Europe’s most fortified border is in Africa

Europe’s most fortified border is in Africa

If you zoom in to Morocco, you’ll see a
tiny wedge of land that stands out from its surroundings. This little bit of land
is surrounded by one of the most fortified borders on the planet. Right outside the border you’ll find makeshift forest camps, where people spend their
days and nights evading the police and preparing to rush the border, usually in
large groups, with hopes of jumping over and stepping foot on this land. This peculiar scene plays out because
this piece of land, while in the continent of Africa, is actually a piece
of Europe. This small piece of land is called Melilla.
It’s one of two Spanish enclaves in Morocco, marking the only borders that
Europe shares with the continent of Africa. Spain conquered Melilla in the late
1400s as part of its rapid global expansion. This region of northern Africa
changed hands many times over the following decades, but Spain kept hold of
Melilla. Even in 1956, when the colonial period was winding down and great powers
were ceding their colonies, Morocco had just declared independence, but even then
Spain held onto its enclave. Today, around 86,000 people live in Melilla
and when you’re there you might as well be in mainland Spain. The city is
designed with the distinctive Spanish architectural style and residents speak
Spanish. They pay in Euros. You’re only reminded that you’re not in mainland
Europe when you walk to the peripheries of this city, to find one of the most
fortified border walls on the planet. A seven mile barrier with layers of
protection The first layer is a 20-foot metal fence,
followed by a second fence with a flexible top, which makes it harder to
climb. Below this second fence you have barbed wire netting, strong and dense
webs, then comes another taller fence with a flexible top section and more
barbed wire. Then you’re on the Moroccan side where, you have a 6.5
foot ditch and then a double fence with you guessed it, more barbed wire. There
are lookout posts and every inch of the border is monitored by video
surveillance. To understand why this barrier exists, you have to cross over
into the Moroccan town of Nador and then into the forest in the hills
surrounding the enclave. These migrants are mostly from
sub-Saharan Africa and they all have different motives for leaving their
homelands. They gather in these camps and plan for the day when they’ll try to
cross into Melilla. In response to this intense security, the migrants have developed a technique that relies on
overpowering the border guards with strength of numbers. The groups range in
size, but are nearly always in the hundreds. Most get caught right away on
the Moroccan side where they face border agents who are not shy about using force.
Those who make it past the first few layers, onto the Spanish section of the
barrier are also thrown back immediately or detained, but because of their large
numbers a few will inevitably slip past the guards. As soon as they put their
feet on the ground in Melilla, they are technically in Europe and are guaranteed
certain protections under European Union law. But they still have to run a hundred
meters to an immigration center, where they can be taken in and given
protection from immediate deportation. Arrivals to these enclaves came to a
head in 2014, when Spain decided it was finally time to double down on its
effort to fortify this border. This was mainly in response to the influx of
migrants attempting to get into Europe, fleeing from conflicts in Africa and the
Middle East. “Biggest wave refugees in modern history” “hundreds of thousands of refugees” “fleeing brutal violence in the Middle
East” “cross over European borders by the
hundreds of thousands” “in overcrowded boats, many drowning along the way” Spain’s response to this migration crisis was to focus on the borders of
its enclaves in Africa, redoubling the efforts to keep migrants out of this
little slice of Europe. The year after the 2014 migration crisis, attempts to
jump the fence dropped by 67%. Spain didn’t make these numbers drop on their
own. One of the things you’ll notice when you look at this wall, is that Moroccan
military and police are also guarding this border. The year of the migration
crisis, Morocco built these two extra layers of barbed wire fencing. “But authorities say dense new anticlimb mesh stopped the latest to make the attempt
in their tracks” So why would Morocco take the responsibility of building a
barrier and standing guard at Spain’s border? Turns out they have real
incentives to do so. Morocco has what’s called advanced status partnership with
Europe, which gives them economic and political advantages in trade and
political affairs. The European Union accounts for more than half of Morocco’s
international trade and the EU also provides Morocco with billions of Euros
in aid for security and development, so the Moroccans in an effort to stay on
good terms with their northern neighbor, take on the job of protecting Spain’s
border. And they take their job very seriously. Migrants had always had their forest camps right here,
right outside the city on this hill. This was their camp for years and this
is the place where they used to regroup and prepare a jump, until just a few
months ago when the Moroccan military set up an outpost up here. Now the migrants can’t return and they have gone to find another refuge, which is on a
hill 12 kilometers from here. Moroccan authorities have started routinely raiding the camps. But they don’t deport them from
Morocco, they have other less resource-intensive ways of keeping these
migrants from coordinating a large enough group for a jump. The police were
here for three hours this morning, they basically came in and stole a bunch of
stuff, they kind of disrupted these tents and messed with these people’s houses.
They harassed the women in violent ways. They basically came here just to flex
their muscles and say you know we’re in charge, make sure you remember that. About once a month the Moroccan authorities round up the migrants and send them to
other parts of Morocco that are far away from Melillah, preventing them from
gathering in a sufficient group to blitz the fence. The Moroccan authorities are not concerned with keeping these migrants out of Morocco, they’re trying
to keep them from getting to Europe. They do in many respects, a lot of Spain’s and
Europe’s dirty work, with respect to blocking people whose interest is to
cross. Another thing you’ll notice is that everyone in these camps is from
sub-Saharan Africa, basically countries below this line. All migrants face extreme difficulties in their journey to Europe, but migrants from places like
Syria have a much easier time just walking up to the border and asking for
asylum the proper way. It’s not an exaggeration to say that hardly any
sub-Saharan African is able to do that. They do have to resort to very
dangerous methods, like scaling the fences or hiding in vehicles or taking
to the sea. Spain did build a new office to handle the influx of migrants,
but not migrants from sub-Saharan Africa. You might say well that’s reasonable right? Everybody knows there’s a war in Syria, so of
course it makes sense to presume that Syrians are fleeing the war and
they’re refugees, they need protection. But the flip side of that, the
presumption that people from countries where there isn’t like a live war, that
you are reading about in the newspapers, the presumption that people from those
countries are not in need of international protection, is a very
dangerous presumption. The world is experiencing a record number of refugees
and displaced people. While some countries have opened their doors to let
these people in, many are responding by building walls, but this won’t stop them
from coming. No matter how dangerous the journey, the people in these camps will
keep trying. That’s the six episode of Borders, I hope
you’ve enjoyed this series. Today we also launched the on-site experience for all
six of the Borders stories, with graphs and charts and visualizations to kind of
go a little bit further into some of these stories. I’m gonna leave a link
here where you can go see that and thank you for being a part of this journey.

