Saturday marks the anniversary of an attempt by approximately 2,000 sub-Saharan African migrants and refugees to cross over from Morocco to Spain. At least 37 people died in the attempt, and 76 are still unaccounted for.
Amnesty International Friday accused Morocco and Spain of conducting a cover-up of their racist practices at the border.
The group said Spain failed to open an independent investigation after Spanish prosecutors dropped their investigation because they said they had not found any criminal misconduct by Spanish security forces. Morocco never opened a probe, the group said.
“At the Moroccan side of the border, and as a result of the cooperation between the two countries, Moroccan authorities continue preventing Black sub-Saharan Africans from reaching Spanish territory to apply for asylum at the border post,” AI said in a statement.
“What happened in Melilla is a salutary reminder that racist migration policies aimed at fortifying borders and restricting safe and legal routes for people seeking safety in Europe have real and deadly consequences,” Amnesty International Secretary-General Agnès Callamard said in the statement. “It is hard to escape the racialized element of what happened in Melilla and the dehumanizing way in which Black people are treated at Europe’s borders, when they are living, missing or dead.”
The organization said 22 bodies from the incident remain in a morgue in Morocco.