Demonstrators in Morocco have taken to the streets of the capital, Rabat, to demand an improvement to the human rights situation.
The International Day of Human Rights was celebrated last week across the globe. The day coincided with a protest organised by various human rights organisations in Morocco, demonstrating against the situation of human rights in the country.
The organisations participating in the protest in Rabat have accused the authorities of not complying to the recommendations stated in the Justice and Reconciliation Commissions and the international conventions on human rights ratified by the Moroccan government.
Several civil society activists and human rights defenders are known to have been detained as prisoners of conscience in recent times. The protesters are calling for their release.
“These marches are against the continued human rights abuses, including the harassment and arrests of activists and human rights defenders. Among them are the detainees of the Rif and Jarrada protests, the political detainees, and the prisoners of conscience”, stated Adil Tschiquito, Head of the Association for Human Rights in Morocco.
Despite the protests, Morocco has recently been known to be a bastion of human rights in the MENA region, relative to other countries in the region. There has been a particular focus on improving the status of women, who have been encouraged to play a more dynamic role in the public and political life of the country. In addition, laws have been passed to protect women’s rights, including a law on violence against women. These reforms have been enacted during the reign of King Mohammed VI.
Nevertheless, human rights defenders continue to apply pressure on the authorities to respect the human rights covenants that they have ratified and to follow the reforms that they have implemented. They believe that some of the reforms have also not gone far enough, as the human rights field in Morocco continues to develop.
Morocco has also been clamping down on extremist and terrorist activities, with counter-terrorism operations taking place, rooting out the presence of ISIS in the country.