Morocco. The death of these young Africans at the borders of “Fortress Europe” is a warning of the deadly nature of the security cooperation on immigration between Morocco and Spain.

The premises of this Friday 24 June’s tragedy have been announced for several weeks. The arrest campaigns, the raids on the camps and the forced displacements of migrants in Nador and its region were foreshadowing this drama. The resumption of the security cooperation between Morocco and Spain on migration in March 2022 has had as a direct consequence the multiplication of coordinated actions between the two countries.

These actions are characterised by human rights violations against migrants in Nador, Tetuan and Tangier, as well as in El Aaiún y Dajla. The tragedy of this sad day is the consequence of a planned pressure against people in the move.

For more than a year and a half, migrants of Nador doesn’t have been excluded from access to medicine and health care,, their camps have been burned down and their belongings looted, their meager food supplies destroyed and even the little drinking water available to them in the camps confiscated.

Those punitive expedition have led to a spiral of violence on both sides. A condemnable violence whatever its origins, but at the same time reminding us of the systemic violence that migrants in Nador have been facing for years from both Spanish and Moroccan authorities. These practices have been condemned on numerous occasions by national, regional and UN bodies.

Regarding this new tragedy at the borders, and considering the magnitude of the human toll, which unfortunately will be increased, the signatory organisations of this press release announce the following:

We express our deepest condolences to the families of the victims, among the migrants as well as among the ranks of the police.

We condemn the lack of immediate care for the injured migrants, which has increased the number of victims. We demand that adequate and quality health care be provided to all those hospitalised as a result of this tragedy.

We demand that the Moroccan authorities proceed with the identification and return of the victims’ remains to their families, in collaboration with the migrant communities.

We demand the immediate opening of an independent judicial enquiry on both the Moroccan and Spanish sides, as well as at the international level, to shed light on this human tragedy.

We demand an end to the criminal policies financed by the European Union and its many accomplices, the States, some international organisations and several civil society organisations that subcontract these criminal policies.

We call on the diplomatic representations of African countries present in Morocco to fully assume their responsibilities in terms of protection of their nationals, instead of being complicit in the current policies.

We call on human rights and migration rights organisations and movements to mobilise at this critical moment when the right to life is more than ever at risk.

25 June 2022, Rabat


  1. Moroccan Association for Human Rights (AMDH)
  2. Association d’aide aux migrants en situation de vulnérabilité- Maroc (AMSV)
  3. ATTAC Cadtm Morocco
  4. Caminando Fronteras- Spain
  5. Comisión Española de Ayuda al Refugiado
  6. Coordinadora de Barrios
  7. Council of Sub-Saharan Migrants in Morocco (CMSM) – Morocco
  8. EuroMed Rights – Europe
  9. Alternatives Espaces citoyens – Niger
  10. Pateras de la Vida- Morocco
  11. Alarm Phone- Europe – Africa
  12. Borderline-Europe – Europa
  13. MV Louise Michel – Europa
  14. Migration Control- Europa
  15. Mediterranea – Italy
  16. Solidary Wheels No Borders For Human Rights – Spain