Charlottesville, Virginia- Morocco’s National Human Rights Council (CNDH) published a report on the situation of migrants and refugees in Morocco, which revealed the precarious state of this population throughout the Kingdom and the desperate need for legal and social reform.
The report proposed legislative improvements relative to documented and undocumented immigrants, asylum seekers, and victims of human trafficking. It also called for a stronger commitment to the international conventions that Morocco has ratified, such as the 1951 Geneva Convention on the rights of refugees and the 1993 convention on the rights of migrant workers and their family, among others.
According to a press release from the Royal Cabinet the king has reviewed the report, following the special role given to the National Human Rights Council in article 24 of the Royal Dahir stipulating the creation and advisory role of the council as an engine of human rights reform and development.
The press release states that “While remembering that the Kingdom of Morocco was always a country of emigration and a land of immigration, the CNDH report emphasizes the long tradition of immigration and hospitality in Morocco, especially due to its long-standing relationship with sub-Saharan Africa, explains the national and international framework which governs foreigners in Morocco, in particular the Constitution which guarantees the principle of non-discrimination, the right to seek asylum and the equal rights shared among both nationals and foreigners, and finally presents some recommendations, after having analyzed the changes in the situations of migrants and refugees.”
It goes on to state that, “the sovereign has noted the relevant recommendations offered by CNDH and reiterates his belief that the migration problematic, object of legitimate and sometimes controversial concern, should be approached in a global and humanistic manner, conforming with international law and in the framework of renewed multilateral cooperation.”
According to the International Organization of Migration and civil society groups there are between 10,000 and 20,000 undocumented sub-Saharan African migrants in Morocco. At the moment, the UNHCR, located in Rabat, cites over 800 recognized refugees—with the majority coming from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Cote d’Ivoire.
For several years now, Moroccan and international human rights groups such as the Anti-racist group for the defense and support of foreigners in Morocco (GADEM), the Moroccan Association for Human Rights(AMDH), the Beni Znassen Association for Culture, Development, and Solidarity(ABCDS), the Moroccan Organization for Human Rights(OMDH), the East-West Foundation, the UN Refugee Agency, the International Organization of Migration, and, until this year, Doctors without Borders-Spain, as well as sub-Saharan activist organizations such as the Council of sub-Saharan Migrants, have been supporting this population throughout the Kingdom, notably in urban areas such as Rabat and Casablanca and border areas like Oujda and Nador.
According to these groups sub-Saharan migrants and refugees suffer from legal and social vulnerabilities relating to their undocumented status, lack of health care and legal aid, and both social and institutionalized racism.
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