Traditional country of emigration, Morocco has become, in recent years, a transit country to Europe as well as a host for a growing number of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers mainly from sub-Saharan African countries.
With the tightening of control measures at the border areas of southern Europe, these migrants are stranded in Morocco for an indefinite period.
The foreign policy pursued by the European Union and the pressure exerted on Morocco condemn these migrants to live in insecurity and anxiety, trapped in precarious and unacceptable conditions that run counter to human dignity.
With regard to its relations with Europe, Morocco has implemented a policy of actively stepping up repression against migrants, refugees and asylum-seekers on its territory, a policy which is reflected in police raids and forced deportations to the country’s eastern borders, to a border “officially closed since 1994” that with Algeria, near Oujda, the capital of the eastern region.
These raids and forced expulsions affect nationals of Sub-Saharan African countries in very different legal situations: undocumented migrants, asylum seekers registered with the UNHCR (United Nations Refugee Agency) and refugees recognized by the UNHCR, pregnant women, unaccompanied minors…
More and more people are being arrested and held in police stations or at the Gendarmerie. After gathering a sufficient number of them, they are escorted back to the Algerian-Moroccan border without any respect for the procedures to be followed in such cases. (The Moroccan government expels undocumented immigrants usually to Algeria, which they cross to enter the kingdom). The Moroccan law of 02-03, on immigration, provides a guarantee to an undocumented migrant to be deported back to his country if he has official identity papers with him. If this is not the case, he has to be deported to a third country that has given its consent, but the authorities have carried out mass expulsions of migrants of different nationalities, leaving them at the border between Morocco and Algeria.
UNHCR in Morocco (documents, statistics…): www.unhcr.org.ma