Morocco: Harassment Against Helena Maleno Must Stop

In Arab Countries, International Advocacy Program by CIHRS

EuroMed Rights and the undersigned organisations condemn the Moroccan government’s ban on entry into Morocco of activist Helena Maleno Garzon,  president of the Association Caminando Fronteras, and are alarmed by the circumstances that led to the ban.

In statements widely reported in the press, Ms Maleno stated that her identity and travel documents were confiscated by  police at Ibn Batouta Airport in Tangiers as she was returning to her home in Morocco on 23 January. She was also separated from her 14-year-old daughter and denied access to water and medication.

The entry ban follows various obstacles to Ms Maleno’s work. In 2019, the Tangier court acquitted Ms Maleno after a 15-month trial for human trafficking. In April 2017, Ms Maleno was also subject to a procedure in Spain concerning her possible links with a “criminal organisation”. These proceedings were also dismissed.

These judicial obstacles are part of the attempts by Spanish and Moroccan authorities to criminalise those who advocate for the rights of migrants by associating these activists with human traffickers. The signatory organisations call for an end to the judicial obstruction of Ms Maleno and her work in defence of human rights.

Ms Maleno’s commitment has earned her numerous awards in recent years around the world. In 2018, she received the MacBride Peace Prize, awarded by the International Peace Bureau, and the Spanish Human Rights Association Award. She had received the “Nacho de la Mata” award from the Spanish General Council of Lawyers in 2015.

Co-signatory organisations:

  1. Association Marocaine des Droits Humains (AMDH)
  2. Organisation Marocaine des Droits Humains (OMDH)
  3. Réseau Marocain des Journalistes en Migrations (RMJM)
  4. Association pour le Développement et la Sensibilisation des Guinéens Migrants au Maroc ( ADESGUIM)
  5. Association Thissaghnasse pour la Culture et le Développement (ASTICUDE)
  6. AlarmPhone
  7. KISA Action for Equality, Support, Antiracism
  8. Centre for Peace Studies Croatia
  9. Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies
  10. Confédération Générale Autonome des Travailleurs en Algérie (CGATA)
  11. Syndicat National Autonome des Personnels de l’Administration Publique (SNAPAP)
  12. Collectif des Communautés Subsahariennes au Maroc (CCSM)
  13. Centre for Peace Studies Croatia
  14. CIHRS Cairo Institut Human Rights Studies
  15. ARCI
  16. Association Tunisienne des Femmes Démocrates (ATFD)
  17. Ligue Tunisienne des Droits de l’Homme (LTDH)
  18. Union Générale Tunisienne du Travail (UGTT)
  19. Réseau IDD (Immigration Développement Démocratie)
  20. Association Na’oura
  21. KISA – Action for Equality, Support and Antiracism, Cyprus

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