UNHCR Welcomes Morocco’s Decision to Admit Refugees Abandoned by Algeria

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) welcomed Morocco’s decision to let in a group of Syrian refugees who were abandoned in the desert border by Algerian authorities since 17 April.

“UNHCR welcomes the decision by the Kingdom of Morocco to admit a group of Syrian refugees stranded in difficult circumstances at the country’s border with Algeria,” the UN Refugee Agency said in a statement released Thursday.

The UN Agency described Morocco’s admittance of Syrian refugees as a “humanitarian gesture” in keeping with its traditions of hospitality.

The Agency also expressed satisfaction at its cooperation with Morocco to find a “durable solution to the plight of these vulnerable refugees.”

Morocco decided last Tuesday, as the world was celebrating the World Refugee Day, to admit 41 Syrian refugees stranded in harsh conditions by the Algerian authorities on the borders with Morocco.

The decision was taken on humanitarian grounds upon directives from King Mohammed VI in keeping with Morocco’s traditions of magnanimity, generosity and solidarity with afflicted people.

EuroMed Rights NGO also welcomed Morocco’s initiative, expressing its relief as the solving of this situation had lasted too long.

“We salute this move by the Moroccan authorities,” the NGO pointed out in a statement, adding that it “strongly encourages the Moroccan authorities to pursue the legislative reforms undertaken in the framework of the migration policy initiated in September 2013.”

Last month, the United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) issued a press release calling for urgent action to help the Syrian refugees who had been trapped in the borders between Morocco and Algeria.

Morocco’s foreign ministry had summoned Algeria’s Ambassador on April 22 to denounce the expulsion of Syrian migrants by Algerian authorities to the Moroccan border town of Figuig as an “inhumane behavior”.

The UNCHR confirmed in its statement that the stranded refugees, including women and children, were collected on 20 June by the Moroccan police from the border and transported by bus to Bouarfa, from where they were transferred to the capital Rabat”.

On the occasion of the World Refugee Day, celebrated on June 20, representative of the UN refugee Agency in Morocco Jean Paul Cavaliéri commended the North African country for the humanism underlying its immigration and asylum policy.

The UNHCR official hailed Morocco for having succeeded in developing an adequate legal framework guaranteeing the right to asylum.

Some 5,000 Syrians have gone through a migration regulatory process in Morocco, with several hundred receiving refugee status, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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