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Ryadi:”Morocco lacks in democracy, but ther’s still hope” 0

July 23, 1999: Mohamed VI – 35 – succeeded to the throne of his father, Hassan II. On July 30 he was inaugurated as the new king inheriting a country deeply touched by thirty years of autocratic monarchy.

Despite the fact that the country has registered enormous progress in the area of economic modernization, many citizens, or subjects, are still living under the minimum poverty line.

Afronline.org took a look at the realities of today’s Morocco with Khadija Ryadi, President of the Moroccan Association for Human Rights.

Moroccans are celebrating for Mohamed VI tenth anniversary. Will you be among them?

No, I have never taken part in popular celebrations of that kind, and I won’t do it now. The reason is simple: I do not agree with what he has done during the last ten years.

Why?

There are many reasons. The first one is the lack of real democracy in Morocco. The hope of constituting a State of Right was implicitly linked to a vast constitutional reform that has not been made.

In our country there is no separation between politics and religion; justice is not independent and the government continues postponing its international commitments in human rights issue.

We have been asking for an alignment on international laws for years, but the regime does not hear us.

Let’s consider gender equality. The penal code still authorizes a rapist to marry his under age victim if her father or her brother agrees. Do you think it is possible to celebrate anything while there is such a violation of women’s and children’s rights?

However, in many foreign countries it is common to believe that this king has had a key-role in the country’s modernization…

The reality is always more complex and worrying. In the last few years, even if the pro capita GDP has doubled, Morocco has gone down from number 124 to 127 in the UN chart of Human Development.

This means that economic modernization was a benefit only for a small minority of Moroccan people who grew richer leaving the majority poor.

So no positive social changes at all then?

Even if it appears to be so, the truth is different. Family code, just to make an example, was put in the core of an important reform that had never been applied in women’s daily life. Today in Morocco violence against women is still a national plague.

In 2007, the government announced that a new era for human rights was born, but it revealed to be a false promise.

Rights’ destiny has been put in the hands of the Centre for Documentation and Information, a small entity linked to the Consultative Council of Human Rights. And that is what it has done: consultancy.

The incredible amount of announcement without any kind of sequel made us understand that they wanted only to please the International Community. It is all smoke for the eyes.

Was Moroccan civil society up to all of these challenges?

Yes and no at the same time. I would say yes because in the last ten years we have seen an important evolution.

Before these changes, everybody tended to work on their own, but now organizations form alliances to carry on precise battles. I think, for example, of the Group Against Death Sentence or the Alliance for Independent Justice. The network is the only alternative. It is the only way to fight another big obstacle for human and civil rights’ achievement: impunity.

But there is still hope. Even in the most remote regions of Morocco people are becoming more conscious of its own rights, sometimes we see spontaneous demonstrations and protests.

The biggest danger that I see in such movements and in the associations’ world is the presence of the government in trying to gain control. For example, when they launched the National Initiative for Human Development, the government encouraged many people to create new associations, a way to obtaining funds and obstructing the growth of the most serious and dreaded groups.

By Joshua Massarenti – Afronline

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