The African Union (AU) has called for an immediate investigation into the death of at least 23 migrants who died on Friday when a huge crowd tried to cross into Spain’s North African enclave of Melilla.
AU Commission chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat said he was shocked and concerned about the treatment that African migrants receive when they attempt to cross international borders.
“I remind all countries of their obligations under international law to treat all migrants with dignity and to prioritize their safety and human rights, while refraining from the use of excessive force,” Mr Mahamat said in a tweet.
The authorities in Morocco said some of those who died had fallen from the top of a border fence that separates Morocco and Melilla.
More than 130 people managed to jump over the fence.
Melilla and Ceuta, Spain’s other North African enclave, have the European Union’s only land borders on the African continent.
Friday’s mass crossing attempt was the first since Spain and Morocco mended a year-long diplomatic dispute in March.
This is after Spain supported Morocco’s autonomy plan for the disputed region of Western Sahara.