The Spanish government’s decision to reintroduce razor-sharp barbed wire to the border fence that divides the enclave of Melilla from Moroccoin north Africa has been condemned by human rights activists as inhumane.
The controversial barbed wire, which was erected this week, was first introduced in 2005 but had mostly been removed from the top of the fence after causing serious injuries to migrants as they tried to cross the border.
The fence that divides Morocco from Melilla has become a focal point for immigration from sub-Saharan Africa. In September this year, hundreds of men descended from the mountains on the Moroccan side to storm the fence, using their great weight of numbers to avoid the Spanish police patrolling the border. Many were arrested, but scores made it over into Melilla.
In the past decade, many have died in their attempts to cross but human rights groups say there is little information as to the exact number of deaths and serious injuries.
Juan López de Uralde of the Green group Equo condemned the decision to bring back the wire. „It’s just criminal, because it won’t stop people trying to cross the fence. The only thing it will achieves is to cause horrific injuries. On a recent visit to the temporary migrant centre in Melilla I spoke to people who said that when these blades were used before they had to treat people with serious injuries. It is inhumane to do this.“
By the time migrants have reached the border between Morocco and Melilla, many will have travelled for years across north and sub-Saharan Africa’s towns and deserts and are unlikely to be deterred in their efforts to reach Europe, even by the use of razor blades at the fence.