By Edmund Mingle
The government of Morocco says it is refocusing its immigration policy to tolerate the increasing migration to that country, and to uphold respect for the human rights of immigrants.
The move, which comes in the wake of the increasing numbers of immigrants, mostly from Sub-Saharan Africa, into Morocco, is to ensure that the migrants are treated fairly in accordance with international human right treaties.
|King Mohammed VI of Morocco|
According to Mrs. Nesha Alaoui M’Hammdi, the Moroccan Ambassador to Ghana, the initiative was part of efforts to strengthen bilateral co-operation with other African countries.
She explained that statistics on immigration in Morocco had shown that the migrant population from sub-Saharan African countries has quadrupled, and that Morocco is also experiencing a new form of immigration from countries such as Spain, France and other European countries
as a result of the global economic crisis.
“The combination of these diversified forms of migration makes Morocco, gradually and irreversibly, a cosmopolitan country. The regular and irregular emigration of Moroccans and the growing visibility of new populations of emigrants in Moroccan cities, undoubtedly attest to the fact that Morocco is concerned by the globalization of human mobility,” she said.
A policy statement on the new focus of that country’s foreign immigration policy, said Morocco, which has demonstrated its ability to manage the most difficult political transitions, has become a land of asylum and long-term settlement for migrants. It welcomes regular immigrant workers, a relatively large number of foreign students, migrants with an irregular status, “in transit” often for years, an asylum seekers and refugees.
This fact has been clearly highlighted by His Majesty the King Mohammed VI of Morocco, who has called for a new approach to meet the new challenges of immigration and immigrant rights.
As part of the policy, a number of new measures would be taken. These include “the establishment of a policy of integration of refugees and their families, in terms of housing, health, schooling, training and employment; to allow married statutory refugees to proceed legally to family reunification; to ensure compliance with the principle of prohibition of expulsion or return (nonrefoulement) as a cornerstone of the right of the refugees, as mentioned in article 33 of the 1951 Geneva Convention by giving potential asylum-seekers the right to fill out, upon their arrival on Moroccan territory, an asylum application; and to establish a national legal and institutional framework of asylum, which is based on the principles set out in the preamble of the 2011 Moroccan constitution, and which organizes the status of refugees in Morocco and the conditions for the exercise of the right of asylum recognized in article 30 of the constitution.”
Further, “the government will officially consider the development and establishment of an operation of special regularization of some categories of migrants in irregular administrative situations, according to criteria that take into account the duration of stay in Morocco, the right to family co-residence, the conditions for insertion in Moroccan society, the settlement agreements reached by the Kingdom with other partners (international organizations of the United Nations system, partner countries of Morocco, including European countries and the European Union).”
Under the new focus, the Moroccan government would also ban all forms of violence against undocumented migrants during arrest procedures; take measures to discourage employers who exploit undocumented migrants, and guarantee access to labor inspectors without fear of retribution; and facilitate the registration of new births and issuing of death certificates.
With regard to fighting human trafficking, the statement said the government plans to develop, in a collaborative manner, a national plan of action to combat human trafficking and strengthen the capacity of law enforcement agencies in their fight against human trafficking, while improving on partnership with organizations against human trafficking and for the protection of victims of abuse.
Reacting to the new policy, The United Nations Office in Morocco applauded the interest shown by Morocco’s National Council for Human Rights (CNDH) to respect the human rights of foreigners in the Kingdom and the scope of its recommendations in that regard,
A UN statement in Morocco said it has noted the publication of a report on the human rights situation of foreigners in Morocco, particularly refugees, asylum seekers and migrants. "
Agencies of the United Nations in Morocco, including the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) reiterated the Moroccan authorities " their willingness to support national efforts to ensure that refugees, asylum seekers and migrants a home up to the humanistic traditions of the Kingdom and the requirements of national and international legal framework , " the statement concluded.