Rabat - Minister of Human Rights Mustapha Ramid has stressed that Morocco is witnessing a continuous development in human rights.
However, the development has experienced “some ebb and flow,” Ramid said in a meeting on “The Defense Institution and its Position in the National Action Plan on Democracy and Human Rights.”
The Tangier Bar Association organized the meeting, which was held Friday.
“We are at a significant stage of human rights development because we are laying solid foundations for building a state which respects human rights. We are in the process of establishing protective institutions and guaranteeing laws,” Ramid said.
The minister cited such institutions as the National Preventive Mechanism Against Torture and the Authority for Parity and for Fighting All Forms of Discrimination.
Ramid stressed that the importance of the national action plan lies in the fact that it is the “only document” whose texts have been approved, whether through direct consultation, correspondence, or contributions by the human rights institutional actors and civil society.
The minister noted that ministries, government sectors, national councils, Parliament, judges, lawyers, the media, civil society, political parties, and trade unions all participated in developing the national action plan.
The minister also noted that Morocco is the 39th country in the world to develop a national plan for democracy and human rights.
The plan, he added, included 216 measures, which were increased to 435 measures after consultation, including those considered controversial, such as the death penalty and abortion.
“We are working on an executive plan which will translate the plan into practical procedures with deadlines and will define the actors involved in its implementation,” the minister said.
Speaking about the independence of the judiciary, Ramid described it as the “first institution that protects of rights and freedoms.” The minister stressed that defense lawyers are essential partners in judicial security and protecting citizens’ rights.
The plan has not yet been published in the Official Gazette, but received the government’s approval in December 2017.
Ramid expressed his anger over the 10-month delay in publishing the national plan in the official gazette. As an expression of his resentment, the minister reportedly boycotted the last four government council meetings.
“The National Action Plan provides a blueprint for the promotion of the human rights situation, as well as an indicator of the evolution of human rights in Morocco, through a follow-up of the implementation of its measures,” Ramid asserted.
Freedom House gave Morocco an overall score of 39/100 for political rights and civil liberties in 2018.