Operation: Opération: Morocco



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Key Figures

2018 year-end results
5,450 refugees benefitted from medical assistance by UNHCR and partners
4,410 asylum-seeker certificates were renewed through 19 outreach missions to six cities
2,350 refugee children/students received cash-based assistance for their education
2,060 local authorities and partners reached through 43 training workshops on international protection principles
1,300 people with specific needs identified for referral and follow-up with partners, including unaccompanied children, women at risk, and elderly people
120 refugees benefited from income-generating activities through 88 micro-projects
50 refugees found private sector employment and 13 acquired internships
92% of refugee children were enrolled in primary education
2019 planning figures
100% of primary school-aged refugee children will be enrolled in school
100% of refugees will have access to public primary health-care centers 
1,000 vulnerable refugee families will receive monthly financial assistance
150 refugee households will be supported in establishing their own businesses

People of Concern Personnes relevant de la compétence du HCR

Increase in
2018 7,775
2017 6,779
2016 6,733


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2018 {"categories":[2014,2015,2016,2017,2018,2019],"budget":[3.57777971,4.166918764,6.46554855,7.37972728,7.98954627,7.99999988],"expenditure":[2.81881231,3.06590613,4.53949401,5.61236189,6.16471016,null]} {"categories":[2014,2015,2016,2017,2018,2019],"p1":[3.57777971,4.166918764,6.46554855,7.37972728,7.98954627,7.99999988],"p2":[null,null,null,null,null,null],"p3":[null,null,null,null,null,null],"p4":[null,null,null,null,null,null]} {"categories":[2014,2015,2016,2017,2018,2019],"p1":[2.81881231,3.06590613,4.53949401,5.61236189,6.16471016,null],"p2":[null,null,null,null,null,null],"p3":[null,null,null,null,null,null],"p4":[null,null,null,null,null,null]}
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  • 2015
  • 2016
  • 2017
  • 2018
  • 2019

Operational environment

Although still a transit country, Morocco also became a final destination for many refugees and asylum-seekers in 2018.  In the absence of a political solution in Syria, the flow of Syrian refugees towards Morocco continued in 2018, as did people travelling in mixed movements from sub-Saharan Africa to Europe.
Access to people of concern was challenged by the refugee population being spread throughout the country. Protection gaps continued in 2018. For example, there were considerable delays in extending access for refugees to national medical care.  Within a national context riddled by high unemployment, the socio-economic integration of refugees was difficult. However some refugees managed to establish micro-projects to support self-sufficiency.
The passing of a draft asylum law was delayed repeatedly throughout the year, which was pending before the Parliament at the year’s end. In the absence of legislation, UNHCR remained responsible for the registration and refugee status determination of asylum-seekers, conducted jointly with the Moroccan authorities.

Population trends

Nearly 7,800 people from 44 countries registered with UNHCR in 2018, including more than 5,900 refugees and 1,800 asylum-seekers. The refugee population increased by 23% from 2017.

Refugees were spread across some 52 municipalities throughout the country, originating primarily from the Syrian Arab Republic (60%), sub-Saharan Africa (25% - the Central African Republic, Cote d’Ivoire, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo) and other Middle-Eastern countries (15% - Iraq, Palestine and Yemen).

Key achievements

  • 33% of all new applications were referred to UNHCR by NGO partners in northern/border areas, thereby offering a safe alternative to dangerous onward movement.
  • To facilitate local integration of refugees in Morocco, UNHCR and the Ministry of Migration signed a Framework Partnership Agreement with the General Confederation of Moroccan Enterprises (CGEM).
  • UNHCR’s child protection strategy was reinforced in 2018 with a new mechanism introduced to identify vulnerable children. Child protection training was also carried out for Government employees in Casablanca.
  • UNHCR continued to provide assistance and support to survivors of SGBV in line with its multi-year SGBV strategy. With 370 cases of SGBV reported to UNHCR in 2018, case referral and the provision of assistance were improved.  Urgent cases were provided with specific services including psychological support, financial assistance, safe accommodation, livelihood opportunities, as well as medical attention. In addition, SGBV-specific training was provided to local partners, volunteers, and civil society actors.

Unmet needs

  • Resources to cover life-saving and emergency interventions were relatively limited. Refugees and asylum-seekers suffering from chronic disease increased by 86%, while the health budget rose by only 9%.
  • Due to financial constraints, cash-based interventions covered only a small part of refugees’ basic needs, reaching only 20% of the registered population. Moreover, with the costs of living increasing nationwide, monthly financial assistance provided to refugees with specific needs no longer matched the cost of living in urban locations in Morocco. 
  • Limited employment opportunities for people with relatively high educational backgrounds (due to the lack of residence permits) resulted in increasing levels of frustration and disenfranchisement, particularly among youth.

Working environment

Refugees in Morocco originate from 35 countries, with the majority from the Syrian Arab Republic. Historically a transit country, Morocco is now increasingly becoming a destination country. Refugees reside in some 50 cities across the country. This contributes towards local integration, but challenges the work of the Government, UNHCR and partners in reaching out and delivering necessary services to the most vulnerable.
The immigration and asylum policy introduced in 2013 enables refugees to enjoy protection and access to basic services such as education, healthcare and the labour market, in Morocco. However, due to delays in expanding the national medical insurance scheme to refugees, certain gaps persist with regards to access to secondary healthcare. UNHCR’s key institutional partners are the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Migration Affairs and the Ministry in charge of Moroccans residing abroad.
Pending the submission of the draft asylum law to Parliament, UNHCR registers and processes all asylum claims in Morocco. Refugee status determination is undertaken jointly with Government officials, simultaneously providing an opportunity to build the capacity of Moroccan officials. UNHCR-registered refugees are referred to Moroccan authorities, who regularize their status by issuing them a refugee card and a residency permit. Syrians do not receive such documentation but in practical terms, they are protected from refoulement and have access to essential services like other refugees. 

Key priorities

UNHCR’s work revolves around three components: expanding cash-based interventions through the postal bank to reach the most vulnerable refugees even in remote locations; building capacities to conduct regular joint UNHCR-partner-Government outreach missions to the field, during which one-stop shops are organised for refugees and asylum seekers; engaging with and reinforcing the capacities of local authorities to facilitate refugees’ access to national social services, notably the National Mutual Aid (Entraide Nationale). Social services include psychosocial services and vocational skills training, and are provided to the most vulnerable, including women, children, elderly and people living with disabilities.
In 2018, UNHCR will focus on:
  • Supporting the Government in establishing a national asylum system;
  • Registering asylum-seekers and carrying out refugee status determination procedures in collaboration with the authorities;
  • Providing protection and assistance to refugees, particularly to the most vulnerable;
  • Delivering institutional capacity-building for national actors involved in asylum management;
  • Implementing durable solutions for refugees, focusing on socio-professional integration or resettlement to a third country for the most vulnerable.
Latest contributions
  • 17-JUL-2019
  • 16-JUL-2019
  • 11-JUL-2019
  • 10-JUL-2019
  • 08-JUL-2019
    European Union
  • Kuwait
  • 05-JUL-2019
  • 04-JUL-2019

    private donors

  • European Union
  • Japan
  • 03-JUL-2019
  • 02-JUL-2019
  • 30-JUN-2019

    private donors

  • Argentina
  • Sweden

    private donors

  • Spain
  • Oman

    private donors

  • United Arab Emirates

    private donors

  • Kuwait

    private donors

  • Saudi Arabia

    private donors