Morocco’s flagrant double standards

February 20th Movement writes to the international committee that’s organizing the World Forum for Human Rights in Morocco.

February 20th Movement, Rabat branch
20th of November, 2014

Open letter to the organizing committee of the World Forum for Human Rights in Morocco.

Subject: For the reasons below, the February 20th Movement objects to the hosting of the World Forum for Human Rights in Morocco.

With your committee’s support, Morocco will be hosting the 2nd annual World Forum for Human Rights in Marrakech from November 27th to November 30th, 2014.

If the expectation of the Forum is to provide a platform as the basis for an open international space promoting dialogue between governments, national institutions for human rights, and civil society in order to follow through on the people’s hope for dignity, equality and justice, then the reality is that the Moroccan government, true to its nature, intends to exploit this event and redirect public opinion in a way that coincides with its own views.

The national context in which your Forum is taking place can be characterized by unprecedented curbing of individual freedom, by flagrant human rights violations, by banning all human rights activities, by intimidation, detention, and assassination. The people of Imider have been engaged in peaceful public protests since 2011 (and subject to ongoing threats, arrests, false charges, and other human rights violations) against the exploitation of their water and land by the mining company belonging to the king — the same holding company and king sponsoring this event and advocating for human rights in the world.

The Moroccan regime boasts the image of democracy abroad while it still violently represses its citizens. (image via 

Our objection to holding the 2nd World Forum for Human Rights in Morocco derives from our conviction that the Moroccan regime is not the human rights advocate it claims to be, and is hardly qualified to organize and host such a forum. Allowing such an event to take place in Morocco is an endorsement of each one of this regime’s human rights abuses and breaches.

We confirm to you that no matter how exorbitant the spending, no matter how many resources are expended on the deceptive publicity campaign to host this Forum, the Moroccan regime can no longer cover up the farce and outright lies about respecting human rights: they are being exposed daily by the increasing social activism taking place throughout the country and abroad, well beyond the traditional French demonstrations of solidarity. Documentation is revealed in the various reports issued by credible national and international human rights organizations and well-known, respected individuals from foreign universities and high-level think tanks.

We object to Morocco being the “host” of this World Forum, and we call on all human rights activists in Morocco and abroad to participate in making the parallel protest a resounding success, underscoring our strong objection to this event.

* February 20th is the pro-democracy movement founded in Morocco at the onset of the Arab Spring, and whose activism compelled Morocco’s king Mohamed VI to enact nominal constitutional reforms.

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