EU-Morocco Association Council: Human rights at the centre of discussions!

Europe, Morocco / Western Sahara, Press Release, Shrinking Space for Civil Society

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14/12/15 – Today, the 13th session of the EU-Morocco Association Council is being held in Brussels. On this occasion, EuroMed Rights is calling the European Union (EU) and Morocco to put human rights at the centre of discussions around the strengthening of EU-Morocco relations.

A year ago, during the last EU-Morocco Association Council (in French), EuroMed Rights called on the European and Moroccan authorities to make human rights, and in particular freedom of association and assembly and the reform of the judiciary, priorities on the agenda. The request remains to be answered.

EuroMed Rights regrets that some Moroccan and Sahrawi associations are unable to obtain legal recognition, thereby limiting their ability to hold public meetings and to call protest actions, given that Moroccan law only grants these rights to legally incorporated organisations. The freedom of movement and the freedom of association remain fragile, and several human rights organisations are faced with many obstacles*. EuroMed Rights recalls the importance of a climate of trust and dialogue with independent civil society organisations, which are even more important.

Although Morocco adopted a new Constitution in 2011, the constitutional reforms have not materialized for unexplained reasons[1] and Morocco has fallen behind in harmonizing its national policies with its international commitments on human rights. According to EuroMed Rights, Morocco should ensure that it guarantees fundamental rights and freedoms as part of the revision of the Penal Code, the Code of Criminal Procedure and the Press Code, and that it adopts without further delay the law against violence against women and the laws on the Authority for parity and the fight against all forms of discrimination (APALD) and on the Advisory Council for Family and Children (CCFE)[2].

The EU and the Member States must support these reforms. One month after the publication of the new European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), which focuses on economic and security aspects, the EU-Morocco Association Council is an opportunity to place the democratic reforms at the centre of said policy. Observance of human rights and international humanitarian law must form the basis for European action.

To this end, EuroMed Rights stresses the importance of the involvement of civil society in the reform process. The EU, its Member States and the Moroccan authorities must implement a tripartite dialogue (EU, Moroccan authorities and civil society) ahead of the bilateral meetings between the EU and Morocco.

ANNEX: Letter and recommendations of EuroMed Rights on the occasion of the EU-Morocco Association Council (in French)

[1] The implementation of the Constitution is planned to take place through the adoption of 19 institutional acts which must all be adopted at the end of the current legislature in the autumn of 2016. Only nine of the said acts have been approved to date.
[2] In this context, we welcome the report and recommendations of the National Human Rights Council of the Kingdom of Morocco (CNDH), GENDER EQUALITY AND PARITY IN MOROCCO – Preserving and implementing the aims and objectives of the constitutions, published on 20 October 2015.
* Watch the video of Taïb Madmad, Secretary General from the AMDH.