The Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC), Moussa Faki Mahamat, has called for an impartial and accelerated investigation into the death of more than 20 African migrants attempting to cross the fence between Morocco and Spain.
The AU chief said he was ‘shocked’ at the violent and ‘degrading’ treatment melted out to African migrants within the continent.
Local media reports suggest that more than 500 migrants were able to gain entrance into a Spanish border control area after successfully cutting an opening in the iron fence.
According to Mahamat, the ensuing violence between the migrants and Moroccan security forces resulted in the death of ‘at least 23 people and injuries to many more’.
‘The chairperson calls for an immediate investigation into the matter, and reminds all countries of their obligations under international law to treat all migrants with dignity and to prioritise their safety and human rights, while refraining from the use of excessive force’, Mahamat said in a statement.
The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) also reacted to the development in a joint statement.
‘IOM and UNHCR reiterate their call to the international community, in line with the principle of responsibility sharing, to strengthen access to safer, alternative pathways to mitigate the resort to dangerous journeys and reduce the risk of such tragic events from occurring again in the future’, the statement read.
Morocco has evolved into a transit country for migrants and refugees from sub-Saharan Africa attempting to cross to Europe through Spain, data from the International Migration Institute (IMI) shows.
Photo source: Javier Bernardo/AP