Moroccan authorities slammed the “inappropriate” approach the advocacy NGO adopted in its reports, questioning its independence and objectivity.
Rabat – Morocco’s ministerial delegate in charge of human rights has rejected Human Rights Watch’s claims regarding the Moroccan judicial system.
In its latest annual report, HRW claimed Morocco in the past year cracked down “harder” on commentators, artists, and journalists.
“Authorities continue to resort to penal code articles to imprison critics,” the report claimed.
The report also challenged Morocco’s actions to ensure security and protect its citizens. It also claimed Morocco cracked down on protests in Western Sahara.
In response, Moroccan authorities slammed HRW’s persistence in adopting an “inappropriate approach” to assess the situation of human rights in Morocco.
For Morocco, Human Rights Watch’s report is just the “latest illustration of the organization’s readiness to embrace ideology over objectivity. Instead of objectively assessing the country’s human rights record, HRW is increasingly interested in confirming its preconceived conclusions about Morocco’s politicized judiciary,” the Moroccan government said.
The ministerial delegate argued that it would have been better if the organization devoted its time to denounce the flagrant human rights violations in the Tindouf camps, where thousands of Saharawis always live in dire conditions.
Morocco also urged Human Rights Watch to adopt a new approach rather than it’s current discourse that conveys “allegations and lies.”
Regarding accusations of human rights violations in Western Sahara, the ministerial delegate said HRW ignored the reality on the ground, including the Security Council resolutions, which reaffirms Morocco’s engagement in the UN-led political process to end the conflict.
He said that HRW’s reports are not based on facts but rather on “the organization’s preconceived ideas on Morocco.”
Morocco also expressed surprise at the “arbitrary” assessment that HRW makes to coveney “unfounded” allegations on the state of individual freedoms in Morocco, including freedom of expression.
HRW’s report alleged that Morocco usually cracks down on the right of freedom of assembly, a charge that the authorities deny .
“The period concerned in the report is exceptional, as countries worldwide , including Morocco, were forced to take the precautionary and preventive measures necessary to face the pandemic,” the government said.
In its report, HRW recalled the case of Omar Radi, a Moroccan journalist who has been imprisoned for alleged rape and for “receiving funds from suspicious sources.”
Radi’s imprisonment prompted backlash from his supporters and human rights activists, including Human Rights Watch.
HRW’s report meticulously outlined Radi’s case without detailing the alleged rape victim’s side of the story.
Morocco renewed its commitment to guarantee the exercise of associative actions, including the freedoms of assembly and the creation of associations throughout the national territory “without any restriction. “