MPs have reacted with disbelief to the reported refusal of the Moroccan government to discuss the return of failed asylum seekers from that country and want explanations from foreign minister Stef Blok, public broadcaster NOS reports.
Junior justice minister Anneke Broekers-Knol was supposed to broach the subject with her Moroccan counterpart during an official visit to Morocco but was told by the foreign ministry that ‘she would not be talking to the right people’ and her visit would be ‘of no use’, the minister told MPs during this week’s justice ministry budget debate.
Morocco is considered a safe country and failed asylum seekers are unlikely to be given a residence permit but so far the country has been slow to take back its citizens.
Broekers-Knol later said ‘the Moroccan government hadn’t refused her visit as such’ but MPs said they failed to see the difference with her earlier comment and demanded explanations from the foreign minister.
‘This is a signal that Morocco is not taking this problem seriously,’ SP MP Jasper van Dijk said. CDA and PVV MPs asked why the failed asylum seekers were not simply put on a plane and returned, to which the junior minister replied most would be back ‘by return of post’.
The Netherlands has been grappling with the problem of would-be refugees from safe third countries including Morocco, Algeria and, more recently, Moldova.
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