The African Europe Faith Justice Network (AEFJN) stands in solidarity with the families and the communities of 23 sub-Saharan Africans murdered at the Melilla, Spanish-Moroccan Border last June 24, 2022.

Together with the Diocese of Malaga, the Conference for the Religious (CONFER), the Spanish Bishops Conference and the Sub-Commission for Migrants, AEFJN vehemently expresses condemnation and deep sadness, and joins the waves of protests from all throughout the African church against the sacrifice of human lives, that police forces had lost after some 2000 Africans push their way to enter Europe via the autonomous frontier of Northern Morocco.

AEFJN’s President, André Classens says, “One death is too many when it comes to defenseless souls searching for a nook to find a chance to be human beings. Everyone has the right to live. Fleeing away from war, hunger and natural calamities is not a crime, and yet along with the ongoing extractive corporate plunder of the lands in Africa.”  AEFJN underlines those migrants are human beings with dignity in the image and likeness of God. It becomes that the European migration policies seriously spell out inclusivity starting from the borders, as it should implement genuine assets reforms and genuine assets redistribution from the EU to Africa to address the deeply rooted social inequities of unequal power relations since way back colonial times.

In consonance to the statement of Pope Francis, AEFJN likewise emphasizes that social welfare and human rights are above the law, and the search for a better life is an inviolable right of all individuals regardless of color, origin, race or creed. The externalization and militarization at the borders are condemnable as these violate international treaties and therefore serve as premises for the indictment of those responsible for the loss of lives at the Melilla-Moroccan border.

The AEFJN President further underlines that, “The African Church knows that sorrow is not enough to lessen the pain and therefore stands with the mourning families and communities in the pursuit of justice and reparation.” AEFJN reiterates the requests to the national and international authorities for the Melilla-Moroccan border mishap to be investigated in swift, transparent and independent manner, without interference. It is now imperative to investigate and hold those involved accountable with the deaths of the fleeing Africans at the Melilla border, from those who committed the crime and those who ordered it at the very instance.

Phoebe Zoe Maria U. Sanchez, PhD