More than 1,300 migrants, most of them from sub-Saharian Africa, participated in the voluntary repatriation program from Morocco to their countries of origin. According to figures provided by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), 1306 migrants have participated since the beginning of this year in this program funded by the Moroccan government and some European countries, including Belgium and Spain.
“These immigrants finally realized that it was impossible to reach Europe,” the Spanish news agency reported. “The other bank is not a paradise, as some are trying to imagine.”
Anna Fonseca, Director of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Rabat, said: “The program has been able to achieve one of its most important goals. Thousands of migrants are expected to be repatriated in the next few days.”
According to the official website of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the program aims to help migrants who wish to return voluntarily to their countries, but do not have the financial means to do so.
Of these, 429 are from Guinea, Conakry, Côte d’Ivoire and Senegal, and 25 per cent are women, including 58 victims of human trafficking.
“Since 2002, more than 3,400 criminal networks operating in the field of illegal immigration have been dismantled,” the Moroccan authorities say. “They have thwarted 30 violent attempts to incinerate the two towns of Ceuta and Melilla.