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Morocco deports Yemen refugees attempting to enter Spanish enclave, rights group says

March 18, 2022 at 10:42 am

Immigrants sit atop a border fence after attempting to cross from Morocco to the Spanish enclave of Melilla on February 10, 2015 [ANGELA RIOS/AFP via Getty Images]

Moroccan authorities yesterday deported 20 Yemeni refugees after they tried to enter the Spanish enclave of Melilla, a rights group has said.

The Moroccan Organisation on Human Rights said in a statement: “After their attempts to enter the occupied city of Melilla, the authorities arrested a number of migrants and asylum seekers.”

“The authorities raided the apartments of some Yemeni refugees in the city of Nador, then about 21 of them, who hold refugee cards, were transported to the Moroccan-Algerian border,” it added.

The deportation process took place between 8-11 March.

Rabat prohibits refugees or migrants from entering the cities of Melilla and Ceuta, in the north of Morocco, since they are under Spanish administration, and entry requires a visa.

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Following the rights group’s statement, a government spokesperson said: “Morocco is very keen to respect its international obligations according to the Geneva Convention through full cooperation with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to contribute in the protection of all these people.”

There are no official figures available about the number of Yemeni refugees in Morocco.

On 8 March authorities in Melilla announced that Moroccan security forces prevented hundreds of irregular migrants from entering the city.

Rabat considers the Melilla and Ceuta areas as being occupied by Spain, which surrounded them with a razor wire fence which is approximately six kilometres long.