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Ms. Bouayach Highlights the Urgent Need for Attention and Intervention in the Fate of Refugees Seeking Safety and Protection

“The fate of refugees seeking safety and protection requires our attention and urgent intervention more than ever,” stated Ms. Amina Bouayach, Chairperson of the National Human Rights Council (CNDH) and Secretary of the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI) at the Global Refugee Forum 2023, held from 13 to 15 December 2023 in Geneva.

At the high-level event on “Access to Protection: Asylum Systems, Legal Assistance and Human Rights,” Ms. Bouayach shed light on the pivotal role of the legal system in addressing the challenges encountered by refugees and asylum seekers.

She underscored that justice should play a significant role, supported by States guaranteeing adequate access- whether legislatively, administratively, or in terms of logistics and finances- to provide effective protection, safeguard asylum seekers’ rights equitably, and ensure the security of host countries.

Ms. Bouayach emphasized the fundamental role of NHRIs in implementing universal human rights standards. She highlighted their importance in monitoring the human rights situation before /during the displacement of refugees, reporting on the situation of their rights and supporting the harmonization of the legal framework with international standards.

In this context, she outlined NHRIs missions, including supporting competent authorities in adopting asylum laws in line with international standards, promoting refugees' access to their fundamental rights (education and health), advocating for the establishment of multilingual orientation mechanisms, and facilitating inclusive integration of refugees into relevant initiatives and policies.

While emphasizing the importance of civil society as a partner and ally of NHRIs, the CNDH Chairperson called for adequate operational and financial support. She also shared the Moroccan experience related to the capacity-building program for civil society that was implemented in the 12 Moroccan regions.

At the end of her statement, Ms. Bouayach reiterated the commitment of the CNDH, linked by a framework agreement with the UNHCR Morocco, to protect the rights of refugees and asylum seekers. She stressed that ensuring transparency, justice and equity in a legal system remains the most effective guarantee of the rights of all persons seeking security and protection. She also noted the need to invest in preventing conflict, peacebuilding and sustainable development to ensure a more stable and secure future for all.

Held every four years, the Global Refugee Forum 2023 is the world’s largest international gathering on refugees. It was designed to support the practical implementation of the objectives set out in the Global Compact on Refugees: Ease pressures on host countries, enhance refugee self-reliance, increase access to third-country solutions and improve conditions in countries of origin.

It provided an opportunity for States and stakeholders to announce concrete pledges and contributions, highlight progress made, share good practices and take stock of the challenges and opportunities ahead to make a difference.