UK government exploring Morocco asylum center: Report

UK government exploring Morocco asylum center: Report
Migrants react as they are brought to Dover harbor by Border Patrol, in Dover, England. (Reuters/File Photo)
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Updated 02 October 2020

UK government exploring Morocco asylum center: Report

UK government exploring Morocco asylum center: Report
  • ‘Sensitive’ documents reveal plan to move claimants offshore, including to North African nation

LONDON: The UK government is considering building detention centers for asylum seekers in foreign countries, including Morocco, as part of moves to transfer its asylum process off the British mainland, according to official documents seen by The Guardian.

Morocco is among a number of suggested sites that the government has sought advice on from the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCO), the newspaper reported.

The idea is thought to stem from a similar Australian immigration policy of housing asylum seekers on Papua New Guinea and Nauru rather than Australian soil — a practice that has been criticized by the UN, human rights groups and previous UK governments.

The Guardian said documents it had seen from the FCO were “highly dismissive of the ideas emanating from Downing Street, pointing out numerous legal, practical and diplomatic obstacles to processing asylums seekers overseas.”

Building a detention center in Morocco, it suggested, would probably be unfeasible, with Rabat or any North African government “highly unlikely” to agree to hosting asylum seekers sent from the UK. 

“No North African country, Morocco included, has a fully functioning asylum system,” the FCO advice stated. “Morocco would not have the resources (or the inclination) to pay for a processing center.”