Morocco looks set to completely overhaul its migration policy, the latest in a series of positive advances in the North African country following the landmark Constitutional reforms of 2011.
A report released this week by Morocco’s National Human Rights Council (CNDH) outlined recommendations for a comprehensive reform package, affirming rights of migrants, asylum-seekers, and refugees by formalizing procedures and protections and calling for integration policies and training programs for law enforcement. The report is a follow-up to a paper in July on the issue of migration, and will add to a growing list of major modernizing reforms Morocco has undertaken. Recent media reports had criticized the handling of migrants, on the heels of a joint EU-Morocco effort to slow the rising influx of transitory migration.
Describing the existing system as “ad hoc,” the report recommends formalizing a legal framework based on ideals enshrined in Morocco’s 2011 Constitution and numerous international agreements ratified by Morocco. The new policy aims not only to protect migrants and asylum seekers, but also to more effectively target human traffickers, giving law enforcement the tools and training needed to effectively protect and responsibly prosecute.
King Mohammed VI embraced migrant policy reforms proposed by Morocco’s National Human Rights Council.
King Mohammed VI immediately expressed his support for the CNDH report and its recommended policy framework, as has the United Nations office in Rabat. The issue now falls to Parliament and other Moroccan government leaders, who have been called on to act expeditiously by the CNDH report, reinforced by a high-level meeting the King chaired this week of several ministers and senior officials convened to address moving forward with the recommendations. News of the proposed reforms, and the important issues they seek to remedy, has been carried by Associated Press, Washington Post, Fox News, BBC and Agence France Press.
Morocco is a historical epicenter of migration and shared culture in the region, which the report highlights. It calls on the broader Moroccan civil society not only to support the reforms, but also to keep in mind the heritage and benefits Morocco has gained from being a global crossroads. In addition to the domestic policy overhaul, the report recommends new and deeper partnerships with neighboring European countries, the EU, and human rights NGOs to make the most of these reforms.
As a rising tide of immigration continues to drive debate as well as controversy across the globe, Morocco, with these new reforms, may well emerge as a leader in forward-thinking migration policy. As a natural gateway between Africa, Europe, and beyond, Morocco is literally and figuratively in a unique place to do so.