At the end of July our UK-based Street Child Project Coordinator, Jenny, attended a 2-day conference on ‘Statelessness and Transcontinental Migration’ held at the United Nations University in Barcelona. The conference brought together a range of experts – many academics alongside representatives from a number of international NGOs – to discuss current issues in migration with a specific focus on stateless and undocumented peoples.
Of particular interest to the Moroccan Children’s Trust was the talk given by the conference’s second key note speaker Professor Khadija Elmadmad, director of the UNESCO Centre “The Law and Migration” in Rabat. Professor Elmadmad talked about research carried out with undocumented children in Morocco, both those born to Moroccan parents and those either born to sub-Saharan migrants or travelling through Morocco as migrants themselves. She spoke passionately about the barriers faced by many of these children, such as not being allowed to go to school, and how many amongst them are effectively stuck in limbo, unable to build lives for themselves.
Professor Elmadmad was also kind enough to mention the work already undertaken by the Moroccan Children’s Trust as part of our Identity Papers project, which seeks to understand the scale of the undocumented population in Taroudannt and its environs, raise awareness of the issue in the area and advocate for systemic changes that will help to prevent disadvantaged children from being left with no legal identity in future. Participation in the conference comes at a particularly important time for MCT, as we near the end of our one-year ID Papers pilot and are currently finalising plans for the next stages of the project. By engaging with eminent actors in the field, such as Professor Elmadmad, we hope to be able to maximise the impact of our work in this area over the coming years.