UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has joined in the chorus of condemnation after at least 23 migrants died as Moroccan security forces tried to stop them crossing the Spanish enclave of Melilla last week.
In a statement issued on Twitter, Guterres said he was “shocked by the violence”.
“The use of excessive force is unacceptable, and the human rights and dignity of people on the move must be prioritized by countries,” he added.
I am shocked by the violence on the Nador-Melilla border on Friday which resulted in the deaths of dozens of migrants & asylum seekers.
The use of excessive force is unacceptable, and the human rights and dignity of people on the move must be prioritized by countries.
— António Guterres (@antonioguterres) June 29, 2022
Between 1,500 and 2,000 migrants who had been camping in the Moroccan mountains surrounding Melilla descended on the city’s border last Friday, a number of them carrying sticks, hoping to scale the border fences and therefore reach Spanish territory.
In the chaos that followed, many of them were crushed between the six metre-high fences and Moroccan border guards, who used tear gas and batons on the migrants.
On Sunday, the head of the AU commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, expressed his “shock and concern at the violent and degrading treatment of African migrants”.