Comments of the Human
Rights Committee : Morocco
1. The Committee considered
the third periodic report of Morocco (CCPR/C/76/Add.3 and Add.4) at
its 1364th to 1366th meetings (CCPR/C/SR.1364 to SR.1366), held on
20 and 21 October 1994, and adopted At the 1383rd meeting,
held on 2 November 1994. the following comments:
2. The Committee welcomes
the opportunity to resume its dialogue with the State party and thanks
the Government for its report (CCPR/C/76/Add.3 and Add.4) and core
document (HRI/CORE/1/Add.23).The Committee regrets, however, that
although the report contained detailed information on laws and regulations
giving effect to the Covenant, it did not include sufficient information
about the implementation of the Covenant in practice or about factors
and difficulties affecting the application of the Covenant.
3. The delegation provided
valuable additional information on a number of issues not covered
in the report which enabled the Committee to obtain a better understanding
of the human rights situation in Morocco. This enabled an enhanced
dialogue between the delegation and the Committee.
B. Factors and difficulties
affecting the implementation of the Covenant
4. The Committee recognizes
that the State party has embarked on a wide-ranging process of amending
its domestic legislation to bring it into line with the Covenant.
The process has not yet been completed and steps remain to be taken
to harmonize the Constitution with the Covenant and develop democratic
institutions and human rights machinery for better implementation
of the Covenant. The remnants of certain traditions and customs constitute
an obstacle to the effective implementation of the Covenant, particularly
with regard to equality between men and women.
C. Positive aspects
5. The Committee recognizes
that the attitude of the Government has recently changed towards a
greater openness in its handling of human rights issues, including
its reporting obligations under the Covenant. In the latter regard,
some frank oral answers given during the consideration of the report
to questions raised by members regarding issues such as disappearances,
the existence of the Tazmamart detention centre, the whereabouts of
persons previously detained therein, as well as the fate of the Oufkir
family were appreciated.
6. The Committee welcomes
the numerous measures taken during the period under review to improve
democracy and institute a legal environment more favourable to the
promotion and protection of human rights. The Committee notes with
satisfaction the promulgation in 1992 of an amended Constitution and
the amnesty of a number of political prisoners. Compensation is being
payed to certain persons illegally detained. The Committee was also
glad to learn of the commutation of death sentences to life imprisonment
sentences, the establishment of the Constitutional Council and the
Economic and Social Council, the holding on 27 September 1993 of parliamentary
elections, as well as the holding of a national symposium on problems
affecting the news, information and communication services to recommend
modifications in the legislation to, inter alia, bring it into
line with international human rights standards, which constitute steps
to consolidate the rule of law. Some progress has been made in the
promotion of the status of women and women have been elected to Parliament
for the first time. It takes note of the expanded role of the Advisory
Council on Human Rights and the efforts made to promote public awareness
of the rights guaranteed under the Covenant. The Committee also welcomes
the information that measures have been taken to teach the Covenant
and other international human rights instruments to members of the
judiciary and the police. The freedom now given to non-governmental
organizations to be active in the country is also a matter of appreciation.
D. Main subjects of
7. The Committee notes
that the Constitution does not contain specific provisions as to the
relationship between international treaties and domestic law. Accordingly,
there is a need to better define the place of the Covenant within
the Moroccan legal system to ensure that domestic law is applied in
conformity with the provisions of the Covenant .
8. The Committee is concerned
about Morocco's role with regard to the persistent problems faced
regarding self-determination in Western Sahara.
9. The Committee regrets
that, although some improvement has been achieved as regards the status
of women, the State party has not yet embarked on all the necessary
reforms to combat the difficulties still impeding equality between
men and women. The Constitution provides for equality only in the
area of political rights, and the situation of women in both public
and private law continues to be de jure or de facto
the object of discrimination as regards the right to leave the country,
freedom of commercial activities, personal status, marriage, divorce,
inheritance rights, transmission of nationality, education, access
to work and participation in the conduct of public affairs.
10. The Committee is concerned
that the categories of crimes punishable by the death penalty include
crimes in respect of which, by reference to article 6 of the Covenant,
the death penalty should not be imposed.
11. Despite the amnesty
of political prisoners and the destruction of certain unregistered
places of detention, the Committee continues to deplore that a large
number of cases of summary and arbitrary executions, enforced or involuntary
disappearances, torture and arbitrary or unlawful detention committed
by members of the police or the army, including cases concerning persons
previously detained in Tazmamart, have not yet been investigated.
