“2nd day at the human rights forum: I managed to get in this time! Everyone had access, actually. The organizers were smart enough to abandon this ridiculous badge requirement. It was a relief to everyone, staff and visitors alike. Serious problems of logistics, however, are still present: very little information for visitors. No clear protocols, as a typical example, no one has explained to foreigners that they could have a head-set to receive instantaneous translation, no clear indications on where/how/when the shuttles were running, etc.
Also the fact that the staff did its best has been confirmed. I was told that among the staff there were some professionals, but also students and young volunteers.
I attended two panel discussions, the first was on defenders of human rights. From this session, I particularly retained the central idea raised by a Palestinian worker: We need to expand the definition of defender of human rights so that it no longer remains the prerogative only of those who have made it their profession, which reiterates exactly what I said in the comments of my previous day’s journal. Beyond this idea and during the question and answer period, several Moroccans intervened to say that there were many violations of human rights in Morocco and there were regressions that caused significant concern; the case of blocking of the AMDH activities was mentioned, Wafaa Sharaf’s case was mentioned, and Anouzla Ali was mentioned too. Others intervened to say that today more than ever, at the global level, we need concrete action, and some even asked what was done specifically for those issues raised at the first human rights forum held in Brasilia?
I attended another conference concerning protection of journalists. One of the first things that struck me was the absence of a single journalist on the panel of speakers. It reminds me a little of those conferences that focus on women’s rights, and where there are no women among the participants.The three Moroccans among the six panel members were Youness Mujahid (Secretary General of Nationl Union of Moroccan Press), Mustapha EL KHALFI (Minister of Communication and spokesperson of the government) AND Mustapha IRAQI of the CNDH. It was a very dull and uninteresting round table. Younes Mujahid has engaged in an empty verbal exercise. Mustapha EL KHALFI presented a politically correct discourse without any factual basis (yes there are violations of journalists’ rights in Morocco, yes it is a real problem, it has to be changed, we need better means of identifying journalists who are threatened and/or abused, we have to accompany journalists so they know how toi prepare their case for legal complaints, etc.). What was unfortunate is that those in attendance did not have the opportunity to ask questions and thus create a real debate. We were told that we could ask questions after the second round table … Otherwise, remaining speakers reminded the audience of how dangerous it was to be a journalist these days, and that in 2014 alone, there were already around 100 journalists murdered. In addition, I met a lot of very interesting young men, some of whom I knew, some not. Ex-Mamfakinch members, bloggers, individuals from Anfass … etc. With all these people we thought that if we were brave enough, we would write a small report about this MFHR. We’ll see if we’ll be able to do so …
I can not finish this eye-witness account without mentioning the rain inundating our country. I got a glimpse of the conditions here in Marrakech. In the Ouarzazate region, two of my uncles lost their homes, completely destroyed by water. I saw photos of Sidi Ifni today … Were the citizens evacuated in advance? Have the special forces moved in there? Were dangerous roadways blocked? Were places to receive these devastated people prepared? … Because we have the means for knowing in advance during which periods heavy rains will fall, and how serious the rainfall will be (it is with this that we decided to offer the “rogatory prayers” right?), it would be nice if these tools were actually utilized in order to anticipate such disasters, and save the lives of citizens, without which the liability of the State must be fully engaged. So much for the second eye-witness account of this day. Tomorrow I am speaking at a roundtable with the CNDP, I do not know if I’ll suddenly be able to visit many workshops/conferences.”