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Support for Refugees: UNHCR Welcomes Cooperation with Morocco

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United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Philippo Grandi welcomed, on Tuesday, the cooperation with Morocco, highlighting the commitment and efforts by the Kingdom in favor of refugees and migrants in full respect for their fundamental rights.

"I thank Morocco and welcome the quality of cooperation with the Moroccan authorities, who continue to manage a large mixed population of refugees and migrants, while fully respecting their fundamental rights," said Grandi, reacting to the statement by the Permanent Representative of Morocco in Geneva, Ambassador Omar Zniber, on the occasion of the 71st Session of the Executive Committee of the UNHCR Program.

Grandi also added that he had taken note of Ambassador Zniber's remarks concerning the situation of the Sahrawi populations in Tindouf and Algeria's refusal to conduct their census in violation of international principles and rules.

"In this regard, I hope that there will be progress at the political level of this protracted situation, in which the UNHCR has been engaged for decades," Grandi said.

In his speech, Zniber underlined that the interaction between UNHCR, through its office in Rabat, and the relevant Moroccan authorities led to positive results in terms of protection of refugees and asylum seekers, including full access to health and education, as well as a wide range of opportunities for vocational training, self-employment and access to the labor market.

"By basing its response to COVID-19 on an inclusive and fundamentally human approach, Morocco has jointly carried out with the UNHCR two important initiatives to turn this principle into concrete actions, namely: the comprehensive assessment of the socio-economic impact of COVID-19 on refugees, and the partnership agreement concluded with the National Council of the Order of Physicians, to facilitate access to special health care for asylum seekers and refugees", he recalled.

These two initiatives are part of the multi-stakeholder and partnership approach advocated by the Global Compact on Refugees and reiterated in December 2019 at the Global Refugee Forum in Geneva, the ambassador said.

In addition, Zniber highlighted the solidarity-based actions undertaken by Morocco at the international level and in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, recalling that HM King Mohammed VI has launched a pragmatic, action-directed initiative to support efforts to fight the pandemic in Africa. "This initiative has resulted in the dispatching of medical aid and humanitarian assistance to many brotherly and friendly African countries, belonging to all sub-regions of the continent," he said.

The Kingdom's solidarity action recently involved the populations affected by the tragic explosion in the port of Beirut, through the sending of 17 humanitarian cargo planes to Lebanon, carrying more than 400 tonnes of medicines and foodstuffs, as well as the setting up of a military field hospital, he said.

Regarding the situation in the Tindouf camps, Zniber underlined Algeria's persistence in opposing the international consensus on the need to separate humanitarian issues from political considerations.

MAP 06 October 2020