Lahcen Haddad protests against his exclusion from a debate on the Rif

The organizers of the event on the theme “Beyond the hirak: A new vision for the Rif”, scheduled for this Thursday, October 27 at the headquarters of the European Parliament in Brussels, refused the participation of the Co-president of the Morocco-European Union joint parliamentary committee, Lahcen Haddad, to the debate, with the excuse of an “already complete list”.

Lahcen Haddad then decided to react to this “shocking” situation by addressing a letter to the presidents of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D) and the Greens/European Free Alliance (Greens/EFA) groups in the European Parliament.

This correspondence has been addressed to whom it may concern “ to share my opinion all the same, to explain my position, what is happening in the Rif, what the State is doing at this level, the projects, the responsibilities…”, explains Haddad to MoroccoLatestNews UK.

“I still do not know why the organizers refused my participation in the event and to hear my point of view”, says Lahcen Haddad, pointing out that “The ironic thing is that they want to discuss human rights but don’t want everyone to talk. We cannot say that we are human rights activists and at the same time refuse to listen or to hear a point of view“.

The co-president of the Morocco-EU joint parliamentary committee assures us that he has tried everything, but nothing. ” I explained and clarified my point of view, which is objective and debatable. When I asked to participate in the debate, the organizers told me that they had already stopped adding speakers to their list despite their announcement saying otherwise.“, he says.

“They are afraid of the debate. You can’t pretend to be a human rights activist and be afraid of debate,” he laments again.

In his letter, Haddad notes that ” democracy is built around differences and the debate of ideas. A dissenting or different point of view can only enrich the debate,” and wonders if the organizers want only one point of view to be heard in the European Parliament ? “.

I thought I could bring a parliamentary and expert perspective to the debate and enrich the exchange you plan to have on this important subject. But the Freedom and Human Rights Organization simply and clearly rejected my request.“, explains Haddad.

He then emphasizes her ” vision for a new Rif” , who ” is neither apologetic nor extremist“, and reminds the conclusions of the report on the Al Hoceima protests (March 2020) of the National Human Rights Council (CNDH), mentioning that it is the report ” the most objective, detailed and factual ” of the situation.

Therefore, he insists that the recommendations of the CNDH are implemented to ensure that these events do not happen again since the reportholds protesters responsible for using violence and hate speech, in addition to manufacturing and spreading fake news“.

The parliamentarian mentions in particular in his letter, the ambitious development vision put in place by the government for the benefit of the population of the Rif and its results which include the numerous investments in several sectors, namely agri-food, real estate and tourism, in addition to cultural infrastructures, including an opera house, a music institute, a sports village and among others.

He also dissected the large number of projects including ” 563 with a social vocation, 139 economic projects, 87 environmental adaptation and resilience projects, 95 road, bridge and other infrastructure projects, 62 territorial development projects and 6 religious space projects“, noting that withthese efforts which amount to billions of euros, Morocco has responded positively to the legitimate demands of the people of the Rif”.

Lahcen Haddad sends a final word to his recipients: “JI have not been authorized to speak but I hope you will understand my point of view as expressed here and that you will open a debate with Moroccan MPs on the best way forward, in a positive way and optimistic“.

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