Morocco Vows Marrakech Bombing Will Not Derail Reform
WASHINGTON, May 3, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Last week, the United Nations Security Council welcomed Morocco's establishment of the National Council on Human Rights (CNDH) to bolster human rights protection, particularly in the Western Sahara, as it agreed unanimously to extend the UN peace-keeping mission in the disputed territory. The Security Council also urged the Algerian-backed Polisario Front to respect the rights of Sahrawi refugees in the Tindouf camps of southern Algeria, where they have been confined in deteriorating conditions for more than three decades.
In early March, His Majesty King Mohammed VI announced the creation of the CNDH as an independent body with the authority to initiate judicial inquiries into human rights violations. It is made up of public officials, NGO leaders, political party representatives, and civil activists, and replaces a predecessor body that performed a solely advisory role.
The Security Council welcomed "the establishment of a National Council on Human Rights in Morocco and the proposed component regarding Western Sahara," and also stressed "the importance of improving the human rights situation in Western Sahara and the Tindouf camps" run by the Polisario in Algeria. The UN encouraged the Polisario Front and Morocco "to work with the international community to develop and implement independent and credible measures to ensure full respect for human rights."
Amid allegations of egregious human rights violations in the Tindouf refugee camps in southern Algeria, the Security Council urged the Algerian-backed Polisario Front to cooperate with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to pursue "refugee registration in the Tindouf refugee camps." According to UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Antonio Guterres, Algeria opposes the registration, refusing to accept that it is "simply a humanitarian measure."
The Security Council also called for "inauguration of family visits by land and the continuation of the existing programme by air." Expanding the current UN-sponsored family visit program to include land travel on a 'Road Home' would increase the number of refugees who could reunite with their families in Morocco. Some refugees have been separated from family members for more than thirty years and the current family-visit wait list stands at more than 17,000.
"His Majesty King Mohammed VI has vowed that the senseless, tragic bombing in Marrakech will not derail Morocco's commitment to accelerating democratic reform," said Robert M. Holley, Executive Director of the Moroccan American Center for Policy. "The international community should join the Security Council in supporting efforts to protect human rights in the region and ease the burden on Sahrawi refugees and their families. Registration in the Tindouf camps is an essential step to accurately count refugees in order to provide necessary humanitarian aid. It is troubling that Algeria and the Polisario continue to reject efforts to identify who exactly is in the camps, especially given recent reports by senior NATO officials that many of Gaddafi's mercenaries come from the Polisario."
For full text of the United Nations Security Council Resolution, please visit: [http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2011/sc10234.doc.htm]
The Moroccan American Center for Policy (MACP) is a non-profit organization whose principal mission is to inform opinion makers, government officials and interested publics in the United States about political and social developments in Morocco and the role being played by the Kingdom of Morocco in broader strategic developments in North Africa, the Mediterranean, and the Middle East. For more, please visit www.moroccanamericanpolicy.org.
This material is distributed by the Moroccan American Center for Policy on behalf of the Government of Morocco. Additional information is available at the Department of Justice in Washington, DC.
SOURCE Moroccan American Center for Policy