Prince Moulay Hicham Bouachrines Prosecution Has Political Motivations

Rabat – Moulay Hicham shared a statement on Twitter in which he criticized the sentence given by Casablanca’s Court of Appeal on Friday night. Bouachrine received a sentence of 12 years in prison.“We are deeply saddened about the absence of a fair trial in the case of journalist Taoufik Bouachrine,” the prince said.He added that the lack of a “fair trial “missed an opportunity to establish truth in a judicial case that was mainly intended to protect Moroccan women.” Bouachrine was arrested in February after several women journalists filed complaints against him for “sexual harassment, assault, human trafficking, attempted rape, and  rape.”Prince Moulay Hicham said that the absence of a fair trial in this case and the lack of “testimony [by] national and international human rights organizations, which are known for their credibility, lead automatically to the conclusion that there are national and Arab political motives behind the prosecution of a journalist, who was a nuisance because of his writings.”The prince also questioned press freedom in the country, saying that the target, in this case, is “freedom of expression and independent press.”For  Moulay Hicham, Bouachrine’s case is “a new episode of an ongoing series” wherein we witness the “targeting [of] news outlets and journalists.” He added that some of those journalists who were jailed or exiled include Abou Baker El Jamii, Ali El Merabet, Ali Anzoula, Hamid El Mahdaoui, and others.Moulay Hicham also criticized Morocco’s development model. He said that the recent cases come against the backdrop of the state’s admission that its development model has “failed.” “with the state acknowledgment of its failed development model.” read more

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Homelessness serious threat to refugees in Poland Bulgaria and Slovakia – UN

Where is my home?, a collection of three studies on housing issues and homelessness among refugees and asylum-seekers in the three countries, is part of a regional initiative by UNHCR in central Europe and is based on research conducted in 2012.The study found that up to 10 per cent of people receiving international protection in Poland are “living in extreme homelessness” – without a roof over their head. Between 30 and 40 per cent are categorized as “living in housing exclusion” – sheltered, but without permanent accommodation. Only 20 per cent of Poland’s asylum-seekers and refugees are living in “secure and adequate” housing conditions.“The refugee housing crisis in Poland is caused by shortcomings in the integration process and policies that limit the ability of asylum-seekers to find jobs,” Adrian Edwards, a spokesperson for the agency, told reporters in Geneva. The report recommends that refugees in Poland be given greater financial assistance during integration, that they be assisted in finding their first home, and that the State increase the availability of temporary accommodation for refugees who are in the process of integrating, also known as “bridge housing.”In Bulgaria, researchers identified homelessness as a threat at every stage of the asylum process, Mr. Edwards noted. “In addition to discovering homelessness among newly arrived asylum-seekers, researchers found at least one example of a fully integrated refugee who was destitute and living on the street.”A major cause of homelessness in Bulgaria is due to the policy of prolonged detention, says the report. In order to be released, many asylum-seekers falsely declare that they have accommodation elsewhere, but are unaware that these declarations make them ineligible for further State protection.The report on Bulgaria called the country’s refugee integration measures “insufficient in their scope and duration.” Among its 20 recommendations, the report suggests that Bulgarian municipalities become partners in refugee integration to increase the availability of housing and that the country reform its integration process.Researchers in Slovakia found that the country’s official integration centre, a 10-flat complex situated in the city of Zvolen, was empty at the time of the study and had not been occupied by asylum-seekers since 2011. Similarly, nine low-rent apartments in Bratislava earmarked for refugee accommodation were unavailable for occupancy at the time of the study.In 2011, 491 foreigners applied for asylum in Slovakia. Only 12 asylum applications were granted and 91 people were given subsidiary protection. Seven refugees achieved Slovak citizenship. This record improved in 2012, according to the Slovak Ministry of Interior, with 32 foreigners given asylum out of 732 applications, and subsidiary protection granted to 104 people. No refugees were granted citizenship in 2012.The studies were conducted as part of UNHCR’s mandate to promote refugee integration in host countries, and to monitor integration issues such as housing, employment, education and public attitudes towards foreigners and asylum-seekers. Similar research is under way in Romania, Slovenia, Hungary and the Czech Republic. read more

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