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UPR of Morocco: praise for its human rights development in the current socio-economic climate
Wednesday, 30 May 2012 09:34

 

Tuesday 22 May marked the return of the Kingdom of Morocco for its second Universal Periodic Review (UPR). During the Kingdom’s first review in 2008, a total of 54 countries participated in the interactive dialogue. Four years on that number has nearly doubled. Due to time being allocated equally for all who wish to speak, rather than on a first-come-first-served basis as was the case in the first cycle, the 91 speakers were limited to just 1 minute and 17 seconds. Leading the 26 member delegation was Mr M Ramid, the Minister of Justice and Liberties, who acted as the chief respondent for questions. The delegation’s enthusiasm, so definitive of Morocco’s first UPR session, was again clearly apparent throughout the review.

 

In his opening speech the Minister of Justice focused on two main themes. He started by praising the Kingdom’s assimilation of the recommendations made during the previous UPR, recommendations which included the ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). He then examined Morocco’s ongoing commitment to human rights and its strategy for the future, including its aim to promote solidarity and facilitate universal access to health services, primary education and housing. Reminding the other states of Morocco’s socio-economic constraints, Mr Ramid passionately expressed an ongoing willingness to continue the country’s constructive dialogue under the UPR.

 

Despite being limited to 1 minute and 17 seconds each State congratulated Morocco for not only fulfilling most of its recommendations but for surpassing them as well. In particular the National Action Plan for Democracy and Human Rights and the National {GlossaryDef::Human Rights Council} (Morocco’s national human rights institution) received widespread applause. However, despite Morocco’s vast improvement in terms of human rights, several themes of concern emerged: censorship of the press, police brutality against protesters, civil rights in the Western Sahara,and the abolition of the death penalty. The events in Laayoune, where 10 protesters died due to police brutality in 2010, was highlighted as an example by states including the United Kingdom, Sweden, Denmark, and Switzerland.

 

The main recommendations made to the Kingdom of Morocco were:

 

  • Human rights training should be mandatory for judges and security forces in order to combat impunity
  • Enforced disappearances should be investigated and compensation provided to the surviving relatives
  • All cases of alleged police brutality and torture should be investigate
  • A legal framework should be created ensuring full freedom of expression in collaboration with the press, rights groups, and civil society
  • Marriage of a rapist to his victim should be outlawed as an avenue for a rapist to escape his sentence
  • Gender equality before the law regarding housing, employment, inheritance and marriage should be brought in line with international conventions and treaties
  • Capital punishment should be abolished
  • Corporal punishment against children and women should be abolished
  • Ratify the optional protocol of CEDAW, and the optional protocol of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)
  • Take further measures to remove gender disparities in terms of health care and to ensure better access to health care and education for women and girls

 

The delegation replied positively to the questions and recommendations, providing judicious and constructive answers. Regarding the question of imprisoned journalists posed by France, Belgium, the UK and the US, the delegation responded by confirming two men are currently in custody. However, separate inquiries into these arrests are ongoing. Assurances were made that these were the only arrests of their kind in the last four years and that Morocco wishes to eradicate censorship via its new constitution. Despite these efforts the state is reported to block several social media websites, directly contravening its people’s freedom of speech.

 

States’ concerns about police brutality were also addressed, with the delegation admitting that its security sector was at present too underdeveloped to handle the recent surge of protests humanely. It mentioned compulsory human rights training as a high priority for police and justice officials in order to prevent future infractions. Only the question of a rapist escaping persecution if he marries his victim was evaded. The delegation admitted their understanding of the subject was limited, reminding states that religious and cultural values still play a strong part within Morocco’s justice system.

 

The adoption of the UPR Working Group report happened on 25 May, with the Kingdom accepting 140 of 148 recommendations. During the adoption the delegation expressed gratitude to its peers, specifically heeding their recommendations regarding capital punishment, underage marriage, and marriage of rapists to their victims. After praising the UPR the delegation pledged its ongoing commitment to the review’s aims, using the acceptance of 94% of the recommendations as an example of the Kingdom’s sincerity.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 30 May 2012 09:57
 
© by The International Service for Human Rights (ISHR) 2018