By Naoufel Cherkaoui
To mark the 2011 UN Human Rights Day, Morocco introduced an action plan to integrate human rights principles into the kingdom’s national policy.
The National Human Rights Council (CNDH) organised a seminar on December 10th to explain the content of democracy and present the initiative to legislators and civil society organisations.
“The general goal of this plan, which includes several measures concerning various aspects of human rights, is to establish general integrated policies based on the values of democracy and human rights, and to conduct an evaluation of the country’s general policies in the past years, some of which were not integrated,” said CNDH Secretary-General Mohamed Sebbar.
The project to prepare the plan was launched three years ago based on a recommendation from the World Conference on Human Rights that was held in Vienna in 2003. The supervisory committee presented the first version of that project to the government last July.
Following this year’s political reforms, the Ministerial Commission in Charge of Human Rights was tasked with developing a new version of the plan, which was presented to the government on
“The political reforms that were introduced in Morocco have placed this plan in a new and positive context to boost democracy,” said Inter-ministerial Delegate for Human Rights Mahjoub El Hiba. “In this way, this country has become a model in some fields of reform, especially those related to human rights.”
“The national democracy and human rights action plan is considered the first general plan in this field, and it was prepared with the support of the European Union,” he added.
The blueprint features four main aspects. The first concerns good governance and democracy, with an emphasis on human rights, equality, transparency and the re-building of relations between citizens and state bodies. Secondly, it focuses on economic, social, cultural and environmental rights. The third aspect deals with the rights of marginalised categories, including battered women, people with special needs and senior citizens. Lastly, the plan touches on legal protection, which includes constitutional rights guarantees and judiciary reforms.
The initiative drew fire from some legislators, who argued that the parliament should have participated in its drafting. Fatna Lkhiel, of the Popular Movement party, wondered why the law-making body was not involved in the preparation of the plan but was required to support it.