Morocco is ‘reference country’ in managing asylum issues: UNHCR official

Morocco is ‘reference country’ in managing asylum issues: UNHCR official

UNHCR Representative in Morocco François Reybet-Degat

Rabat (UNA-OIC) – The Kingdom of Morocco is positioning itself as “a reference country” on the international scene in terms of welcoming refugees thanks to an inclusive asylum policy, UNHCR Representative in Morocco François Reybet-Degat said on Monday.

Morocco has made the choice “to be a land of asylum” at the instigation of King Mohammed VI, said Reybet-Degat on the occasion of the presentation of the UNHCR’s annual report, recalling that the National Immigration and Asylum Strategy adopted in 2013 is “inclusive and human-based”.

He also highlighted the relevance and strength of this policy, which was particularly illustrated in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, in that from the first day of the national response to this global crisis, the Sovereign insisted on the fact that all the measures implemented by the public authorities benefit all social categories, including foreigners living in Morocco.

Following the celebration of World Refugee Day on June 20, the UNHCR official praised Morocco’s “very progressive” policy in this area, which opens several possibilities in terms of protection as well as social and economic support for refugees.

Reybet-Degat mentioned that since 2015, some 900 refugee children were born in Morocco and have had immediate access to a legal identity, “which is not the case in several countries”.

Similarly, 90 percent of refugee children in primary school age are in school, “a figure above the global average”, he added.

Commenting on the “leading” role of Morocco on the international scene regarding mobility issues, the UN official underlined the “very important” role of the Kingdom in the preparation of the global compact for refugees and its adoption by the UN General Assembly in 2018. He noted that Morocco continues to play a major role in the Global Refugee Forum held every four years.

Reybet-Degat said that a study by the High Planning Commission, published in mid-2020, showed that only 45 percent of refugees have a residence permit, which is a fundamental element for the exercise of their rights, insisting on the vital character of the adoption of the law on asylum in Morocco.

Morocco is both a host and transit country with 14,952 refugees and asylum seekers on its territory from more than 45 countries, according to UNHCR’s annual report.

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