The AMDH evokes a situation neither "brilliant nor reassuring"

In reality, the year 2021 has not seen any significant improvement in the human rights situation in Morocco. The situation has stagnated and even shown that the violations experienced by many fundamental rights and freedoms in the country are neither circumstantial nor occasional. This is the first observation that emerges from the latest annual report of the Moroccan Association for Human Rights (AMDH) on the situation of human rights in Morocco during the year 2021.

Shared this Tuesday, June 21 during a press conference held at the AMDH headquarters in Rabat, the report thus includes three main axes around three themes, namely civil and political rights, economic, social and cultural rights or again the rights of specific persons or groups.

Photo: Mounir Mehimdate

Thus, and in its first axis, the report of the AMDH stopped on a series of ” civil and political rights violations “, citing “ the prisons which are still overflowing with many political and opinion detainees, whose cases have been monitored by the AMDH, in particular, those who have been prosecuted and tried in the Hirak of the Rif, and who have not been included in amnesty decisions, those who have been arrested following tweets, posts or videos on social networks (…)” noting that in September 2021, this report counted approximately “ 120 detainees and dozens of summonses, arrests and legal proceedings “.

Still along the same line, and with regard to the right to life, the AMDH report first recalls that the right to life is a supreme human right, and that ” the state is supposed to protect and guarantee adequate and sufficient conditions for its preservation “. That said, the AMDH believes that this right is ” violated in our country for many reasons and in multiple places “.

A ” large number of citizens lose their lives, whether because of negligence and the lack of necessary medical assistance in hospitals, or because of non-compliance with safety rules and standards in construction sites and factories, or drowning in the seas in search of dignified living conditions, or in rivers, dams and beaches because of the absence of swimming pools, or even suicide due to psychological, social and economic pressures..”, emphasizes the Association.

On the question of the death penalty, and “despite the commitment of the Moroccan State, within the framework of the recommendations of the Equity and Reconciliation Commission, to ratify the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which aims to abolish the death penalty, the report finds that “ Morocco has still not ratified the aforementioned second protocol, and Moroccan courts are still handing down death sentences. The Moroccan State still abstains from voting in favor of a moratorium on the application of the death penalty, knowing that no execution has taken place for almost three decades (1993)”, notes the AMDH.

With regard to freedom of belief and individual freedoms, the AMDH indicates in its report that it has continued to observe certain cases, both through reports from its sections and reports in the media.

Photo: Mounir Mehimdate

This is in particularraisesand the report, of “ depriving Shia Moroccans, as well as Christians, of practicing their religious rituals and publicly reviving their festivals in their own places of worship (husseiniyyas and churches), which forces them to perform them secretly at home under the threat of ostracism and social isolation, or to be held accountable”.

Similarly, the AMDH believes that the “ Moroccan Christians are forced not to publicly express their ideological choice and to practice their faith in secret, for fear of losing their inheritance rights or custody of their children, and are not allowed to baptize, marry according to their beliefs, choosing the names of their children or burying their dead in Christian cemeteries”. The association also pointed the finger at the judgment rendered by the ” Court of First Instance of Al-Hoceima, ke April 28, 2021, which sentenced a citizen, for non-observance of fasting (iftar) during Ramadan, to a two-month suspended sentence and a fine of 500 dirhams ».

Regarding freedom of information, the press and the Internet, the AMDH report reveals that Morocco experienced in 2021 a ” exceptional and unprecedented regression in the level of freedom of information, of the press and of blogs, since the arbitrary arrests and trials of journalists and bloggers have continued, in an authoritarian context marked by repression and restrictions on the freedom of media, in addition to defamation media and attacking independent journalists, politicians and human rights defenders “.

Photo: Mounir Mehimdate

In this sense, the AMDH recalls the ranking of the organization Reporters Without Borders, which placed Morocco in 136th place out of 180 countries in the world ranking relating to freedom of the press in 2021. According to the Organization, continues the report, “ the wave of judicial pressure against journalists continues. In addition to the years-long trials against many media actors, judicial follow-ups of journalists have resumed again, this time focusing on ethical issues affecting their personal lives, continuing to use women as a tool in many such trials “.

The AMDH also dwelt in detail on the “ violations that permeated the right to a fair trial, at the heart of which were the violations that marred the remote trial due to the Covid-19 pandemic “.

Despite the positive sides of the remote trial in reducing the severity of the effect of the spread of the virus among citizens who visit the justice sector, so as not to disrupt and stop their interests, and although the detainees are deprived in particular of the appearance before the court to examine their files within a reasonable time; and to overcome the exceptional circumstances which have made listening to the parties and transferring detainees a matter which threatens their health and their lives; as well as the likelihood of contamination and its spread in prison; the right to a fair trial has been abused which could have been avoided, in particular the violation of the principle of presence and confrontation, the violation of the principle of publicity of the hearing and finally the violation of the rights of the defense“, it appears from the report.

Photo: Mounir Mehimdate

Finally, with regard to the right to sound environmental and sustainable development, the report observes that, for more than 10 years, Morocco has been in the phase of “ environmental transition » which coincides with his « demographic, social and economic transformation », as well as the issues and challenges it faces.

The nature and scale of the problems and the environmental issues to be resolved clearly show that the degradation of the country’s natural resources, particularly non-renewable resources, has reached an alarming and critical level in certain fragile and sensitive areas. The fragility of environmental environments currently lies in the scarcity of resources and the degradation of environmental elements. Thus, water resources per inhabitant have increased from 2560 m3 per year in 1960 to 620 m3 today. If this trend is confirmed, it will reach 500 m3 per inhabitant annually over the next few years. “, notes the report

Likewise the AMDH also suspects that “ air quality, which is increasingly degraded, is the cause of death for thousands of people every year “, noting that” biodiversity, in turn, is also experiencing an increasing degradation of the environmental field, in particular with regard to the loss of approximately 17,000 hectares of forest per year “.

As for the coast, the report finds that ” its attractiveness for different types of activities has led to its overexploitation. With regard to soils, the agricultural area exploited is declining by around 3,000 hectares per year due to the expansion of urbanization, while the advance of desertification threatens vast areas “.

These various manifestations of environmental degradation, the report continues, have several effects on the living environment of the population, economically close to the annual growth rate of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Morocco, thus widening the environmental deficit of the country to reach one hectare per inhabitant, while Morocco had a comfortable reserve at the dawn of its independence. This is without mentioning certain inestimable damages such as the loss of human lives and the extinction of animal and plant species. “.

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