World Refugee Day 2007 National Activities: Morocco
World Refugee Day, 20 June 2007
WRD was marked by the Foundation Orient Occident, which organized a three-day African Cultural Event. It opened with a conference on refugee rights, which was followed by the screening of a film about the life of refugees in Morocco.
- Refugee women in Morocco learn about business from local women
- UNHCR to expand confidence-building programme for Sahrawi refugees
- Morocco and UN refugee agency sign agreement to strengthen cooperation
- UNHCR presents results of asylum interviews to Moroccan authorities
- UNHCR team still awaiting access to persons of concern in Morocco
UNHCR country pages
Sighted off Spain's Canary Islands
Despite considerable dangers, migrants seeking a better future and refugees fleeing war and persecution continue to board flimsy boats and set off across the high seas. One of the main routes into Europe runs from West Africa to Spain's Canary Islands.
Before 2006, most irregular migrants taking this route used small vessels called pateras, which can carry up to 20 people. They left mostly from Morocco and the Western Sahara on the half-day journey. The pateras have to a large extent been replaced by boats which carry up to 150 people and take three weeks to reach the Canaries from ports in West Africa.
Although only a small proportion of the almost 32,000 people who arrived in the Canary Islands in 2006 applied for asylum, the number has gone up. More than 500 people applied for asylum in 2007, compared with 359 the year before. This came at a time when the overall number of arrivals by sea went down by 75 percent during 2007.