Wide Angle

The number of Moroccan migrants heading to Spain is on the rise

Driven by the social protests in the Rif, many Moroccans have chosen to cross the Mideterranean towards Spain.

The number of Moroccan migrants heading to Spain is on the rise./Ph. DR
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Two makeshift boats with 79 migrants from various African countries were intercepted on Tuesday in the Mediterranean waters by the Royal Moroccan Navy, security sources told EFE.

The first boat, which carried twenty Moroccan nationals, was located about ten kilometers in the northern coast of Al Hoceima. They were handed over to the Royal Gendarmerie at the city. The Moroccan migrants planned to reach Spain, a source told the Spanish news agency, saying they were from several cities, including Mohammedia, Taounate and Errachidia. 

The second boat was also intercepted by the Royal Gendarmerie. Carrying migrants from sub-Saharan Africa, it was located about twenty kilometers away from Al Hoceima. Originally from Mali, Guinea and Sierra Leone, they have been found in good health, according to Spanish news agency.

More Moroccan migrants in Spain

Spain has been facing lately migrant crisis with the significant number of migrants trying to enter Spain. Quoted by El Mundo in an article entitled «Why do so many boats leave Morocco ?», the Spanish Committee for Refugee Aid (CEAR) pointed out at the closure of some migratory routes, and the situation in the Rif region. Most precisely, Estrella Galán, CEAR’s secretary general, explained saying : «A few security officers are deployed near the borders, which facilitates the passage of migrants».

On the other hand, the social unrest in the Rif has also caused many Hirak activists to flee the region. According to Khadija Ainani, vice-president of the Moroccan Association of Human Rights (AMDH), quoted by the Spanish daily, «13,500 Moroccans have left the Rif for Europe because of repression». A factor that explains the huge migration crisis Spain is experiencing lately.

Yesterday, when presenting its report, CEAR denounced «an increasingly critical situation in Morocco», according to Europa Press. «We are asking that [the kingdom] wouldn't be considered a safe country», said Khadija Ainani, saying that the fundamental rights of migrants are not respected, as well as those of the local population.

22.4% of migrants entering Spain are from Morocco, 20.5% are from Algeria while 56.7% are from Sub-Saharan Africa, according to data issued by the Interior Spanish Ministry. Last year, 520 of the 1,225 migrants intercepted in the Mediterranean waters near Al Hoceima were Moroccan.

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