The European Union continues to sponsor abuse of undocumented migrants

The BBC reports on the way that the European Union has outsourced the policing and administration of its external borders. via Morocco accused of human rights breaches over migrants

The European Union is paying the Moroccan government millions of euros to police our borders. But non-government organisations (NGOs) have reported serious violations of the migrants’ human rights in the process.

This is a deceiving title because while yes, Morocco is now directly accused of human rights violations of undocumented migrants, they are doing so on behalf of the European Union and its quasi military border police force, Frontex. From the BBC report:

But the first line of defence is here, in Morocco itself – where the EU has poured tens of millions of euros into an operation to stop the migrants reaching European soil.[…]

Amadou is from Cameroon. Unwilling to show his face on screen, he takes me nervously to the middle of a small forest.

He says: “Recently we tried to scale the border fence at Melilla. They brought a helicopter – and the helicopter landed right next to us. And then they started to throw stones at us. They beat us with batons. We could not reach the fence.”

And this:

“When I arrived at the border fence, I tried to jump over to the other side to Melilla,” says Josui, who says Spanish police, the Guardia Civil, arrested him on the other side.

The other side is technically European territory. But instead of allowing the men to claim asylum, which was their intention, they handed them back to the Moroccans.

“First they beat us and they threw us out. They handed us to the Moroccans. They trapped us. And they beat us more. They injured everybody. They even shot at us. Some of my friends are in hospital in Rabat… they have broken hands, broken legs, arm injuries,” he said.

In February 2012, I wrote about a document from the Dutch Advisory Committee, released in 2010, that proposed exactly this modus operandi. The Dutch Committee advised on the implementation of a policy proposed by Tony Blair exactly ten years ago. Back when Blair made his proposal to outsource the “reception” of immigrants to African nations, it was dismissed amid some minor outrage because it was claimed that it opened the door to human rights violations and it was against international law. Ten years later, not only is this policy in place, but the human rights violations are happening on behalf of the European Union exactly as predicted. The gradual and systematic change in the way immigration and human displacement have been portrayed have played a role in the implementation.

Paul Mason, the journalist that made this report for the BBC also mentions the shocking sexual violence that migrants are subjected to. It always surprises me how little we hear about the way rape culture manifests in the treatment of undocumented migrants. Considering that undocumented migrants are the most vulnerable group to be victims of crimes (which they can neither report nor escape from), it is a given that there will be horrifying sexual violence involved. After all, this is only the continuation of a more sophisticated process of dehumanization and objectification of the Other.  

Now, in a case of history repeating itself, Europe can continue pretending to uphold human rights while its governing bodies outsource the atrocities to an African nation, outside its territory. However, the funds and resources necessary to maintain this structure come from no other than European taxpayers who get to sleep peacefully in the knowledge that no undocumented migrant is going to come and “invade” us.

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