UNHCR’s Protection Chief Praises Morocco for Efforts to Protect Refugees

UNHCR’s protection chief Volker Türk has praised Morocco for adopting a National Policy on Immigration and Asylum  aiming at offering protection to refugees, the UN Refugee agency said in a statement.

“Morocco is the first country on the African continent having signed the 1951 Geneva Convention,” Türk recalled in a speech at a meeting of human rights institutions, held in Rabat this week.

The meeting is jointly organized by the UNHCR, the Moroccan Council for Human Rights, the San Remo International Institute of Humanitarian Law and the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

“UNHCR is very keen to work closely with the Moroccan authorities, who launched a series of unprecedented policy changes since 2014 for the benefit of refugees,” Turk Added.

Türk’s visit to Rabat coincided with the fourth anniversary of the launch of the country’s National Policy on Immigration and Asylum (NPIA). In this regards, he congratulated Morocco for the “progress that has been made over the last four years,” noting that Morocco’s policy now has to be enshrined in a proper normative framework in order to ensure sustainability.

He highlighted that refugees can be a driver of economic growth in Morocco. “In the beginning, the arrival of refugees can be seen by the society as something new and difficult to manage, especially as regards access to public services, such as healthcare, access to employment, and education. However, it is important to see refugees as an opportunity and a catalyst for change,” he explained.

During his visit to Rabat, Turk met with successful refugees who managed to set up their own businesses in Morocco. He met refugees from Syria, Yemen and Sub-Saharan Africa who managed to integrate in Morocco’s economic fabric.

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