UN refugee agency hails planned cooperation pact with Morocco

22 June 2007

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) today welcomed Morocco's announced intention to sign a cooperation agreement with the agency, saying it would pave the way for improved coordination to help those who have fled to the North African country.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) today welcomed Morocco's announced intention to sign a cooperation agreement with the agency, saying it would pave the way for improved coordination to help those who have fled to the North African country.

The announcement, made on Wednesday to coincide with World Refugee Day June 20, will pave the way for upgrading the status of the UNHCR office in Rabat. “UNHCR staff in Morocco will benefit from open channels of communication with all relevant governmental departments, central and local authorities, and partner organizations,” agency spokesman Ron Redmond told reporters in Geneva.

The imminent signature of the accord “is a clear expression of the expanding and deepening cooperation between the Moroccan authorities and UNHCR in the country,” he said. “This cooperation is aimed at protecting refugees within broader migratory movements affecting the country, and at finding durable solutions for refugees, including voluntary return, self-reliance and targeted use of resettlement.”

Morocco was the first country on the African continent to receive UNHCR staff in 1959 and to allow UNHCR to open an honorary delegation in 1965. The agency's office in Rabat currently has registered some 600 refugees recognized under its mandate, while some 1,000 asylum applications are pending, mainly from nationals from sub-Saharan African countries.

 

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