Rabat – With an overwhelming majority of votes, the European Union’s legislative power, the European Parliament adopted on Wednesday in Strasbourg, the EU annual 2016 report on human rights and democracy in the world. This decision is considered “favourable to Morocco and its territorial integrity,” said chairman of the Morocco-EU joint parliamentary committee, Abderrahim Atmoun.
The report was approved by 443 MPs against 85 votes and 95 abstained. Divided into two parts, the report discusses the approach to human rights in situations of conflict and crisis, the main human rights challenges, and the issue of human rights in the EU’s foreign policies, as well as the EU actions in third-world countries and the situation of human rights in the world.
Le Parlement européen a adopté le rapport 2016 sur les droits de l’Homme et la démocratie de l'Union européenne en la matière. Un document favorable au Maroc et à son intégrité territoriale, qui a été approuvé par Maroc-Union européenne et son président Abderrahim Atmoun. pic.twitter.com/omQYz4Qyyy
— SM MOHAMMED VI (@moroccansahra) December 14, 2017
European organisms have been neutral over the Western Sahara issue, as it is dealt with within the United Nations, as an acknowledgement to preserve the multidimensional strategic partnership with Morocco.
“Western Sahara’s status remains the object of a negotiation process conducted under the auspices of the UN. There therefore is an ongoing UN-led process that assists the parties in achieving a just, lasting, and mutually acceptable political solution,” wrote the UN.
In early July, an anti-Moroccan amendment presented by the Communist and Allies Group and the Green Group of the European Parliament extending the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) to human rights issues was dismissed by 316 votes out of 658 by the European Commission.
“By rejecting this amendment, the European Parliament reiterates its will to strengthen its strategic partnership with the EU and Morocco, on a solid basis in the interests of both sides,” Ahmed Réda Chami, Morocco’s ambassador to the EU, told Maghreb Arab Press (MAP).
Atmoun said to MAP that the UN report once again foils manoeuvres by parties instrumentalizing the issue of territorial integrity, adding that the adopted text puts an end to any attempt to introduce amendments that are hostile to Morocco’s rights on the Sahara.
Further, the European Parliament approved the EU’s judgment on the constitutional progress made in Morocco. “Five years after the adoption of the 2011 Constitution, Morocco has continued its legislative activity with the adoption of 15 out of the 19 organic laws established in the Constitution.”
In 2016, the EU pursued its cooperation efforts in support of the reforms undertaken by the government and continued supporting civil society stakeholders. Migrant rights, women’s rights, and the reform of the judiciary and penitentiary systems were key fields in which new policies were launched with EU support.
The report, which did not shy away from highlighting that challenges that came along the 2011 constitution, affirmed that significant progress was recorded in 2016.