Rabat - Moroccan authorities announced “their categorical rejection of the false allegations” in the Human Rights Watch (HRW) 2017 Report on Thursday.
Rabat – Moroccan authorities announced “their categorical rejection of the false allegations” in the Human Rights Watch (HRW) 2017 Report on Thursday.
Following the release of HRW’s annual report on the situation of human rights in Morocco and the world in 2017, made public on January 18, 2018, Moroccan authorities express their utter rejection of false allegations and accusations contained in the report.
The false allegation of primary concern deals with the trial of the individuals prosecuted in connection with events in Al Hoceima.
In its report, HRW states,“There are spaces to express dissent in Morocco, but when it comes to sustained and mass protest, the police and the judiciary tend to shut down protests and neutralize activists in short order.”
“If Morocco is to set itself apart from the region’s downward trend on rights, it needs to release all Rif protesters detained or convicted for nonviolent assembly or speech,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch.
Moroccan authorities consider these allegations baseless. “What confirms the unsubstantiated nature of HRW’s allegations is that the case is still before the court, which has not yet made a ruling,” says one statement by the Inter-ministerial Delegation for Human Rights.
Concerning the alleged murder of 11 members of the security forces by 24 Sahrawis, HRW recalled that the court sentenced nearly all of the defendants to jail sentences ranging from 20 years to life, similar to the sentences that the military court handed them in 2013.” The verdict asserted, “The court relied on the original police statements from 2010, which the defendants rejected as false.”
The Moroccan authorities affirm that the criminal chamber of Rabat’s Appeals Court granted the defendants a fair trial, as proven by trial observations from the National Human Rights Council (CNDH),which acts as an independent national institution accredited with status “A” by the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions.
“The allegations made by the NGO are nothing more than a reiteration of the claims of the enemies of Morocco’s territorial integrity,” says the authorities.
Responding to HRW’s claims of the “systematic prohibition” of gatherings in the southern provinces of the Kingdom, the public authorities claim that “This allegation is not based on realistic data, since the management of non-peaceful or unauthorized gatherings is done in accordance with the laws and the international commitments of Morocco in the field of human rights.”
The authorities then went on to list “a number of peaceful demonstrations and rallies organized in all the Kingdom’s provinces,” which totaled 11,752 gatherings in 2016, including 755 in the southern provinces.
While categorically rejecting the allegations and stances that “aim to underestimate national efforts in the field of human rights and the guarantees of a fair trial ensured by the independent judiciary,” the authorities state that human rights in Morocco continue to improve and “advances can only be praised by a fair organization.”