The Royal Moroccan Navy rescued the man, along with 20 other Yemenis on the boat. Morocco then allegedly deported him to Algeria.
Rabat – The international NGO “Alarm Phone,” dedicated to saving the lives of migrants in the Mediterranean by taking distress calls, has reported that Morocco allegedly deported a Yemeni migrant to Algeria in mid-September 2019.
In a conversation with the Yemeni man’s sister, the NGO learned that the man had been aboard a small boat trying to make it to Melilla, the Spanish enclave city in northern Morocco. The boat then sank.
The Royal Moroccan Navy rescued the man, along with 20 other Yemenis on the boat. Alarm Phone told Morocco World News that, according to the Yemeni community in Spain, the man was then detained in Morocco.
Morocco later allegedly deported him to Algeria, according to the man’s sister. The young Yemeni’s sister condemned the deportation.
Alarm Phone, which takes calls from migrant boats struggling to stay afloat in the Mediterranean, does not perform rescues for drowning migrants. Instead, the NGO sounds the alarm for coast guards and rescue ships to get involved.
Forces in Yemen have been engaged in civil war since September 2014, killing thousands and plunging the country deeper into poverty. According to Human Rights Watch, 14 million Yemenis are at risk of starvation and death from diseases like cholera.
After years of negotiations, two “mercy flights” managed to fly out of blockaded Sanaa, Yemen, last week with 32 patients. The patients, including eight children, were in critical need of health services after health systems in the warring country have been devastated.
The Moroccan navy has stepped up efforts to rescue migrants at sea, rescuing 19,554 in total, according to the Ministry of Interior.
Spain has rescued 17,688 migrants from the sea. As Morocco surpassed Spain in rescues, some accused Spain of outsourcing its responsibilities to Morocco. Alarm Phone told ABC that its contacts in the migrant community express fear that if they are rescued from the sea by Morocco, they will be deported to their home countries or a third country.
Spain has sought funding for Morocco from the EU to increase Moroccan border controls. Spanish officials have also credited Morocco with helping to significantly reduce the number of irregular immigrant arrivals to Spain by sea from 2018 to 2019.