“I express my deep emotion and concern at the violent and degrading treatment of African migrants seeking to cross an international border between Morocco and Spain,” Moussa Faki tweeted on Sunday evening.

“I call for an immediate investigation into this case and remind all countries of their obligations under international law to treat all migrants with dignity and to put their safety and human rights first, while restraining any excessive use of force,” added the head of the AU Commission.

In a tweet, Kenya’s Ambassador to the UN Martin Kimani announced that at the initiative of his country, supported by Gabon and Ghana – the two other African countries currently non-permanent members of the Security Council – -, he was going to hold a meeting behind closed doors on Friday’s violent crackdown on migrants.

Diplomats said the session was originally planned for Monday but was eventually pushed back to Wednesday.

It will focus on “the deadly violence faced by African migrants entering” the Spanish enclave of Melilla from Moroccan territory, said the Kenyan diplomat.

“Migrants are migrants: whether they come from Africa or Europe, they do not deserve to be brutalized in this way,” said Martin Kimani.

Asked during his daily press briefing on the tragedy that occurred on Friday, United Nations spokesman Stéphane Dujarric confined himself to declaring that the UN “deplored this tragic event and the loss of life” which resulted from it.

Spain had previously welcomed Rabat’s “collaboration” on Monday “in the defense of (its) borders”, while many voices are being raised to demand an investigation into the deaths of migrants.

Moroccan justice has decided to prosecute 65 migrants, mostly Sudanese, for having participated in the attempted lethal passage on Friday, we learned Monday from a defense lawyer.

The prosecution of the court of first instance in the Moroccan city of Nador (north), bordering Melilla, charged 37 migrants with “illegal entry on Moroccan soil”, “violence against law enforcement officers”, “armed crowd” and “refusal to comply,” their lawyer Khalid Ameza told AFP.

A second group, made up of 28 migrants, will also be tried for “participation in a criminal gang to organize and facilitate illegal immigration abroad”, added Me Ameza.

The lawyer specified that the majority of the defendants were from Darfur, in western Sudan, in the grip of a serious food crisis and where recent violence has left more than 125 dead and caused the displacement of 50,000 people.

Others are Chadians and Malians, one of them is Yemeni.

About fifty NGOs, including the Moroccan Association for Human Rights (AMDH) and the Spanish Caminando Fronteras, denounced “a tragic symbol of European policies for the externalization of the borders of the European Union”.

“The death of these young Africans (…) exposes the deadly nature of security cooperation on migration between Morocco and Spain,” they added.

The Spanish defender of the people (ombudsman), seized by NGOs, asked for explanations “from the services concerned”.

At least 23 migrants died and 140 police officers were injured, according to Moroccan authorities, during an attempt to bring some 2,000 migrants into the Spanish enclave of Melilla, in Moroccan territory.

This toll is the deadliest ever recorded during the many attempts by sub-Saharan migrants to enter Melilla and the neighboring Spanish enclave of Ceuta, the European Union’s only land borders with the African continent.