Saltos & Push Backs: Violence at the Spanish-Moroccan border

The result of the racist selections at the closed border of Melilla are makeshift camps where people stay for months, as well as the “saltos de la valla”: the life-threatening crossing of the border fences into Europe. Most people who cross the border fences of Melilla without a visa are forcibly pushed back to Morocco by the Spanish police. However, these “push backs”, i.e. direct deportations, are contrary to human rights. In 2022 for instance, numerous people were injured or even killed in the process. The Moroccan and Spanish police work together against migrants and refugees. On the one hand, the Moroccan side tries to prevent people from getting close to the Spanish border by force. On the other hand, the Moroccan police usually take over the people pushed back by the Spanish officials. It is not uncommon for them to be abandoned by buses in the desert without any prospect of help. International, Spanish, Moroccan and migrant organisations have been denouncing this practice for years.

"Fences should never exist. No one has the right to imprison anyone. And here they have created a vigilant prison. Unintentionally. Citizens thought they were being protected, but what citizens didn't realise was that they were being locked up."

Aziza K.
Social worker living in Melilla, 2019

"There is a sense of claustrophobia that one feels in Melilla. This feeling didn't exist before they built the border fence."

Juan A.
Works in a travel agency in Melilla