Children torn from their families as Moroccan Government clamps down on Christian presence
What’s at Stake
- Promoting the best interest of the child
- The right of parents to decide on the well-being of their children
Village of Hope is an orphanage in the Atlas Mountain region of Morocco which has cared for many parentless children since it was set up over a decade ago. In doing this, the orphanage has lived up to its name, giving hope to children who could so easily have been left uncared for. However, Moroccan authorities have taken a different view, deporting over a hundred of the orphanage’s workers in 2010 and accusing them of “proselytizing”.
From March to July 2010, Morocco deported more than 128 Christian workers, including an Egyptian Catholic priest, a Korean-born protestant pastor, and Christian foster parents. The number included 36 Christians who were foster parents at Village of Hope. The government’s unprecedented move tore apart foster parents and children, who are yet to be reunited.
Moroccan Interior Minister Tayeb Cherkaoui accused the Christians of “proselytizing”, saying they were “… guilty of trying to undermine the faith of Muslims.” But Chris Broadbent, one of the workers at Village of hope, explained that all staff members understood the rules prohibiting proselytizing, and that they did not push their Christian faith on the orphanage’s children. What’s more, Village of Hope received “institutional” status from the Moroccan Government just before the deportations, a designation meaning it had met government standards.
ADF International has partnered with local attorneys to represent some of the Village of Hope parents before the Moroccan courts. The case has also been brought before the US Congress’ International Human Rights Commission. While the first court in Morocco ruled in the parents’ favour, the appeals court sided with the government. Now, more than five years later, the workers from Village of Hope stand before the Supreme Court fighting for their right to be reunited with those who have become part of their family.
Our Role in the Case
ADF International is representing some of the deported families and the Village of Hope orphanage before the Supreme Court of Morocco.