HRW Report: Morocco Section Presents Data ‘Without Real or Legal Basis’ –DIDH

The Inter-ministerial Delegation for Human Rights (DIDH) said that the Human Rights Watch (HRW) organization presented in the section reserved for human rights in Morocco and Moroccan Sahara, in its report for 2021, data without any real or legal basis. In a response to the allegations contained in the HRW report, the DIDH stressed that this organization persists in “its continued involvement in a political and systematic campaign against our country, presenting data without real or legal basis, in contradiction with its approach, which it constantly recalls, and that advocates the thorough investigation of violations and the revelation of truths on a large scale. Regarding the criminal justice system, the Inter-Ministerial Delegation indicated that HRW “premeditatedly and systematically abuses the role of judges and the course of the trial, arguing the legitimization of so-called +coercion and deception as to the signing of trials+”, without providing any arguments emanating from its observation of the course of the trials or from a careful reading of the rulings and decisions of the courts, let alone from any other professional observation made by another party. The Delegation added that HRW “ignored all of this, even though the court sessions were public, and the National Council for Human Rights (CNDH) issued reports and statements of observation that deserved to be taken into account”, stressing that “it was incumbent upon an international organization, which prides itself on revealing the truth, to go in search of data from diverse sources, except that it chose the path of political contestation”. Regarding the criminal justice system, the DIDH noted that “the guarantees provided by the current criminal procedure, reflect the progress made in the respect of human rights in our country as well as its interaction with its international commitments. As for the development of this system in terms of legal guarantees, it is a matter of national sovereignty and its monitoring depends on the orientations of the executive power and what the parliament decides. In sum, HRW’s attempt to undermine the Moroccan criminal justice system is categorically rejected”. With regard to the freedom to create associations, the Inter-ministerial Delegation considered that Human Rights Watch persists in its opposite political approach, since it devoted a paragraph to an association that it considered to be the largest human rights NGO, claiming that it was hindered in its action and that the authorities would have refused to facilitate the official steps of its sections. The organization’s report, added the DIDH, once again fails to present information attesting to the veracity of the violations and the facts relating to them, in that it has not revealed any documented data that could justify its allegations. Nor has it presented evidence that the injured party has taken steps to enjoy the rights guaranteed by law before the competent administrative authority, nor has it presented evidence of a challenge before the administrative courts. The Delegation affirmed, on the occasion, that its former leaders, for three years and in the framework of the approaches, have asked, on the basis of the results of an official meeting, to provide them with arguments related to the deprivation of the aforementioned association of its right to receive receipts of legal deposit, but they have not received any data on this subject, emphasizing, in this respect, that it can only renew the same position. According to the Inter-ministerial Delegation, “in all cases, and in accordance with the decisions of the National Council for Human Rights concerning recourse to administrative justice, and the orientation of the institution of the Mediator of the Kingdom, concerning the respect of legal decisions, and in order to remove any ambiguity, and to protect the file from political exploitation and in compliance with the constitutional principles of freedom, responsibility and pluralism, the Moroccan administrative justice system is the only one in a position to rule on allegations of this kind”. After stressing that “once again, it appears that the approach of Human Rights Watch is marked by exploitation and political selectivity without taking into account the data of the national environment that gives the right to evaluate”, the Inter-ministerial Delegation for Human Rights announced that it will soon launch an electronic portal dedicated to the receipt and monitoring of allegations of human rights violations, contained in the report of the special review of the interdepartmental delegate, published at the end of last year. The Inter-ministerial Delegation affirmed that it will undertake, within the framework of its attributions, the limits of its intervention and in the respect of transparency, as well as the reception of requests and complaints, to follow up on their execution and to present them to the competent constitutional authorities and institutions and to include what is related to them on the occasion of the special examination report which will be published at the end of the year. Regarding freedom of expression, the DIDH pointed out that the HRW report dealt with this issue from two angles, the first related to rumors about alleged hacking and spying on the phones of some people, and the second concerning the return to cases, some of which have been tried and others are still being processed by the courts. The Inter-ministerial Delegation said that the organization returns to the first subject without taking into account the methodology of revealing the truths it claims, the same subject of which the Kingdom had provided sufficient explanations and had resorted to justice. It added that the Head of Government had said, first, that the organization was required to provide material evidence and scientific expertise, and that secondly, he had sent a letter to the Acting Secretary General, asking her to provide evidence regarding the allegations contained in her report on the subject, but she did not provide anything to support her false allegations, adding that the Kingdom has resorted to international justice. The Inter-ministerial Delegation stated that “once again, instead of revealing and scrutinizing the facts, and presenting them within the framework of objectivity, HRW has chosen the easy way out by engaging in a political campaign hostile to our country”. With regard to the cases pending before the courts and involving journalists within the framework of common law offenses, the DIDH categorically rejected to respond to this aspect, given that the treatment and decisions of disputes take place in the courts and between the parties in conflict within the framework of the guarantees of a fair trial and under the observation of the parties eligible for this mission or within the framework of commenting on the judgments and legal decisions. “Unfortunately, HRW’s methodology and approach to this issue remains far from the rooted traditions of human rights. Therefore, its allegations in this sense remain one of political one-upmanship and nothing else,” concluded the DIDH.