THE FENCE

Nador, Morocco / Melilla, Spain - 2014

Melilla is a Spanish enclave of 12.5 km² located in Morocco, lapped by the waves of the Mediterranean and only 50 km from Algeria.

The city is surrounded by a six meter high triple-layered metal fence that separates it from the Moroccan province of Nador, making its border one of the most hazardous in the world for migrants and refugees who attempt to reach European soil illegally.

Sub-Saharan migrants and refugees live rough in makeshift camps hidden in the woods of Morocco close to Melilla, with no choice but to try to jump the fence, facing the violence of both countries’ police forces and the blades running the length of the Moroccan side of the border.

Many are refugees from countries such as Mali and the Central African Republic, some are minors, but none of them have the option of requesting asylum when the Moroccan paramilitary blocks their attempt to approach the fence, sometimes using extreme violence, or when the Spanish Civil Guard forces them to get off the fence and expels them directly to Morocco illegally.

Many spend years trying to make the jump; some are seriously injured and others die in the attempt. They have nothing but dignity and courage, something that European and African politicians, who are to blame for the situation in which they are in, seem to lack.