Morocco has no lessons to receive on migration

Morocco has no lessons to receive on migration

Despite being the only country in Africa with a migration policy permeated by a humanitarian approach, Morocco was recently attacked by those intent on looking at half-truths in the wake of the tragic crossing of Melilla which left at least 23 migrants dead.

Head of migration and borders at the Interior ministry, Khalid Zerouali, spoke to Morocco’s news agency insisting that Morocco’s approach to migration is “humanist” and puts human rights before all else and that organized crime and gangs will not alter that.

Since 2013, Morocco has offered residency cards to over 50,000 people and campaigned for a paradigm shift that breaks away with the security-approach in favor of a win-win co-development model that puts human rights and development at the heart of an orderly migration management.

Morocco’s migration approach will not be sapped by criminal acts led by trafficking networks that “take advantage of vulnerabilities of the victims,” he said.

These networks are now resorting to violent attacks that are almost militarily organized by people with militia experience coming from countries beset by war and conflict, Zerouali said.

Morocco had shown videos to African ambassadors revealing the horrific violence suffered by Moroccan security forces during the attack by Sub-Saharan migrants instigated by criminal networks.

The videos, published by Moroccan media, showed migrants attacking security forces with stones, sticks and knives as they crammed to a narrow border post causing a stampede that cost the lives of many.

At least 65 migrants are facing charges of kidnaping security forces, arson and migrant trafficking.

Zerouali deplored the dead among the migrants during this “real tragedy”, adding that Morocco had dismantled 1300 criminal networks involved in illegal migration since 2021.

So far this year, 12 crossing attempts have been made on Ceuta and Melilla during which security forces acted professionally in line with human rights and safety standards, he said.

Since 2018, 8100 migrants took part in voluntary repatriation, co-organized with IOM.

Since 2017, Morocco has foiled 360,000 migration attempts, including 26,000 so far this year.

Zerouali noted that the regional environment, the Covid context, The Russia-Ukraine war and the food crisis will further exacerbate migration challenges which require, more than ever, greater multilateral solidarity.

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