The official said he challenges anyone who doubts the Ministry of Human Rights, which has denied receiving a letter from Amnesty International before the NGO released its controversial report on spying.
Rabat – The Chief of Staff at Morocco’s Ministry of Human Rights, Abdelouahed El Atir, released a statement on Sunday condemning allegations claiming he and four colleagues received a letter from Amnesty International (AI) prior to the publication of the NGO’s June 22 report on “cyber-spying attacks” against Moroccan journalist Omar Radi.
In a July 12 Facebook post, El Atir expressed his astonishment that some of his activist “friends” support Amnesty International’s claims that he and his colleagues received a letter from the NGO despite AI’s failure to provide proof of any communication with the ministry.
“While my sorrow is huge, my surprise is greater and severe, especially since this advocacy comes from people who are supposed to defend the truth and noble human rights values as we all believed in them,” he wrote.
تفاجأت اليوم بل إني فجعت في بعض الأصدقاء الحقوقيين وهم يناصرون ادعاء لمنظمة العفو الدولية بكوني تلقيت، رفقة أربعة…
El Atir recalled that the Ministry of Human Rights released an official statement on July 6 to deny having received a letter from the NGO before it published its report, which alleged that the Moroccan government deploys spyware against activists and journalists, including Omar Radi.
The report ignited a dispute between Morocco and the international human rights organization. The tension between the Moroccan government and Amnesty International continues to grow, especially as the NGO has repeatedly failed to provide material evidence to support its allegations.
The report supported the Moroccan government’s view that Amnesty International’s assessment of human rights in Morocco is biased and lacks objectivity.
“If one can understand the public authorities’ dispute with Amnesty International and this is possible when it comes to disagreement about data and facts related to the human rights situation, the advocacy of some to Amnesty International regarding the mission of the ministry is of great concern. It is even a pity because it enshrines the principle of ‘do not let your brother oppress another,’” El Atir argued.
El Atir said he challenges anyone who “questions” the official clarifications that the Ministry of Human Rights has provided.
While it is important to accept differences in points of view, he continued, it is “unjust” to question the credibility of others’ statements in the absence of “any concrete evidence or material argument.”
He added that he categorically rejects any attempts to harm “the noble human values that I believed in and the lofty human values that pushed me to work in this field for nearly two decades, with love, sincerity, commitment, and respect for others.”
El Atir expressed solidarity with his colleagues who have been subjected to public doubt, condemning the defamation they are facing.
Moroccan government institutions have issued several statements condemning the allegations in the report, demanding that the NGO provide tangible material evidence to support its claims.
Head of Government Saad Eddine El Othmani said on July 10 that he has received an official response from Amnesty International, but he emphasized that the organization did not provide the evidence Morocco is requesting.
Morocco World News sent a set of questions to Amnesty International to inquire about the evidence that supports the claims detailed in the June 22 report.
The NGO failed to adequately answer MWN’s inquiry, instead directing us to the report itself, as well as a publication from October 2019 and other information publicly available on its official website. When MWN sent additional questions to Amnesty International and informed the NGO of our intention to publish an investigation of the organization, AI declined to answer.