For centuries Morocco has cultivated its culture of humanism and hospitality, Hilale said.
Rabat – Morocco’s Permanent Representative to the UN Omar Hilale has extended a Moroccan welcome to asylum seekers and “foreigners wishing to find refuge.”
Hilale spoke on Wednesday, November 27, at a conference in Rabat on the “Challenges to Humanitarian Law” in honor of the 70th anniversary of the ratification of the 1949 Geneva Conventions.
Hilale reminded attendees of Moroccan hospitality to refugees in the past, reported Maghreb Arab Press, highlighting the time when Morocco welcomed the hundreds of thousands of Jews and Muslims whom Spain had expelled in the 15th and 16th centuries.
Today, the ambassador noted, Morocco welcomes its “African brothers” who are “in search of a better life in Europe.”
For centuries the kingdom has cultivated its culture of humanism and hospitality, Hilale said.
The UN assistant secretary-general for humanitarian affairs, Ursula Mueller, came to Rabat to deliver the keynote speech at the conference. In a tweet, she said she was “honored to participate” in the event, but she deplored the continued “unacceptable targeting of civilians, schools & hospitals” in global conflicts.
Both the national army and rebels have targeted hospitals in the conflict in Syria, and medical centers have been bombed in Yemen.
At the opening of the Rabat conference, Head of Government Saad Eddine El Othmani remarked that Morocco is making efforts to “harmonize” national law with its international obligations by revising the penal code.
El Othmani also highlighted Morocco’s national commission for international humanitarian law, established in 2008 as one of the first of its kind in the world.
The Moroccan government and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) jointly hosted the conference.
The ICRC has been active in Morocco since World War I, attending to German prisoners of war. The ICRC works with the Moroccan Red Crescent today with migrants, connecting Moroccans detained abroad with their families at home, and providing training on forensic medicine to Moroccan personnel.
Morocco ratified the 1949 Geneva Conventions on the treatment of wounded soldiers, prisoners of war, and civilians in armed conflict and the 1951 convention on the status of refugees shortly after its independence in 1956.