Friday, October 22, 2010

On Morocco's expulsion of sub-Saharan African migrants and its import

An article recently popped up,'s "Expulsion de centaines de Subsahariens vers la frontière algérienne" ("Expulsion of hundreds of sub-Saharan Africans towards the Algerian border"), commenting on a recent e3xpulsion of illegal migrants from Morocco.

In a statement, [Médicins Sans Frontières] said that between 600 and 700 people were arrested during police operations in several cities Royaumme between August 19 and September 10. Living in Al-Hoceima, Casablanca, Fes, Nador, Oujda, Rabat and Tangiers, these people were then deported to the border with Algeria. MSF also said that during several raids, police destroyed shelters of illegal immigrants with bulldozers. Left in this no man's land, some immigrants have managed to return to Oujda on foot, completely helpless.

MSF said it had taken care of 186 migrants including 103 who had injuries related to violent arrests. According to its chief of mission in Morocco, Jorge Martín, his team has seen "the direct consequences of the expulsions on the state of physical and mental health of migrants." In addition, MSF said it had seen a "dramatic increase" in cases of health problems related to violence.

The NGO called again for Morocco to meet its obligations under international law, Morocco is a signatory to the UN convention on the rights of migrant workers and their families. Similarly, it called on Morocco to "respect the dignity and integrity of migrants and avoid exposing them to a situation of greater vulnerability and insecurity" in its implementation of measures to control illegal migration.

The comments at this article are interesting, some commenters criticizing their country's treatment of these migrants, others (like this one, who wrote in English) blaming the migrants and their countries in terms not altogether different from those used to describe other groups of migrants from other poor countries.

If Medecins sans Frontieres wish to help, they should distribute CONTRCEPTIVES to those in Africa. The problem: Fertile Women and Men with nothing to do but make babies they can not take care of. Compounded by poverty, Illeteracy and Governments presided over by Dictators whose objectif is to get rich at the cost of the poverty of the populace.
I am very proud of Morocco and its achievements of the last 10 years. However it still has a lot to do to take care of its own people to provide decent housing, jobs, health systems and provide jobs for those who are still looking to be employed. Why then should Morocco has to add to its already HEAVY burden and spend Monies on these African migrants? This would be a waste of cash that can be used to eradicate shantytowns, open up decent schools, hospitals, old folks homes, and assist the Street Cildren as well as handicapped, divorcees, etc.

This raises an interesting question. Continued and intensifying European surveillance of its Mediterranean frontiers makes it increasingly difficult for migrants to make it in substantial number to their preferred destinations. Despite this, basic subsistence needs continue to push migrants north from Sub-Saharan Africa, towards North Africa. North African countries, incidentally, including Morocco, are substantially richer than their southern counterparts, at least as measured by measures such as HDI and GDP per capita. More, many of these countries have close ties with at least some Sub-Saharan African countries--the Maghreb and most of the Sahel and all of Senegal were part of the French Empire, and share a common language and religion. If migrants move north to Morocco (and its neighbours) and find themselves stuck there, doesn't that imply that Morocco (and its neighbours) will soon find themselves with large immigrant communities of their own?

1 comment:

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