Morocco gained independence in 1956 and now works under a monarchy. Today, Morocco has a population of more than 36 million and is known to many to be a beautiful and vibrant country with a rich history. However, there is much about the social culture of this country that people do not know. Morocco has long had political and social turmoil due to the lack of ability for people to protest the government. Here are three facts about human rights in Morocco and what is being done to improve the situation.
3 Facts About Human Rights in Morocco
- Freedom of Expression – In 2016, Morocco implemented The Press and Publications Code to eliminate using prison sentences as a punishment for non-violent speech and issue fines instead. However, this has not been upheld by the country’s penal code. In fact, some cases have seen increased prison sentences after peaceful participation in demonstrations against the government. Morocco has to begin working to reduce punishments inflicted on those who wish to peacefully speak out, and prison sentences given to activists as well as the fines, equivalent to $2,000 for social media posts by activists, should be removed from the law to truly promote human rights in Morocco.
- Freedom of Assembly – After imprisoning various activists for their demonstrations against the government concerning its treatment of the environment, the Moroccan government began slowly tolerating more marches. While this was a significant step, most protests were still forcibly dispersed, regardless of their peaceful nature, and people have still been imprisoned. The Moroccan Constitution promotes freedom of association and assembly; however, when The Moroccan Association of Human Rights has tried to hold events, there have been many obstacles in their path. Freedom of assembly in Morocco must be allowed to progress in order for the country to progress.
- Women’s Rights – In 2004, The Family Code was created to improve women’s rights in various scenarios considering divorce, child custody rights and inheritance. Furthermore, the Moroccan Constitution in 2011 actually states equality for women, but this is not yet the case. There are still many advancements to be made considering the discriminatory laws against women in regards to sex outside marriage and rape. In these cases, it is more common for women to face repercussions than men.
- Domestic Workers – In October 2018, there will be a new law implemented to assist domestic workers. Human rights in Morocco are expanding to set the minimum age for working at 18. Not only will this limit the age but the number of hours worked in a week will also be limited and a minimum wage will be set. While this is a step in the right direction, with poverty rampant in certain parts of Morocco, there are many children, mostly girls, that, undoubtedly, will have to continue to work.
While there are many areas in which Morocco needs to work on their goals to implement stronger human rights policies, there are many organizations that are working every day to strengthen Moroccan people.
3 Organizations Working To Promote Human Rights in Morocco
- National Human Rights Council (CNDH) – The National Human Rights Council is an organization that focuses on ending human rights violations by addressing and assuring freedoms in Morocco. Violations are monitored and investigations are conducted to deter future violations. Not only does the council have the power to investigate current issues but they also have the ability to inspect prisons and assure that conditions are satisfactory. As an organization, they have reported on issues such as gender equality, violence and reform.
- Moroccan Truth and Reconciliation Commission – Established in 2004, this commission has seventeen members and spends its efforts on reconciling past violations conducted in the Arab world. They assess the settlements needed for cases against human rights. Violations are graded and the victims are to be compensated adequately, depending on the severity of the violation.
- Women’s Rights and Gender Equality – While women’s rights in certain portions of the developing world have often been overlooked, in Morocco, they have become a lead focus for the government. The idea has been to change how women’s roles are viewed in society. The Moroccan government has been somewhat successful, which is demonstrably shown by the fact that 21 percent of women now hold office in The House of Representatives.
Morocco has undergone a significant transition in the recent years making human rights a forefront focus. There has been a transition. While there is much still to be done, Morocco has made changes that should and will improve its future.
– Kayleigh Mattoon