Appeal to the King of Morocco launched from Gibraltar

The director of the Village of Hope, Herman Boonstra, has chosen Gibraltar to launch a campaign appealing to the King of Morocco to open dialogue with him in order to allow the parents at the home to be reunited with the 34 foster children at the home. This will be followed up by further appeals from other parts of the world.

At a press conference held yesterday Mr Boonstra denied that they had been proselytizing and affirmed that they had always worked with the full knowledge and agreement of the Moroccan authorities with the overt understanding that the overseas workers were Christian.

He said "I have shared a very good relationship with the local authorities during this time. We have taught them to honour Allah, their King and their country."

With obvious emotion showing in his voice Mr Boonstra added "This came as a sudden surprise because no charges concerning the welfare and care of the children have ever been raised as a concern by the Moroccan authorities in the 10 year history of Village of Hope. The Moroccan authorities did not produce any evidence of the alleged offence and they gave only a few hours for us to pack up belongings.

"The eviction process was the most painful situation imaginable and was one of the hardest experiences of my life. The Moroccan authorities gathered the children together in the school and told them what was happening in the absence of all the parents. After that, I and the other parents had to further explain to the devastated children what was about to happen. The trauma caused was beyond description. It was the most difficult and heart breaking thing that I have ever had to go through."

He also added that he, being a Dutch national, the Dutch Government had taken a very serious view of the incident and was reviewing agreements with Morocco in light of the incident.

The press conference was also addressed by Yewhung Chin of Piranha designs representing local supporters, who added his voice to the appeal.

There is a petition being organised by local supporters, they will be at the Piazza on Saturday morning.

In a separate address, Dr Malcolm Williams, who has worked as a professor of translation in the King Fahd school in Tangier for over 20 years recounted how he had also been held in custody, interrogated and deported, without being allowed to return home to collect his belongings. He joined Mr Boonstra in calling upon "all who love Morocco to express condemnation of such moves before further human rights violations, as well as deportations of foreigners and further of nationals take place."