Morocco’s Exceptionality In North Africa – OpEd


On December 10, the world celebrated the International Day of Human Rights. A day that has come a long way since 1948. Lives sacrificed, bloodshed, lost destinies, people braved the ban to fight against humiliation, injustice, intolerance to achieve respect for human rights. Many states have learned to count with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Democracies “best practices” have therefore built up over time, while in other parts of the world, these rights continued to be violated.

But since 2011, the winds of social and political rumbles breath again. The Arab Spring has changed the face of several regions of the world. A little spark in Tunisia turn into an outbreak worn by millions of people in various countries.


Revolutions took place, dictators overthrown, challenges won, but a year later, it is still not clear that the objectives are achieved. Things have certainly changed, but democracy remains a chimera. Between Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Syria, … people are in turmoil and uncertainty.

Morocco, Exception

In Morocco 2012 was a pivotal year in terms of human rights, another year rich in social movements. Advances are significant that we can’t ignore. The new Constitution is in itself an undeniable evolution, but still more needs to be done. A year after the massive vote in favour of the new Constitution in 2011, which, for the first time gives primacy to the universal law on the domestic one. Injustice, insecurity, rentier economy and discrimination are no longer appropriate.

The image of the human rights situation in Morocco is relatively mixed. Significant progress, but concerns remain. The first observation, is the solow pace of the implementation of organic laws, meant to convey the spirit of the Constitution. We are facing a legal literature inapplicable on the ground. Hence the sense of a kind of reluctance towards the promotion of the culture of human rights on the ground.

New cases of mistreatment of prisoners were identified in CNDH (National Council of Human Rights). “The government persists in its equivocation not to implement the recommendations of the IER (Equity and Reconciliation Commission).

Concerning judicial reform, everybody recognizes the fact that a lot needs to be done. The Moroccan civil society is working hard to attract the government attention to this sensitive issue. At the instruction of King Mohammed the Moroccan Ministry of Justice has launched a series of forums on the importance of judicial reform. Scholars, NGO and political leaders are contributing to those national debates in order to elaborate a new judicial system that will reinforce the rule of law in Morocco.

On the social level, we can not say that things have improved. Women in rural areas continue to deliver in unacceptable conditions. Fortunately, Mohammed V foundation took the initiative to develop an ambitious program in those villages to improve the living standards of the Moroccans living there by creating vocational training schools to benefit th youth, boarding schools for rural girls and small clinics.

Finally, the list is far from exhaustive. This means that the road is still long and the battle is not over yet. The fight continues. Morocco has voiced its firm determination to tackle all sensitive issues that in the past were taboo. This is the real will of change and reform that has been initiated over the last 12 years. Morocco pledged to go ahead with key reforms not forgetting economic growth. Morocco has put forward an ambitious road map to attract more world investments. Highways, high speed trains, new ports and airports all are built and some are still under construction in order to boost investments and make Morocco an attractive investment hub.

Undoubtedly, there are still some challenges to overcome but the most important is this will to move forward and respond to Moroccans expectations and aspirations. This reality reflects Morocco’s exceptionality in North Africa

Said Temsamani

Said Temsamani is a Moroccan political observer and consultant, who follows events in his country and across North Africa. He is a member of Washington Press Club.

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