Morocco: Human Rights Council Launches Prevention of Torture Program

The Human Rights Council in Morocco (CNDH), in partnership with the European Union and the Council of Europe, has launched a special program called “Supporting the National Mechanism for the Prevention of Torture in Morocco”

The Human Rights Council in Morocco (CNDH), in partnership with the European Union and the Council of Europe, has launched a special program called “Supporting the National Mechanism for the Prevention of Torture in Morocco” which will be implemented over a period of 36 months.

The program, a result of tight  tripartite cooperation, aims to boost the capabilities of the national mechanism staff, through theoretic and procedural training, exchange of experiences through visits to torture prevention mechanisms in Europe, in addition to participating in various national and international activities as well as improving the working methods of the national  mechanism.

The President of the National Council for Human Rights, Amina Bouayach, said in an opening speech, that the project came out according to an inclusive, consultative, participatory approach, consisting in the firm commitment of the National Council to cooperate with all  contributors within this approach framework, praising all the collective initiatives of CNDH with the European Union and the Council of Europe in the prevention of torture.

She also stressed that Morocco’s establishing a national mechanism for the prevention of torture in September 2019 came out as a result of implementing the Equity and Reconciliation Commission recommendations, and  as an execution of the Optional Protocol of the convention against Torture, all this confirms that Morocco is sincerely committed to the prevention of torture and other cruel, inhumane and degrading behaviors.

The Moroccan human rights council official announced that, since April 2020, the National Mechanism for the Prevention of torture(NPM), has carried out 11 visits to prison institutions, centers for the protection of children and the elderly, detention centers belonging to national security and royal gendarmerie in Rabat, Casablanca, Tetouan, Tangiers, Settat, and Dakhla, adding that there are new upcoming visits to other cities.

The president  of CNDH did not forget to mention the compulsions faced by the NPM in the time of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We were compelled to devise tools that adapted to the pandemic situation, through ensuring the mechanism’s functions have continued effectively during our visits, by giving priority to monitoring preventive measures against COVID-19 in all centers, deprivation of liberty, in accordance with  the directives of SPT (Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture)” , CNDH President, Amina Bouayach added.

Bouayach concluded her speech by underlining that the Moroccan Parliament has chosen the CNDH to manage the functions of the NPM to enhance the effectiveness of the mechanism so that it can fully perform its duties of protection from torture and other cruel and degrading human rights violations. Mohamed Benajiba, the Coordinator of the National Mechanism for the Prevention of Torture, reviewed the stages of establishing and setting up of mechanism, within the CNDH, he considered that the law of reorganizing the council will give the mechanism all reassurances to carry out its tasks and roles in the best way, in appropriate conditions, and in full respect of  Optional Protocol terms of the Convention against Torture, as well as the recommendations of the United Nations Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (SPT).

The Coordinator emphasized that the existence of the mechanism within the structures of the National Council for Human Rights will enable it to benefit from the CNDH’s resources and expertise. He further discussed the current context of the mechanism’s work in the time of the Covid-19 pandemic, noting the importance of supporting the project of the mechanism, which will enhance the performance of its mission and contribute to improving the conditions of inmates in liberty deprivation centers.

It is worth noting that the Opening session of web meeting, during which the official launch of the program was given, marked by the participation of a group of human rights figures from Europe, namely:

Verena Tyler, Office Director of the General Directorate of Programs (Council of Europe)

Alessio Cappellani, Deputy Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Morocco.

Christos Giacambulos, Director General of Human Rights and the Rule of Law (Council of Europe, Strasbourg).

After that, a web meeting has taken place with experts discussing the coming challenges and expectations of the national mechanism for the prevention of torture, the web meeting was led by Mohamed Ayat, head of the UN Committee on Enforced Disappearance, with the participation of Abdallah Ounnir, a member of the United Nation Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture.

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