Rabat – Via its embassy in Brussels, Morocco has strongly condemned the remarks of the Belgian Secretary of State for Migration Theo Francken, who accused Morocco of having a “distrustful regime” and disrespect for human rights.
In an interview published on October 7 by the Belgian newspapers, La Libre Belgique and La Dernière Heure, the Secretary of State for Asylum and Migration made the comments while justifying his decision to invite an official Sudanese delegation to Belgium as a way to identify and repatriate undocumented Sudanese migrants.
Francken went on to say that, beyond Sudan, “there are a lot of regimes that we [Belgium] distrust, from countries where human rights are not respected. We cannot talk to Morocco either. Reading reports from the Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, I can only see violations [of human rights], all over Africa, the Middle East […] almost all over the world.”
Morocco was quick to react to the xenophobic accusations of Francken. Through its embassy in Belgium, Morocco expressed its “deep protest and deep indignation following the statements of the Belgian Secretary of State for Asylum and Migration,” reads a statement addressed to the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The diplomatic representation of the kingdom said that Francken’s statements testified to “a proven lack of knowledge of the mechanisms of cooperation and permanent dialogue between the two countries on all subjects,” judging that his statements “are politically unacceptable and utterly inappropriate.”
The embassy wrote that these kind of “hazardous, provocative and untimely statements” are regrettable, especially as they were spoken by a member of the Belgian government. Further, the response notes that the two countries have reached “an exceptional degree of density at all levels the support of a multifaceted cooperation and strong and high-level friendship.”
The Moroccan embassy recalled that the steps taken by Morocco in the consolidation of the rule of law and respect for human rights no longer need to be demonstrated and are today recognized and welcomed at all levels, by Belgium, the European Union and the international community as a whole.
The xenophobic statement has also earned the Belgian representative criticism from civil society in Belgium. At its head, the president of the League of Human Rights, Alexis Deswaef, accused Francken of “acting as a bandit.”
“Theo Francken violates the European Convention on Human Rights, and acts like a ‘bandit,’ in secret, knowing that what he is doing is illegal, and that a secretary of state can lower himself to do this for his political project of cleaning up Brussels rather than tackling the substantive issues is lamentable.”
This is not the fist time Francken has spoken against Morocco. In 2011, he attacked Moroccan immigrants, accusing them of “bringing no added value to Belgium.” In 2007, he accused the Moroccans of being “little b–tards.”