The state department’s human rights report commended Morocco’s educational inclusivity, religious freedoms, political participation, and transparent elections.
Moscow – The US Department of State released its 2019 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices on Wednesday, March 11.
The annual report analyzes countries’ commitment to the internationally recognized individual, civil, political, and workers’ rights that are present in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international agreements.
The latest report recognizes the positive steps Morocco took in 2019 in terms of human rights, noting the significance of the National Preventive Mechanism (NPM).
The Moroccan parliament authorized the mechanism, staffed by the National Human Rights Council (CNDH), in 2018.
“The CNDH’s NPM was established to comply with the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention against Torture, with the objective of examining the treatment of persons deprived of their liberty, with a view to strengthening their protection against torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment,” states the report.
The US report also acknowledged Morocco’s increased inclusivity in the school system through passing legislation providing for the teaching of Tamazight in public and private schools.
The report noted that the Moroccan constitution recognizes the Jewish community as part of the country’s population and that Jews are guaranteed the freedom to practice their religious affairs and generally live in safety.
Regarding political participation, the report acknowledges that Moroccan women and members of minorities take part in the political process and stated that the 2016 elections for the Moroccan Chamber of Representatives were “free, fair, and transparent.”
“International observers considered the elections credible, noting voters were able to choose freely and the process was free of systemic irregularities.”
However, the report stated there were several cases of “undue limits on freedom of expression” despite the right being engrained in the Moroccan constitution.
In terms of internet freedom, Morocco’s government did not disrupt access to the internet or block or filter any political, social, or religious websites in 2019, according to the US Department of State’s report.
However, the report expressed concern with statements from American NGO Freedom House that “there have been cases in Morocco where bloggers were arrested or imprisoned for content the government deemed politically sensitive.”
Concerning the rights of people with disabilities, the report claims that the Moroccan government has not effectively enforced and implemented the laws and regulations that it has introduced.
Morocco is committed to the rights of citizens with disabilities, which is reflected in the law which prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities and provides increased access to services.
However, the report argues that there are still areas where the Moroccan government does not fully provide the services included in the laws it has introduced.
“Most public transportation is inaccessible to persons with disabilities, although the national rail system offers wheelchair ramps, accessible bathrooms, and special seating areas,” the report states.
“Government policy provides that persons with disabilities should have equal access to information and communications. Special communication devices for persons with visual or audio disabilities were not widely available.”
In terms of trial procedures, the state department’s report suggested that although the Moroccan law provides for the right to a fair and public trial with the right to appeal, this did not always occur.
While defendants have the right to consult with an attorney in advance of their trial, the report claimed instances of lawyers being denied timely access to their clients.
Moroccan prison conditions improved significantly but still lag behind international standards in some cases, said the report.
Overall, the US Department of State commended Morocco’s work, and the US embassy in Rabat noted that it “looks forward to continued cooperation with the Government of Morocco and civil society partners in the preparation of the 2020 report.”