King & Parliament note achievements, call for further advances to promote & protect human rights of all citizens, including refugees forcibly held by Polisario Front in Southern Algeria
WASHINGTON, Dec. 19 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In remarks by both its King and Parliament over the past week, Morocco reaffirmed its commitment to continue its wide-ranging efforts to protect and promote the human rights of all its citizens, as a key pillar of the remarkable social and economic progress the North African nation has made in the last decade, which has been a model for the region.
Honoring the 60th anniversary of the U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights, His Majesty King Mohammed VI noted in a speech last week the Declaration's significance for reforms that have been a pillar of progress and governance in his country. He stressed Morocco's "unyielding commitment to the universal character of human rights" and "the lofty values and principles enshrined in this historic document... thanks to which human rights have become a common heritage of mankind that contributes to bringing about a world where brotherhood, peace, justice, dignity and equality prevail."
"This is not just a slogan," the King said. "It is in fact one of the fundamental demands of mankind, especially when it comes to people suffering the humiliation brought about by oppression and poverty." Putting the Declaration's principles into effect "requires strong commitment, active involvement and sincere action to carry out the reforms and changes needed in a bold, albeit wise, manner."
Morocco's commitment to strengthening human rights has been demonstrated by the ground-breaking 2004 reforms to the moudawana, or family code, which enshrine equal rights and gender equality for all Moroccans in line with the principles of Islam and democracy, the 2007 parliamentary vote that continued a history of free and fair elections, the 2004 Truth and Reconciliation commission which was established with broad support from civil society to publicly examine past abuses and compensate thousands of victims, and human rights guaranteed by provisions of the Constitution.
In his address, King Mohammed VI announced further steps by Morocco to protect the rights of women and people with disabilities, including ratification of the International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and fully accepting without reservations the United Nations Convention Ending Discrimination Against Women, the first nation in the region to do so.
Earlier this week Morocco's Parliament echoed the call for continued concrete action, recommending creation of a Moroccan High Commissioner of Human Rights. Members of Parliament also stressed the importance of Morocco's continuing assistance to its African neighbors "to ensure individual and collective rights and to counter the marginalization, poverty and epidemics affecting the continent."
In addition, both the King and Parliament called attention to the worsening plight of thousands of Sahrawi refugees held against their will in inhumane camps in southern Algeria by Polisario Front rebels. "We cannot but condemn the humiliation and suffering inflicted upon Moroccan citizens detained in the Tindouf camps, in gross violation of basic principles of international humanitarian law," said the King, reaffirming Morocco's commitment to "open, constructive dialogue" to achieve a peaceful, lasting resolution to the Western Sahara conflict.
Earlier this year, the U.S. State Department's annual "Country Reports on Human Rights Practices" noted "Morocco implemented significant measures during the year which resulted in the advancement of human rights... In September an overall civic commitment to developing a culture of human rights was reflected in parliamentary elections which were monitored by domestic and international groups."
The Moroccan American Center for Policy (MACP) is a non-profit organization whose principal mission is to inform opinion makers, government officials and an interested public in the United States about political and social developments in Morocco and the role being played by the Kingdom of Morocco in broader strategic developments in North Africa, the Mediterranean, and the Middle East.
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SOURCE Moroccan American Center for Policy