International Migrants Day 2013 : Maghnia, life at a crossroads

jeudi 19 décembre 2013

Source : Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network (EMHRN)

Date : 18 December 2013

Copenhagen, 18/12 2013 – On the occasion of the International Migrants Day, the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network (EMHRN) is launching its report : “Maghnia : Crossing the Uncrossable Border” highlighting the deplorable situation of Sub-Saharan migrants at the Algeria-Moroccan border.

A year ago to the day, the EMHRN had already expressed its concern over the conditions of migrants and refugees at the border.

The report published today is the outcome of two fact-finding missions undertaken in November 2012 and June 2013 to Maghnia, an Algerian town bordering Morocco, and highlights the inhumane conditions faced by its migrant and refugee population.

Deportations to and from Morocco – carried out illegally – are a frequent phenomenon, and continue to also target vulnerable groups such as pregnant women and unaccompanied minors. During deportations, migrants face several violations of their rights, including robberies, beatings, and other abuses. For refugees, UNHCR’s absence from the area and limited access to the country beyond Algiers, as well the lack of effective asylum system in Algeria, despite being signatory to the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, the 1967 Protocol and the 1969 African Union Refugee Convention, bars them from accessing international protection.

According to the findings, migrants and refugees suffer from desperate conditions including malnutrition, chronic diseases and injuries sustained during deportations and border operations, with limited or no access to medical care. While work opportunities exist, migrants are susceptible to abuses and exploitation by employers, without any legal protection. This, despite that Algeria is signatory of the International Convention on the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Their Families. There are no civil society organisations present in Maghnia, further exacerbating the vulnerabilities of these populations.

While Maghnia has been one of the main migratory transit points in North Africa through which thousands have passed in the past decade to reach Morocco, the report highlights the fact that a growing number of migrants and refugees are now finding themselves ‘stranded’ at this crossroad. The increased externalization of European border control – which may soon include a readmission agreement between the EU and Morocco – is not only effectively barring access to protection for those who would be entitled to it, but also enhancing the vulnerability of migrants and refugees and encouraging practices and policies which undermine their rights.

The conditions at the Algerian-Moroccan border constitute but one example of how migrants and refugees see their rights violated every day in the Euro-Med region. In this context, it is the responsibility of Moroccan and Algerian authorities to establish structures and legislation that are in accordance with international conventions, as well as that of the European Union and its Member states to contribute to the respect for human rights in the Maghreb region and to ensure that cooperation agreements do not encourage nor tolerate violations of migrant and refugee rights at its borders.

Read the full report in English here

Read the full report in here

Arabic will soon be available

For more information, contact :

Shadia El Dardiry, Tel : +45 32 64 17 22

Voir en ligne : http://www.euromedrights.org/eng/20...

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