MSF teams near the eastern border of Morocco have seen a dramatic influx of migrants with severe physical wounds such as broken limbs, dislocated jaws, and concussions. As reported on AlertNet, the migrants claim they are being attacked by Moroccan and Spanish security forces. The sub-Saharan African migrants have been traveling through Morocco in an attempt to either reach Europe or return to their homes. They have been subject to abuse, degrading treatment, and terrible living conditions, and are vulnerable targets for criminal gangs, traffickers, and bandits.
Since the migrants are classified as “illegal” in Morocco, they are forced to live in “makeshift shelters in forests, caves, and abandoned buildings with no sanitation and limited food and water” while others have taken to the streets to beg for resources. MSF teams report that almost half of their migrant medical consultations in the area have been illnesses and injuries due to the poor living conditions. MSF reports their injuries have not only been physical; there is evidence of a substantial psychological toll that these migrants must endure. MSF psychologists describe the migrants as consumed by a “profound sense of failure and [an inability] to imagine any other kind of future for themselves.”
AlertNet cited a MSF report entitled “Violence, Vulnerability, and Migration: Trapped at the Gates of Europe” which has tried to place more state-level responsibility over the care and protection of migrants in European-bordered countries. However, they have found that the EU has actually tightened its border restrictions and shifted accountability of policing illegal immigration to neighboring countries. This political confusion and shirking of responsibility has been identified as a major contributing factor to the rise of migrant community raids in Morocco and the subsequent violent arrests of refugees and asylum seekers.