As Morocco searches for a new development model tailored to its socio-economic realities, CNDH, the county’s leading human rights body, is urging officials to “put human concerns at the center” of policymaking.
Rabat – Morocco’s National Council for the Defense of Human Rights (CNDH) wants human rights and the “right to development” to be at the center of the North African kingdom’s new development model.
Morocco’s state-owned Maghreb Arab Press (MAP) reported recently that CNDH members held a meeting earlier this week, on January 28, with the New Development Model Special Committee (CSMD) to discuss CNDH’s policy proposals and other aspects it wants included in Morocco’s prospective development model.
During the meeting, MAP reports, CNDH members stressed the need for a human-centered approach to development, arguing that focusing on socio-economic inclusiveness and social justice plays a pivotal role in democratic consolidation.
In its plea to put human and social issues at the center of the Moroccan monarch and government’s apparent determination to move the country in a direction of socio-economic development, inclusiveness, and democracy, CNDH said the “right to development” should be guaranteed for all Moroccans, especially for low-income and other less privileged citizens looking to have a decent share of the country’s resources and social mobility opportunities.
Speaking to the press after the meeting, CNDH president Amina Bouayach explained that to focus on “the right to development” is to essentially aspire for a socio-economic environment where citizens’ rights are not only respected, but where they are also guaranteed inclusive and equal access to opportunities. Such an approach, she elaborated, would “put humans at the center of policy-making,” while ensuring democratic consolidation and the respect of the most basic human rights.
Bouayach also announced that, in addition to the meeting with CSMD to thoroughly discuss development proposals, CNDH will be publishing a more detailed report of its views and recommendations by early March. While the CNDH president did not comment on what that soon-to-be published report will entail, it is widely expected that the document will include calls for more liberal, democratic reforms.
The news comes in a context of intense human rights-linked debates and campaigns in Morocco.
In a memorandum published late last year amid heated debates between conservative and progressive Moroccans about the “future of Morocco,” CNDH notably sided with “liberal” Moroccans, calling for the country to consider amending or discarding laws that clash with an increasingly changing Morocco.
Many members of the New Development Model Special Committee appear to share the same belief that human rights and the rule of law are bound to (or at least should) play a pivotal role in Morocco’s quest for inclusive development. Recently, some members of the committee joined forces with other prominent Moroccan figures to protest against the “unlawful” arrest and detention of journalist Omar Radi.
Rachid Benzine, a French-Moroccan political scientist and a member of the CMSD, tweeted that Radi’s detention is a “fatal blow” to Morocco’s professed aim to further its democracy.
“…No development model is defensible or viable without freedom of expression and information. Development implies criticism and debates about ideas,” he said.