ARTICLE 19, together with civil society from Morocco and the wider MENA region, have called on Morocco to take concrete steps to improve its cooperation with international human rights mechanisms, and improve guarantees for the rights to freedom of expression and freedom of association, as part of its candidacy for the UN Human Rights Council.
In a joint letter, ARTICLE 19 and 7 civil society groups have raised concern at restrictions on human rights defenders and journalists in the country, and a failure to cooperate fully with UN special procedures. The coalition urges Morocco to demonstrate its commitment to human rights and strengthen its credibility as a candidate to the Council by taking action to address these concerns.
SalouaGhazouani, Director of ARTICLE 19 MENA said: “If Morroco wants to be taken seriously as a candidate to the Council, it must show its own commitment to human rights and address the abuse of flawed legislation to suppress free expression and association.
The UN Human Rights Council has a vital role in promoting and protecting human rights, and its members should be leading by example in this task. Preventing the registration of civil society organisations and imprisoning artists and human rights defenders raises serious questions about Morocco’s suitability for a place on the Council, as does its lack of cooperation with the Council’s mandate holders. It is only through making concrete improvements to the legal protection of these rights that the country’s human rights record can be improved, and its candidacy for a place on the Council can be considered credible.”
The UN Human Rights Council is a 47member body created by the UN General Assembly and mandated to promote and protect human rights around the globe and address situations of human rights violations. Members are elected to the Council by secret ballot of the UN General Assembly according to geographical distribution, and serve for a period of 3 years. The next election to the Council for the 2023 – 2025 period will be held at the 76th session of the UNGA in October 2021.