Scroll down the page

Killing of migrants at the Spanish border

ActionAid’s General Assembly pronounces.

We at ActionAid demand justice for the victims and their families

On the occasion of their 2022 annual meeting held in Madrid from 29 to 30 June, representatives of the ActionAid General Assembly endorsed the following statement about the killing of migrants and asylum seekers at the Spanish border:

On June 24, Spanish and Moroccan security forces employed indiscriminate violence against migrants attempting to enter Melilla ( Spain). Moroccan authorities say 23 civilians have been killed, while civil society organizations on the ground have set the death toll at 37, a number that could continue to rise due to the lack of adequate assistance to the dozens of wounded.

The Spanish Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez, reacted to the tragic events by congratulating the Spanish and Moroccan armed forces on their effectiveness. Some days later, the European Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson, commented that " forced and violent crossing of an international border can never be condoned".

None of these words correspond to the tragic killings that took place. Current policies that outsource EU border control to third countries systematically violate human rights by treating people like livestock. Migrants were handcuffed, stacked and victimized. This is no coincidence. Europe's historical relationship with Africa has revolved around colonization, the plundering of its resources and the genocide of its population.

The EU's partners in Africa are calling for a radically different response. The Chairman of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, called for an immediate investigation and expressed "deep shock and concern at the violent and degrading treatment of African migrants attempting to cross an international border, from Morocco to Spain".

Spanish civil society and human rights organizations, on both sides of the border, many of them ActionAid partners in Spain and Morocco, have expressed shame and anger at these events and call for an independent international investigation and a radical change in EU policies.


Europe must guarantee the right to asylum according to the 1951 Geneva Convention and offer legal and safe pathways for people who migrate, as agreed in the Global Compact on Migration. These are the only mechanisms that truly avoid deaths and risks on the migration route and prioritize the dignity, security and protection of people's rights.

Similarly, we emphasize that the increasingly desperate journey of migrants out of the African continent is the direct result of the failures of the economic and political system, including prevailing development patterns, democratic deficits, inaction on climate change and climate repairs, as well as migration policies that do not respect and support human rights.


  • We denounce the dual racist standards that violate international human rights law. The assistance offered by European governments and the European Union to Ukrainians displaced by the conflict shows the extent to which everything depends on political will. We want the same rights for everyone! All rights for all people.
  • We call for an independent international investigation to clarify the details of this tragedy, as well as an immediate action by the judicial institutions on both the Moroccan and Spanish sides, to establish criminal responsibilities.
  • We urge the authorities to prioritize the safety of migrants and refugees, o uphold their human rights and refrain from the excessive use of force.
  • We condemn the lack of timely assistance to injured migrants, which has led to many deaths that could have been avoided.
  • We call for adequate and quality health care to be provided to all those who are hospitalized in the wake of this tragedy.
  • We call on the governments involved to participate in the identification of the bodies and to support their return to their families in their countries of origin, in collaboration with the relevant diaspora organizations and consulates.
  • We urge the European Union, the Member States and other interested parties to suspend the inhumane migration policies that externalize border control.
  • We call on the AU and the Member States to develop a clear strategy to reach more young women and men with programs that protect their human rights and guarantee their safety and protection.
  • And we call on institutions, the media and citizens to stop the use and reproduction of images of lifeless bodies that contribute to their dehumanization and revictimization.



Members and observers of the ActionAid General Assembly.


Photocredit: Humberto Chavez - Bruce Warrington
This article was originally published by ActionAid International,Statement on killing of Moroccan migrants at the Spanish border”, 01/07/2022