Furthermore, the perpetrators of such acts were neither brought to
justice nor punished. The Committee cannot accept that the names of
those charged with these offences were not made public. The Committee
deplores that measures of clemency adopted during the period under
review were generally not extended to Western Sahara.
12. The Committee is concerned
that guarantees contained in articles 9, 10 and 14 of the Covenant
are not complied with. Despite some efforts to build new prisons,
the Committee remains concerned about conditions of detention, particularly
overcrowding of prisons, which frequently lead to malnutrition, diseases
deaths of detainees. Concern is also expressed over the long period
of detention without charge under article 154 of the Code of Criminal
Procedure which appear to be incompatible with article 9 of the Covenant.
The Committee is also concerned about the obstacles to the independence
and impartiality of the judiciary.
13. The Committee is concerned
about the full implementation of the right to freedom of movement,
including in particular the restrictions still imposed on members
of the Oufkir family.
14. The Committee notes
with regret the shortcomings in the observance of article 18 of the
Covenant, in particular the restrictions affecting the Bahais' right
to profess and practice their belief and limitations on inter-religious
marriage. Concern is also expressed at the impediment placed upon
the freedom to change one's religion.
15. The Committee expresses
concern about the extent of the limitations to the freedom of expression,
assembly and association under the Dahir of 1973 and especially limitations
on the right to criticise the Government. Governmental control of
the media as well as the imprisonment of some journalists for having
expressed criticisms give rise to serious concern.
16. The Committee is concerned
that the electoral system, under which two thirds of members of the
House of Representatives are elected by direct universal suffrage
and one third by an electoral college, may raise issues as to the
requirements, under article 25 (b) of the Covenant, that elections
be held by "universal and equal suffrage". The wide scope
of executive power in the hands of the King has implications for the
effective independence of the judiciary and the democratic processes
E. Suggestions and
17. The Committee recommends
that the State party consolidate the process of constitutional revision
in order to ensure that all the requirements of the Covenant are reflected
in the Constitution, thereby bringing the Constitution into true compliance
with the Covenant and to ensure that the limitations imposed on the
exercise of rights and freedoms under national legislation do not
go beyond those permitted under the Covenant.
18. The Committee expresses
the wish that the Government of Morocco gives serious consideration
to becoming a party to the first Optional Protocol.
19. The Committee further
recommends that Morocco studies measures to limit the categories of
crimes punishable by death penalty to the most serious offences, with
a view to its eventual abolition.
20. The Committee emphasizes
the need for the Government to prevent and eliminate discriminatory
attitudes and prejudices towards women and to revise domestic legislation
with a view to bring it in conformity with articles 2, 3 and 23 of
the Covenant, taking into account the recommendations contained in
the Committee's general comments Nos. 4, 18 and 19. It recalls in
that regard that, although several reservations have been made by
Morocco in acceding to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms
of Discrimination against Women, Morocco remains bound to the fullest
extent by the provisions of articles 2, 3, 23 and 26 of the Covenant.
21. The Committee recommends
that the Moroccan authorities ensure that summary and arbitrary executions,
enforced or involuntary disappearances, torture, ill-treatment and
illegal or secret detention do not occur and that any such cases be
investigated in order to bring before the courts those suspected of
having committed or participated in such crimes, to punish them if
found guilty, and to provide compensation to victims. The Committee
expresses the wish that any measures of clemency be granted on a non-discriminatory
basis in conformity with articles 2 and 26 of the Covenant. It also
recommends that measures of administrative detention and incommunicado
detention be restricted to very limited and exceptional cases, and
that the guarantees concerning pre-trial detention provided for in
article 9, paragraph 3, of the Covenant be fully implemented. Further
measures should also be taken to improve detention conditions and,
particularly, to ensure that the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules
for the Treatment of Prisoners are complied with and the relevant
regulations and directives known and accessible to prisoners. Proposed
measures to strengthen the presumption of innocence should be implemented
as soon as possible.
22. The Committee emphasizes
the need to take further measures to guarantee the freedom of religion
and to eliminate discrimination on religious grounds. It suggests
in this connection that the State party takes into account the recommendations
contained in the general comment on article 18 of the Covenant.
23. The Committee recommends
that restrictions imposed to the rights to freedom of expression,
assembly and association under the Dahir of 1973 be modified and brought
into line with those permitted under the Covenant to ensure their
application in conformity with the Covenant on a non-arbitrary basis.
24. The Committee recommends
that the authorities ensure that the third periodic report of Morocco
and the comments of the Committee be disseminated as widely as possible
in order to encourage the involvement of all sectors concerned on
the improvement of human rights.