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Last Updated: Monday, 10 October 2005, 07:16 GMT 08:16 UK
Spain reviews migrant deportation
Migrant at a holding centre in Melilla
Migrants complain of ill treatment by Moroccan security forces
Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos is to visit Morocco for talks on how to handle migrants seeking to enter Spain's North African enclaves.

The Spanish government is reviewing its policy on deporting illegal migrants from Melilla and Ceuta back to Morocco amid mounting international concern.

A government official in the Melilla enclave said no more deportations were planned at the moment.

Humanitarian groups have criticised Spain for sending people back.

Another plane full of illegal migrants from sub Saharan African left Melilla on Sunday, but it was bound for the Spanish mainland.

Big dilemma

The migrants who remain in Melilla say their treatment at the hands of the Moroccan security forces was appalling, the BBC's Chris Morris in Melilla says.

They have appealed to Spain not to deport anyone else back across the border.

Spain and Morocco have taken a tougher line against the migrants in the last few days, after thousands of people tried to storm the high razor wire fences which surround Melilla and Ceuta.

Hundreds of migrants made it across, but at least 11 were killed.

That prompted Spain to deport some of the new arrivals back to Morocco, a move denounced by humanitarian groups.

They say hundreds of other migrants caught on the Moroccan side of the border have been taken further south and dumped in a remote desert region.

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has urged the two governments to treat the migrant groups humanely.

The EU and UN are sending teams to Morocco amid growing concern about how the authorities are treating immigrants.

The issue presents a big dilemma for Spain, but it could also become a political problem for the Socialist government, our correspondent says.

A new opinion poll says illegal immigration now tops the list of issues which concern voters the most.





SEE ALSO:
Six killed near Spain's enclave
06 Oct 05 |  Europe
In pictures: Fortress Europe
28 Sep 05 |  In Pictures
Regions and territories: Ceuta, Melilla
03 Sep 05 |  Country profiles


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