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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
06CASABLANCA634 2006-06-09 15:10:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Consulate Casablanca
Cable title:  

UNHCR PROPOSES JOINT REFUGEE REGISTRATION WITH GOM

Tags:   PHUM PREF PREL SOCI PGOV MO 
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1. (U) This message is sensitive but unclassified. Please
protect accordingly.



2. (SBU) On May 24, UNHCR Head of Office Johannes Van der
Klaauw told poloff that he had submitted a proposal to the
Ministry of Interior (MOI) and the Ministry of Justice (MOJ)
seeking to form a joint registration process for refugees
and asylum seekers. The process would allow joint
recognition of the refugees and asylum seekers by UNHCR and
the GOM to insure just treatment of recognized refugees
living in Morocco. Van der Klaauw said UNHCR is ready to
provide training on the recognition and handling process of
refugees and asylum seekers to MOI and MOJ officials and
Moroccan security forces.



3. (SBU) While Van der Klaauw went on to say that he does
not believe there is widespread abuse of refugees in Morocco
he does admit that there are monthly arrests of recognized
refugees throughout the country. Oujda, in particular and
the frontier with Algeria in general are the areas with the
most frequent problem areas. Van der Klaauw says security
officials arrest approximately 30 refugee seekers a month in
Oujda. They are generally held for 24 to 48 hours and then
"turned back" to the border, according to Van der Klaauw.
He claims that two or three of those arrested each month are
recognized refugees carrying documentation issued by UNHCR
in Rabat. Van der Klaauw says the refugees make their way
back to Oujda from the frontier and are assisted by local
NGOs who contact UNHCR headquarters, who in turn arrange to
have the refugees brought back to Rabat for new papers to
replace those that are nearly always destroyed by police.



4. (SUB) Van der Klaauw told poloff that police and
security forces on the frontier do not recognizing official
UN documents. He is aware that local security forces are in
a difficult position since many migrants enter Morocco with
false refugee documents provided by traffickers in Algeria.
Van der Klaauw believes that a joint recognition and
registration process could alleviate these problems for
refugees in the region. Forming a GOM registry and
supplying the refugees with government identification cards
would allow them safe passage in the country as well as
access to legal employment and education.



5. (SBU) When asked about the status of the agreement of
regularization of UNHCR's relations with the GOM, Van der
Klaauw groaned that he is reassured weekly by the MOI that
the agreement will be signed. He is confident that the
agreement is forthcoming but as of the meeting with poloff
there was no official word as to when.



6. (SBU) Turning to the topic of resettlement, Van der
Klaauw updated poloff on the status of the refugees slated
to be resettled in the U.S. He stated that he hoped to have
at least ten candidates processed by the end of June. Van
der Klaauw said that he would have liked to have had more
ready by that time but delays in the arrival of temporary
support staff held up the processing.



7. (SBU) In winding up the conversation Van der Klaauw
mentioned that he has seen growing tension in the Congolese
refugee community in Rabat, a group that until now has been
unified and organized. He said that rumors were circulating
that a few of the recognized refugees were dictating to
UNHCR who should and should not be recognized, which has
resulted in growing resentment in the community. (Note:
Poloff also has been contacted by one of the leaders of the
community who confided that he feared his life was in danger
due to threats from his countrymen who were refused
recognition.)



8. (SBU) Comment: After signing the agreement of
recognition with UNHCR, accepting Van der Klaauw's proposal
to form a joint refugee recognition office is a constructive
next step for Morocco to take in order to fulfill its
international responsibilities. Morocco has made clear its
dedication to finding a solution to its migration problem,
in part, by planning to host an international migration
conference in July. However, in addition to finding a
solution to its main concern of sub-Saharans transiting the
country on their way to Europe, Morocco needs to face its
obligations to better understand and deal with the plight of
recognized refugees living within its borders.