A Moroccan rights group on Thursday slammed the harsh treatment and expulsion of illegal sub-Saharan immigrants, after hundreds were kicked out of Morocco in a swoop that began earlier this week.
"The human rights violations against immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa have become systematic in our country," the Moroccan Association of Human Rights (AMDH) said.
"The state is responsible for the safety and security of the migrants, but instead they are subjected to beatings, both by the authorities and by hired thugs, or sent to the Algerian border," added Morocco's largest rights group.
It said those expelled included pregnant women and small children, and warned that the "continuing attacks" on the African immigrants were "feeding racism and encouraging the citizens of Morocco to turn against them."
The Moroccan authorities have clamped down on unregulated immigrants in recent days, with the AMDH saying 35 of them were expelled overnight on Wednesday night from the eastern border town of Oujda.
On Monday, some 200 sub-Saharans were expelled from the country, most of them from the northern towns of Tetouan and Nador, close to the two Spanish territories of Ceuta and Melilla.
And early on Tuesday morning, the Spanish and Moroccan authorities cooperated in evicting 73 African migrants who had swum to a tiny Spanish islet just off the coast in a desperate bid to reach mainland Europe.
The sub-Saharans expelled from Morocco are usually sent back to the officially-closed Algerian border crossing near Oujda, the main entry point for African migrants coming into the country.
According to different humans rights organisations, between 20,000 and 25,000 unregistered sub-Saharan immigrants live in Morocco.© ANP/AFP