Morocco launches plan to promote human rights
By Sarah Touahri for Magharebia in Rabat – 28/02/07
Morocco has set in motion a five-year action plan to promote and raise awareness of human rights in the country. The plan was endorsed by the government, the National Human Rights Advisory Committee (CCDH) and nine independent human rights groups.
The Platform for Civic Action to Promote Human Rights Culture was launched on Monday (February 26th) during a ceremony attended by Prime Minister Driss Jettou and other officials and human rights activists. Jettou said the plan would establish a culture of human rights more firmly in people’s thinking, making it an everyday reality in all sectors of society. He vowed to make available all the necessary funding and human resources.
Amina Lamrini el-Ouahabi, co-ordinator of the committee responsible for the plan, told Magharebia that this was a methodological platform, concentrating on the education of future generations, the training of specialists -- particularly those charged with law enforcement-- and raising public awareness.
According to Lamrini, the platform is designed as a tool for governmental and non-governmental agencies across the country to incorporate human rights thinking into their work, to safeguard the rights and fundamental liberties of citizens.
Mustapha Chafai, who also contributed to the new programme, said that spreading a human rights culture among law enforcement and public affairs officers -- as well as educators-- is the quickest route to reaching the stated objectives. He stressed the importance of educating future generations of Moroccans in the values of human rights from an early age, through properly targeted educational programmes from primary school onwards.
Meanwhile, Amine Abdelhamid, chairman of the Moroccan Human Rights Association, called on civil society and government officials to work together to realise the goals set out in the plan. He says that without a clear mechanism to apply them, the recommendations will just be empty words.
CCDH Chairman Driss Benzekri said a monitoring mechanism is being considered to ensure the plan’s implementation within five years. A committee of government officials and rights activists will meet at the end of each year to measure progress.
The state-run CCDH proposed the platform in 2003 as part of an attempt to spread a culture of human rights more widely. The plan was devised over the years following consultations with human rights activists and government agencies.
In 1999, Morocco became the first Arab country to create a commission to probe human rights abuses since the 1960s. The government pledged last week to pay restitution to some 25,000 victims of serious human rights violations. Compensations are expected to reach 140m euros, and will be paid over a ten-year period.
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