The Ministry of Justice, along with several NGOs, organized a meeting in one of the hotels targeted by the deadly May 16, 2003 Casablanca bombings.
The country has developed plans to identify and deal with terrorism, according to a comprehensive and efficient approach, which earned international recognition, Ben Abdelkader said.
The minister made the statement during a meeting organized ahead of the International Day of Remembrance of and Tribute to the Victims of Terrorism, celebrated every August 21.
While chairing the August 18 meeting, Ben Abdelkader presented the main axes of Morocco’s strategies for counterterrorism and extremism prevention. According to the minister, the country adopts a preventive policy that aims to stop any terrorist threat before it can endanger citizens’ lives.
Morocco has ratified the majority of international conventions in the field of counterterrorism, Ben Abdelkader recalled. He also highlighted the country’s permanent commitment to UN decisions, its contribution to international counterterrorism strategies, and its initiatives at the level of the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF).
The justice minister indicated that his department has set up regional programs and plans relating to the fight against terrorism. He reiterated the ministry’s commitment to strengthen judicial cooperation at the international level through agreements focusing on cooperation and extradition of criminals.
Ben Abdelkader explained that the protection of terrorism victims is still open to all initiatives that can promote and support and solidarity with them.
Mustapha Mouzouni, a senior law enforcement expert with the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) who attended the meeting, commended Morocco’s counterterrorism efforts, as well as the country’s fight against the psychological and socio-economic repercussions of terrorism.
The celebration of the International Day of Remembrance of and Tribute to the Victims of Terrorism will likely consolidate the tools to protect the victims’ basic rights, Mouzouni said.
He also emphasized the importance of enabling victims to become essential actors in the fight against extremism, using their testimonies and painful experiences in promoting the principles of humanism and tolerance.
Meanwhile, Souad Begdoury, the president of the Association of Victims of the May 16 Attacks, presented the initiatives led by her organization to support the victims and their families.
Begdoury, who lost her husband and son in the attacks, referenced awareness campaigns organized in schools to encourage a culture of tolerance and coexistence through artistic and cultural workshops.
Held under the theme “Support for Victims of Terrorism: Intersecting Approaches,” the meeting took place in the Farah Hotel of Casablanca.
The hotel was one of the targets of the May 16, 2003 terrorist attack. The attack, led by 14 sucide bombers, targeted four different sites across Casablanca. It left 45 people dead, including 12 of the terrorists, and injured over 100 victims.