According to one report, “the widespread use of illegal force” by Moroccan and Spanish authorities contributed to the deaths of at least 37 people during a mass assault on the border fence between Morocco and the Spanish enclave of Melilla in June.
Amnesty International’s report also accuses the Moroccan and Spanish police of not even providing basic first aid to the injured in the crush, who were left “in the sun for up to eight hours”. He says Moroccan authorities have prioritized moving bodies and treating security officials over the needs of injured migrants and refugees.
“The Spanish police did not allow the Red Cross access to the area and there was no public health response at the scene assisting the injured either during the border crossing attempt and police operation, or in followed,” the report said.
“The Spanish authorities have not assisted in any way the wounded who remained on Spanish territory after the end of the police operation, violating their rights in multiple ways, including the right to timely and adequate health care and to be free from torture and other ills – treatment.”
Amnesty says the failure to provide assistance was not only cruel, it also demonstrates that Spain and Morocco have breached their obligations to protect the right to life.
Spain said there were no deaths on its territory and that Guardia Civil officers acted “in full compliance with the law and with the necessary proportionality required by the events”. But he confirmed that officers used 86 tear gas, 28 smoke, 65 rubber bullets, 270 warning shots and 41 shots of pepper spray to try to push back the crowd.
Morocco says its officers acted “with a high level of control and professionalism”, and said some of those who rushed to the fence were armed with sticks, machetes, stones and knives.
The NGO’s researchers – who interviewed survivors, witnesses, officials and health workers – concluded that crimes under international law were committed on June 24 and that police actions in both countries contributed to the deaths of at least 37 people and the wounding dozens more. .
The true death toll, however, could be much higher: 77 people who attempted to make the crossing that day remain missing, and their families have still not heard from them.
The official version of events has already been questioned in the investigations of BBC Africa Eye, Lighthouse Reports, a fact-finding trip by Spanish parliamentarians and the Spanish ombudsman.
Amnesty is calling on Spain and Morocco to ensure that “independent and impartial investigations” are carried out into the events of June 24 to ensure that those who have broken the law are executed.
He also wants investigations into the lack of medical care and has urged the countries’ authorities to help the families of the missing and dead by locating and repatriating the bodies.
In October, a United Nations working group of experts on people of African descent said the deaths in Melilla were evidence of “racialized exclusion and deadly violence deployed to keep people of African and Middle Eastern descent out”. The United Nations Committee on Migrant Workers has also called on Spain and Morocco to carry out thorough investigations into what happened.
In June, Spain’s supreme court upheld the dismissal of an investigation into the deaths of 14 people who drowned in the sea off Spain’s other North African enclave of Ceuta in 2014 after Guardia Civil officers opened fire with live ammunition. rubber and tear gas.