100 thoughts on “Europe’s most fortified border is in Africa

  1. That's it. Vox Borders is done, and I can't believe it. Thank you all so so much for being a part of this journey. I know for a fact your participation and feedback made it better.

    If you're interested in the behind-the-scenes of Vox Borders, don't forget to check it out on our website:

    – Johnny

  2. Why can't they just dig under and make an underground tunnel. Better than sitting around waiting for the right time. Plus there are so many of them to make it faster.

  3. And then they complaine about the Fence in Hungery, or in Israel, or in US, what about this fence here no one complaine about this in EU or the rest of the workd, so let us keep our own fence and stop get invold we try to keep our contry safe okay.

  4. Most of them are fit young men. They should be building an infrastructure in their own countries to help it become a place that is habitable for the very young and old to live productive lives instead of trying to sneak into western countries for handouts.

  5. Would be much easier if the super rich corporates gave money to help these people in their own countries. After all its the large corporates that have robbed these countries of their gold, diamonds etc.

  6. Letting black in your country is letting demons in shoot them if they come close to the border. They are the worst human race

  7. I am from malaysia…my country was so poor when the colonizers left my country…but we didn't migrate to other countries,instead we fight for our country and now it is alot better compared to the 50 years ago…you should do the same..i am sure one day, my country is going to be a developed Nation..

  8. Hey, You content selections are focused primarily on political and border disputes. I really appreciate your hard work and time. It's way more informative and realistic. But certainly not enjoyable as it portrays about people's problems and agonies. Make sure your end note doesn't have words such as enjoyable, Lovely etc. I wish to see you cover more informative content like this. Good luck from India.

