Morocco: harassment against Helena Maleno must stop!

Press Release

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Press release in support of activist Helena Maleno Garzon.

EuroMed Rights and the following co-signatory organisations deplore the ban on entry into Morocco of the activist and President of the Association Caminando Fronteras, Helena Maleno Garzon, by the Moroccan authorities and are concerned about the circumstances that led to this ban.

In statements widely reported in the press, Ms Maleno reports that her identity and travel documents were confiscated by the 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.

This 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 the subject of 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 the Spanish and Moroccan authorities to criminalise those who try to ensure respect for the rights of migrants by assimilating them to 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:

Association Marocaine des Droits Humains (AMDH)

Organisation Marocaine des Droits Humains (OMDH)

Réseau Marocain des Journalistes en Migrations (RMJM)

Association pour le Développement et la Sensibilisation des Guinéens Migrants au Maroc ( ADESGUIM)

Association Thissaghnasse pour la Culture et le Développement (ASTICUDE)

AlarmPhone

KISA Action for Equality, Support, Antiracism

Centre for Peace Studies Croatia

Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies

Confédération Générale Autonome des Travailleurs en Algérie (CGATA)

Syndicat National Autonome des Personnels de l’Administration Publique (SNAPAP)

Collectif des Communautés Subsahariennes au Maroc (CCSM)

Centre for Peace Studies Croatia

CIHRS Cairo Institut Human Rights Studies

ARCI

Association Tunisienne des Femmes Démocrates (ATFD)

Ligue Tunisienne des Droits de l’Homme (LTDH)

Union Générale Tunisienne du Travail (UGTT)

Réseau IDD (Immigration Développement Démocratie)

Association Na’oura

KISA – Action for Equality, Support and Antiracism, Cyprus