Rights activists slam Moroccan navy for deadly migrant boat shooting

Human rights activists on Thursday hit out at Morocco’s navy for firing on a boat that was carrying migrants to Spain, in an assault that killed a 22-year-old student. (AFP)
Updated 27 September 2018

Rights activists slam Moroccan navy for deadly migrant boat shooting

  • Hayat Belkacem died and three other Moroccans were wounded when a speedboat they were in was hit by live rounds on Tuesday in waters off the Moroccan locality of M’diq-Fnideq.
  • Human Rights Watch called for the investigation to begin immediately.

RABAT: Human rights activists on Thursday hit out at Morocco’s navy for firing on a boat that was carrying migrants to Spain, in an assault that killed a 22-year-old student.
Hayat Belkacem died and three other Moroccans were wounded — one critically — when a speedboat they were in was hit by live rounds on Tuesday in waters off the Moroccan locality of M’diq-Fnideq.
“There is no evidence at all to suggest that the passengers were a security risk to anyone — the only legal justification Morocco might have had to fire on them,” Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch, said.
Morocco’s navy found the boat acting “in a suspicious manner in Moroccan waters,” according to a statement by the M’diq-Fnideq authorities, released by the interior ministry on Tuesday.
The vessel had “refused to comply with warnings,” the statement said.
The Spanish driver of the boat was unhurt and was arrested, said the interior ministry, which announced an inquiry into the incident.
Human Rights Watch called for the investigation to begin immediately and urged the authorities to “disclose their findings publicly, and bring those responsible to justice.”
Internet users shared pictures of the dead student and called her “Hayat the martyr,” saying her only crime was attempting to leave a miserable life in Morocco to help her family.
“Moroccan civilians are killed in cold blood just because they want to leave this country of social disparities, poverty and repression,” the Moroccan Association of Human Rights in coastal city Nador said on Wednesday.
Morocco — a key route for sub-Saharan Africans trying to reach Europe — said this month it has foiled 54,000 bids so far in 2018 by illegal migrants to cross the Mediterranean to Europe.
The figures included 7,100 Moroccans for the period until the end of August, according to figures released last week by the Moroccan government spokesman.
Since early 2018, Spain has recorded more than 38,000 arrivals by sea and land, according to the International Organization for Migration.


UAE cancels permits for movement during curfew hours

Updated 2 min 4 sec ago

UAE cancels permits for movement during curfew hours

  • The decision was made due to widespread compliance with curfew
  • People working in specific sectors, such as security and health are allowed to leave their houses for work

DUBAI: The UAE’S Ministry of Interior has canceled all permits required for people to move around during curfew hours, state news agency WAM reported.
The ministry said it made the decision after the public’s adherence to the curfew rules requiring people to stay at home between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m..
The ministry added that people still needed to abide by the curfew, except for necessities such as purchasing food, medicine and emergency cases. 
People working in specific sectors, such as security and health are allowed to leave their houses for work.
Anyone stopped by police will be asked for their national ID card or work ID when they leave their houses during curfew hours as proof. 
The curfew has been brought into force in the UAE to aid with a national sanitization project.