Morocco: the advocacy documents of the NGO FEMED confiscated by Customs on the eve of the World Human Rights Forum and defenders prevented from participating

Freedom of Speech, Morocco / Western Sahara, Press Release, Shrinking Space for Civil Society, Solidarity with Human Rights Defenders

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At the airport of Marrakech, the November 26th, some of the advocacy documents of the FEMED delegation have been confiscated by Customs. Our three organizations strongly condemn this violation of freedom of expression.

Involved? An official map of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on the status of ratification of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons against Enforced Disappearance, mentioned in the brochure of presentation of the association. All these brochures of the FEMED team were confiscated by Moroccan customs on the basis that the map representing the Western Sahara as a territory without status was “a threat to internal security.”

Our organizations condemn these meticulous searches by the customs police which the six members of the FEMED delegation have suffered at the airport, and particularly its chairwoman. This new arbitrary measure feeds the climate of suspicion against NGOs in Morocco and is added to other violations of freedoms of expression, association and assembly. Few days ago, the FEMED, the EMHRN and the FIDH already alerted to the situation of the AMDH, one of their Moroccan member associations which was victim of obstacles to its activities by the Moroccan authorities.

Moreover, our organizations deplore the restrictions on the participation of Iraqi, Syrian and Libyan defenders, among them two FEMED partners and other organizations, who have been declared inadmissible to Morocco by Moroccan authorities for security reasons. While they are already the target of abuse and threats in their countries for their fight for human rights, they are now prevented from testifying. Their testimonies and experiences would have enriched our debates and discussions.

The FEMED, the EMHRN and the FIDH strongly condemn these restrictive measures taken by the host country of this second edition of the World Human Rights Forum.