Morocco > Overview

last update: July 2012

Traditional country of emigration, Morocco has become, in recent years, a transit country to Europe as well as a host for a growing number of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers mainly from sub-Saharan African countries.
With the tightening of control measures at the border areas of southern Europe, these migrants are stranded in Morocco for an indefinite period. The externalization policy conducted by the European Union and the pressure on Morocco, condemn these migrants to live in insecurity and anxiety, trapped in precarious and unacceptable conditions going against human dignity.

Concerned about its relations with Europe, Morocco has engaged on an ongoing policy of increased repression against migrants, refugees and asylum seekers on its territory, a policy that translates into campaigns of raids and forced deportations towards the eastern border area of the country, to a border "officially closed since 1994," that of Algeria, near Oujda, the capital of the Eastern Region. These raids and forced expulsions affect nationals of countries of sub-Saharan Africa to legal situations very variable: undocumented migrants, asylum seekers registered with UNHCR and refugees recognized by UNHCR, pregnant women, unaccompanied minors...

The arrested persons are renewed and retained in Police or Gendarmerie centers, after the gathering of a sufficient number, they are deported to the Algerian-Moroccan border border without any consideration of the procedures to be followed in such cases. (Morocco applies a principle of expelling undocumented immigrants to the country, usually in Algeria, they crossed to enter the kingdom). The Moroccan law of 02-03, on immigration, provides guarantees as among other, the undocumented migrant should be deported to his country if he is carrying official identity papers, and if this is not possible, he is deported to a third country third country that agrees, but the authorities have conducted mass deportations of migrants of different nationalities, and leaving them at the Moroccan-Algerian border.

More information:

The representation of UNHCR in Morocco (documents, statistics…):

Law 02/03 on the entry and stay of foreigners in the Kingdom of Morocco, irregular emigration and immigration:

“Europe’s Murderous Borders” by Migreurop:

“The Black Book of Ceuta and Melilla”, by Migreurop:

“Morocco: From Emigration Country to Africa's Migration Passage to Europe’’ by Dr Hein de Haas, International Migration Institute:

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