  9. Morocco should be ashamed of themselves for doing these deplorable things to their fellow Africans on behalf of their former colonizers

  10. Why they are using what we build in decades , why can they use all our hard work.We need electrical fence to fry them up …

  11. That is why north Africa under the hands of arabs and European to keep black people off Europe, black man need to take responsibility stop going to the enemies lands

  12. All countries have a right to defend their borders. Nobody has a right to enter another country without the permission of that country. People attempting to use force, deception, or other illegal means to cross the border of any country are subject to whatever level of enforcement that the country wants to use against people who illegally enter the country. The barriers put up by Spain in this story, to defend its territorial integrity, are humane.

  13. Odd how the criminals are the ones you feel for they are breaking into out country and the first thing they want is social welfare witch is paid for in total buy tax payers money. It's always we need more, we need more, while people that have worked for 30 or 40 years and expect their promised pension are told " We have no more money, could you work a few more years".
    You do gooders are likely working at the government feed trough and have excellent pensions.

  14. People in 1950: we'll have fying car by 2020.
    In 2020: wealthy country making walls to stop poors to getting into there country

  15. A lot of migrants don't just want a peaceful country to escape war to, but are looking for financial benefits. That's a fact.

  16. Africa for Africans only. Everybody else must be deported back to their own lands. Spain has no right occupying African land.

  17. All I ever hear about is how racist white nation's are towards blacks and yet, here they are, flooding into white nation's thousands per day. Hmmm. 🤔

  18. Loving this one thanks for sharing very important information giving thanks blessed love to all knowledge is power hopefully everyone pays attention 🙏🙏🙏🇯🇲🇯🇲🇯🇲💪💪💪

  19. Spain you should give that land to Africa…
    Other wise you will be erased from earth..
    Please leave your old habits of theft and stealing land..
    From ASIA…

  20. It's stolen land. Period. Its Africa. Why are Europeans telling Africans you can't come to Africa. Evil. Africa needs to take back their land. Disqualify all land contracts from Europe they are ALL FRAUDULENT.

  21. It’s okay to have borders protected in your own land… but borders of other people’s land on their land? That seems wrong. I mean why is Europe even over there? That’s not Europe’s continent. It’s natural for people wanting to take back what’s rightfully theirs.

  22. All these negative comments of people against other people, is why Humanity is doomed and humans will slowly but surely, one day follow dinosaurs into total extinction. Our success in defeating disease, cold and hunger and hence over multiplying is at the same time our biggest failure and weakness and will be in addition to apathy our future poison and main cause of extinction. Our brains are our biggest asset and our biggest liability. It is and will be the enemy. Because we see the difference in others. In their color, in their beliefs and in everything. It's a total verity. We are just delaying the inevitable.

  23. They are all guys by the way, and syria was the best place in middle east years before the war. Syrians didn’t choose refuge the had to

  24. I'm an African the money u use to come here u should use it to make something in Africa which will make jobs!!

  25. well done Morroco, getting paid I know but a good job, if all the Syrians and middle east are getting through then maybe the Africans should go there.

  26. Guys (EU) you cannot take Africa's resources without taking some locals with you !
    Or, just give back Ceuta and Melilla to Morroco and your problem is solved, no more wall to climb

  27. Why do Americans think it is bad to have a protected border? I am from Italy and I hear Americans do not like borders

  28. This is an invasion!
    There should be shoot orders if they want to try there luck, but no the government is weak and lets them come into europe slowly destroying it.

  29. it's so easy for Europeans to judge this people and easy to forget that their governments is the cause of what's happening in africa from stealing natural resources to force them to pay taxes every year

  30. No one ! No one can help the uncivilized , lawless , lazy cacroaches because they dont want to think How to help themselves . This hoards of useless humanoids is being used by ORGANAIZED POWERS. TO DESTROY EUROPE AND ITS NATIONS without decalaration of WAR !!!!! CONQUEST without fight , clever planning by globalists .

  31. Interesting to see how so few people address the real issue which is to question what does it take to prevent those people from wanting to leave their homeland.

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