03. März 2014 · Kommentare deaktiviert für „Moroccan NGO launches lawyer training program in Oujda“ (Fahamu) · Kategorien: Marokko

Refugee Legal Aid in Morocco: Moroccan NGO launches lawyer training program in border city of Oujda

Anna Jacobs is is student at the University of Oxford and is undertaking an MPhil in Modern Middle Eastern Studies.

The Moroccan non-governmental organization Droit et Justice has launched its training program in refugee law in the border city of Oujda. This program represents an integral component of the Legal Aid Program for Refugees in Morocco, known by its French acronym AJRM. This initiative came to fruition thanks to the financial support of the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network and the British Embassy of Morocco, in collaboration with the Oujda Bar Association.


In Morocco the migrant community is largely from sub-Saharan Africa, though a growing number of Syrian refugees are present. Many of these individuals flee their country of origin because of persecution based on race, religion, nationality, ethnic group, sexuality, and political opinion. They are thus eligible to apply for asylum, but they do not often have access to information on the Refugee Status Determination process in Morocco. Additionally, those who do submit a request for asylum do not typically benefit from the assistance of a lawyer.

The objective of this project is to train a team of lawyers and jurists looking to take part in pro bono legal assistance for asylum seekers so that each one is able to take one case per year. This framework allows lawyers to execute the lessons they have learned through the training programs, which also cultivates a pro bono legal aid culture and develops expertise in international law. This also offers benefits to the asylum seekers, a community very much in need of legal aid and greater access to information on the Refugee Status Determination process. The imperatives of this project have become especially significant given the Moroccan authorities’ recent push to create a national system of asylum in the Kingdom.

The challenges the migrant community faces includes the lack of legal aid and interpreters, police aggression by both Moroccan and Spanish authorities, poor living conditions, economic vulnerabilities and limited access to health care. These problems are especially acute in the border areas of Oujda-Nador, near the borders with Algeria and the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla. The living conditions for migrants in these areas are especially dire, and the region suffers from a lack of civil society support and particularly harsh security controls.

Legal aid for asylum seekers in border areas

For these reasons, a training program in asylum law for lawyers in the Oujda-Nador region took place on 25-26 January 2014 in the city of Oujda. A second will take place at the end of February in the same locale. The first section targeted lawyers and jurists while the second session focused primarily on raising awareness among civil society actors who provide support to the migrant community in the border region. This second session also included representatives of the sub-Saharan migrant community from the cities of Oujda, Nador, Berkane, and Taourirt.

Raising awareness among both Moroccan civil society and the migrant community facilitates their ability to educate people about the Refugee Status Determination process while also equipping activists, volunteers, and social workers with some of the skills needed to identify potential asylum seekers in need of legal, social, and economic support. Thirty-one participants attended the first session on 25 January. This included eighteen lawyers, seven university faculty members, one NGO member, one journalist, and three individuals with an unknown affiliation. The second session hosted a total of forty-one representatives from Moroccan civil society and sub-Saharan migrant associations. This high volume of active and eager participation is a testament to the pressing need to raise awareness on migration, asylum law, and the benefits of developing a pro bono legal aid in the region.

Legal aid training programs in Rabat

This refugee and asylum seeker support program falls within the framework of Droit et Justice and their commitment to judicial reform, the rule of law, and the promotion of pro bono legal aid throughout the country and especially in Casablanca and Rabat. Initial training programs on refugee law took place on 12 September 2013 in Rabat in the presence of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees. The conference was attended by twenty-nine lawyers and jurists in the Rabat-Casablanca region.

This group gathered a second time on 10 October 2013 at the headquarters of the Moroccan Labor Union, Organisation democratique de travail (ODT). This meeting highlighted the challenges that asylum seekers face in Morocco and the practical application of international law in providing legal assistance. Questions about social and psychological support and international and domestic laws relating to migrant and refugee rights were especially important for the participants.

via Fahamu Refugee Legal Aid Newsletter | Refugee Legal Aid in Morocco: Moroccan NGO launches lawyer training program in border city of Oujda

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