According to Bourita, Belgian and Dutch authorities prioritized people with single citizenship over dual citizens in their repatriation flights.
Rabat – Morocco’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Nasser Bourita condemned the discrimination of Belgian and Dutch authorities against dual citizens during the repatriation flights that followed the suspension of all international commercial air travel to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Bourita revealed that the Netherlands and Belgium, initially, refused to repatriate Moroccans with dual nationality and prioritized Dutch and Belgian nationals without foreign origins.
The foreign minister made the statement today, April 23, during a meeting with the Committee of Foreign Affairs, National Defense, Islamic Affairs, and Moroccans Residing Abroad at the House of Representatives.
In the first 42 flights to repatriate Belgians stranded in Morocco, Belgium did not repatriate any Belgian national of Moroccan origins, Bourita said.
The same preference occurred in the first 30 Dutch repatriation flights, he added, explaining that Dutch authorities prepared the lists of passengers.
Morocco facilitated repatriation flights for stranded citizens from several countries and did not interfere in the passenger lists, Bourita continued.
While Morocco has no diplomatic strife with Belgium and the Netherlands, it denounces the prevalence of segregative agendas in the repatriation process, the minister stressed.
Morocco and Belgium later agreed to use humanitarian criteria to develop passenger lists, he continued.
The Belgian and Dutch experiences were an exception and Morocco did not face any issues with other countries, assured Bourita, adding that Morocco has facilitated over 500 repatriation flights for the benefit of approximately 80,000 foreign citizens.
To control the spread of COVID-19, Morocco suspended all international flights on March 15, leaving thousands of tourists stranded in the country and thousands of Moroccans stuck abroad.
The following week, the Moroccan government allowed multiple repatriation flights for foreigners stranded in Morocco. However, authorities have not yet moved to repatriate Moroccans abroad.
During the meeting, Bourita assured the committee Morocco is planning to repatriate all of its citizens stranded abroad.
“Moroccans have the right to come home. It’s incontestable,” he said.
The Moroccan government has not announced the commencement date of the repatriation process but stressed it requires rigorous planning and should take place in the best conditions to avoid posing public health threats to Morocco.