Migrants and asylum seekers in Morocco have reportedly been deported to the Algerian border and left in the desert. According to the NGO Caminando Fronteras, even though borders have been shut due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Morocco has deported more than 100 people, including children. A sub-saharan migrant reported that he was left in Maghnia in Algeria during the night and that his passport was taken away by Moroccan police officers. He stated that he was obliged to walk 90 kilometers over six days without access to food or water.
After Morocco declared the state of emergency, closing all borders, many migrants were trapped in the country. In April, 41 undocumented migrants died while trying to cross to the Canary Islands from Morocco, after a shipwreck.
According to official estimates, there are approximately 80,000 inmates in prisons across the country. On 10 May, 301 had tested positive to Covid-19. Morocco’s General Delegation for Prison Administration and Reintegration (DGAPR) started testing for Covid-19 in all the country’s prisons at the end of April. Family visits were banned, and staff members began working on two weeks shifts. All officers undergo testing before their shift.
Tens of thousands of Moroccan nationals are reportedly now stuck abroad. These include many undocumented workers in Spain, some of whom have sought to return home because of the lack of access to health care and high unemployment rates.
- T. Al-Abdalawi, “Coronavirus Infections At Moroccan Prisons Jump To 397,” 10 May 2020, https://www.aa.com.tr/en/latest-on-coronavirus-outbreak/coronavirus-infections-at-moroccan-prisons-jump-to-397/1835773
- Y. Hatim, “Moroccan Prisons Start Getting COVID-19 Under Control,” Morocco World News, 8 May 2020 https://www.moroccoworldnews.com/2020/05/301958/moroccan-prisons-start-getting-covid-19-under-control/
- Y. Hatim, “Morocco Launches Mass Testing for COVID-19 in Prisons,” Morocco World News, 25 April 2020, https://www.moroccoworldnews.com/2020/04/300653/morocco-launches-mass-testing-for-covid-19-in-prisons/
- A. El-Masaiti, “We Want To Go Home’: Moroccans Stranded By Virus Seek Help,” Big Rapid News, 11 May 2020, https://www.bigrapidsnews.com/news/article/We-want-to-go-home-Moroccans-stranded-by-virus-15261845.php
- M. Mamouni al-Alawi, “Pandemic Sparks Reverse Migration From Spain To Morocco,” The Arab Weekly, 29 April 2020, https://thearabweekly.com/pandemic-sparks-reverse-migration-spain-morocco
- M. Ferra, “El Coronavirus Complica La Dura Vida De Los Migrantes En Marruecos,” La Vanguardia, 16 April 2020 https://www.lavanguardia.com/internacional/20200416/48549805163/el-coronavirus-complica-la-dura-vida-de-los-migrantes-en-marruecos.html
- J. Vargas & R. Soto, “Marruecos Abandona en el Desierto a Migrantes Detenidos Durante la Covid: ‘Anduvimos 6 Dias Sin Agua ni Comida,” Publico, 14 May 2020, https://www.publico.es/sociedad/deportados-marruecos-argelia-marruecos-abandona-desierto-argelino-migrantes-detenidos-covid-andamos-6-dias-agua-comida.html
- A Disinfection Operation at the Local Prison of Taourirt, (MAP, Y. Hatim, “Moroccan Prisons Start Getting Covid-19 Under Control,” Morocco World News, 8 May 2020, https://www.moroccoworldnews.com/2020/05/301958/moroccan-prisons-start-getting-covid-19-under-control/)