ALLEGED cover-up by Moroccan and Spanish authorities has left families of those that died or are missing after attempting to cross to the European country last year distraught.
At least 37 people died after around 2 000 Sub-Saharan African migrants and refugees attempted to cross from the North African country to Spain on June 24, 2022. At least 76 are still missing.
On the eve of the first anniversary of the deadly events that took place on the border of Spain’s Melilla enclave, Amnesty International said authorities in both countries have so far failed to conduct an effective independent investigation, leaving scores of grieving families in anguish.
“One year on from the carnage at Melilla, Spanish and Moroccan authorities not only continue to deny any responsibility but are preventing attempts to find the truth,” said Amnesty International’s Secretary General, Agnès Callamard.
She said bodies were still lying in a morgue and in graves and efforts to identify the dead and inform their relatives have been blocked.
“Barriers to truth and justice are also a reflection of the continuing harmful treatment based on race and migration status,” Callamard said.
“Yet as hopes of finding the missing 76 alive recede, the demand on the authorities to provide truth and ensure justice for the victims and their families is growing ever louder,” Callamard said.
Authorities have failed to provide a full list of victims’ names and their causes of death as well as CCTV footage which could inform an investigation.
Spain is accused of refusing to open an independent probe.
In December 2022, prosecutors dropped their investigation into the deaths saying that they found no evidence of criminal misconduct by Spanish security forces.
Morocco has not launched any investigation into the alleged use of force by its border officials. They are accused of making it practically impossible for families and NGOs to carry out searches for the missing and dead.
Amnesty International’s written requests to the Moroccan and Spanish governments asking them to share information have so far gone unanswered, the organisation said.
A 2022 Amnesty International report found the tragic events were predictable and the loss of life avoidable.
In November 2022, United Nations Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, xenophobia and related intolerance, said that the Melilla violence “reveals the status quo of the European Union’s borders, namely racialised exclusion and deadly violence deployed to keep out people of African and Middle Eastern descent, and other non-white populations.”
This Friday, a delegation from Amnesty International will join a march calling for justice.
It will be from Melilla town centre to the Barrio Chino border.
– CAJ News