March 30, 2023

Tumbler Ridge News

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In Casablanca, the emigrants decided to reach Europe

“Every day is a struggle to live”. Oumar* squats on the sidewalk near the Casablanca bus station, a precarious landing spot for hundreds of irregular sub-Saharan migrants determined to reach Europe.

“Not enough food, not sleeping under a roof, not feeling safe, experiencing racism is exhausting”The 25-year-old Guinean, who has been living illegally in Morocco for five years, assures AFP. “We get chased by the police early in the morning and wander around before we find our places at the end of the day”He says he has tried several times to cross to Spain without success.

Opposite Olad Jiyane station on the outskirts of the megalopolis of 4.2 million people, Omar and about fifty young migrants, mostly from Guinea, are killing time. Most of them had entered Morocco illegally from Algeria, some were chatting, others were exhausted and stretched out on the sidewalk, where a modest kitchen was installed.

Some blankets and cloths hang on the wall facing the station. “They’re part of the landscape now, but they’re not bothering anyone.”A Moroccan candy seller who wishes to remain anonymous testifies. “This is our sad truth, but no one wants to face it”Blake Bakary is an 18-year-old Guinean who has lived in Oulad Ziane for three years.

The popular district has been a scene of constant tension with the authorities since its proximity to the railway station has turned it into a haven for migrants. The latest episode: Six migrants were arrested in mid-January following violent clashes during the evicting of illegal immigrants camped at the expansion site of a local tramway.

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Today they are back. Each group of immigrants – organized by nationality – occupies a part of the site. “Wherever we settle, we are evicted. We don’t want to sleep on tram tracks, but we are not given an alternative”laments 27-year-old Malian Boubacar.

“Europe or Death”

Malian migrants sleeping under tarpaulins help each other survive, even though none of them work. The toilets at the bus station are the only accessible sanitary facilities. “Sometimes we’re allowed in, sometimes we’re not.”says Boubacar, castigating “Racism of District People” and lack of administrative or support support.

In fact, neighbors are reluctant to talk to journalists. “Immigration is secret: stop it!”This week shows the release Moroccan Weekly A reprimand in one “A social, security and political problem that the government is struggling to manage”.

“These migrants are living in difficult conditions and it is the role of the authorities to take care of them”Noureddine Riadi of the Moroccan Association for Human Rights (AMDH) says. “The most vulnerable should be integrated into temporary reception centers”An activist from a major Moroccan NGO pleads for the protection of human rights.

Having tried five times to enter the Spanish region of Melilla from the Moroccan border town of Nador in the north of the country, Lamine says he is exhausted. “Even though my faith is diminishing day by day, we try to keep believing”The 20-year-old, who arrived in Morocco nine months ago, agrees.

“The closing of borders is very unfair. At the end of the day, we are treated as commodities.”Boubacar was furious.

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Despite the difficulties, most of the illegal immigrants encountered in Oulad Ziane did not give up trying to reach Europe. “For me it’s Europe or death”Slice Bakery, the young guinea, for whom to return home “Admitting defeat”.

But after several phases of formalization between 2014 and 2021, the Moroccan authorities, under pressure from the Europeans, are using strict border controls and a deceptive policy against irregular immigration within the border.

In 2022, the kingdom’s police arrested more than 32,000 migrants and arrested 566 people suspected of involvement in human trafficking networks, according to official figures.

The fight against illegal immigration is a key issue in the partnership between Morocco and the European Union. Brussels plans 500 million euros to help Rabat fight back.