Madrid/Rabat: In a report released today, the international humanitarian aid organisation Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) reveals escalating violence against immigrants crossing from Morocco to Spain. The organisation reports up to a quarter of its patients are seeking medical treatment as a result of persecution and attacks.
Since early 2003, MSF has been running mobile clinics and monitoring the immigrant community for disease outbreaks. Medical data and testimonies collected from migrants reveal that of the 10,232 medical consultations conducted between April 2003 and August 2005, 2,544 are violence related.
This places violence as the greatest health risk to this vulnerable population, along with illness related to poor living conditions.
Immigrants who have been victims of violence and treated by MSF say that their injuries are caused by:
- 44% Moroccan police forces
- 18% the Spanish forces
- 17% criminal gangs
- 12% mafia groups or networks trafficking with people,
- 2% in-fighting between immigrants
- 7% accidental
Injuries include gunshot wounds, beatings and attacks by dogs when trying to escape Moroccan security forces. Deaths have also occurred.
MSF is concerned that these findings reveal systematic violence and degrading treatment which only serve to increase the suffering and marginalisation of people who are already exposed to extremely precarious and often inhumane conditions.
MSF in Morocco
MSF currently has medical programmes in Tangier, Nador and Oujda. Mobile clinics provide preventative care (vaccinations, antenatal care, family planning), HIV/AIDS care and logistical supplies. MSF is also attempting to make the Moroccan authorities more aware of the vulnerability of these migrants.
MSF has worked in Morocco since 1997.