Activists are urging Morocco to vote in favor of joining an international agreement banning executions during the upcoming UN session.
Rabat – Although Morocco has not executed an individual since 1993, some human rights groups say the de facto abolition of the death penalty is not enough.
The Moroccan Organization of Human Rights (OMDH), and the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty (WCADP) are urging Morocco to join an international agreement ending capital punishment. Morocco still maintains the death penalty as a lawful practice, and reports estimate there are at least 95 people currently on death row, according to a report from Cornell.
Morocco had six chances prior to 2018 to join the UN moratorium banning the practice,but each time the country chose to abstain from the vote. This angered activists who cite the country’s constitution as proof the practice is immoral and should be ended.
Though the vote to join the agreement was scheduled for December 13, activists managed to postpone Morocco’s official vote until December 19, giving them an opportunity to repeat their pleas to the government, according to news outlets.
Globally, capital punishment is steadily declining as more arguments emerge against its cruelty, as well as its statistical failure to deter future crimes.
Currently, Egypt is the only country in North Africa to still carry out executions, reports Amnesty International. Even though the other countries are abstaining from executing criminals, no country in North Africa has legally abolished the practice yet.
About 60 percent of the world’s population live in countries where the death penalty is still legal. The Huffington Post reports that powerful nations like the US, China, India, and Pakistan are the top executors. However, activists still hold out hope that things will change. Amnesty International Secretary-General Salil Shetty commented that as more countries have abolished the practice “the isolation of the world’s remaining executing countries could not be starker.”
For Morocco, banning capital punishment could potentially have benefits in the political realm. As Morocco looks to become a more involved member of the international community both economically and politically, joining the growing team of abolitionist countries will make Morocco a pioneer among North Africa and a leader of human rights globally and accomplishing something a developed country like the US has still failed to do.