Members of our team managing and implementing MCTâs Street Children Project and ID Paper Project in Taroudannt got the opportunity to attend and participate in a UN Morocco regional conference on the 3rd of April. Held in Agadir, the regional conference was the last of three (others held in Casablanca and Oujda) and hosted by the Moroccan delegation of the UN and the Ministry of Human Rights. The aim was to use a participatory approach to collect information from 80-100 regional actors from government, education, non-profit, and media sectors on the progress of the implementation of recommendations in human rights issued by the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to Morocco in May 2012. This information will be compiled into the mid-term report due to the UNHRC in May 2014 as part of the universal periodic review.
Enable local actors to understand and be a part of the periodic review
Identify and evaluate the local capacity in monitoring the recommendations
Exchange with local actors the good practices of monitoring the progress of implementing the recommendations
Gather the suggestions and recommendations of regional actors on the content of the mid-term national report
(Reports were shared in Arabic, French and English from 2012.)
The main subjects introduced by the panel, which included representatives from the Moroccan delegation of the UN and the Ministry of Human Rights, focused on the history of human rights and purpose of practical mechanisms. A presentation on the evolution of universal human rights in the last 50 years highlighted the increasing roles of international pacts, national independent organisations (particularly in womenâs rights and child protection), public debate and the creation of the UNHRC. The panel conceded to the limitations of the complex UN system and the practical mechanisms being more the role built up by NGOs functioning in Morocco. Concluding the morning presentations, the panel again emphasised the purpose of the universal periodic review as an evaluation of these mechanisms with local actors to know if it is efficient and complements the responsibility and role of UNHRC.
In the afternoon the group broke into two workshops to discuss Moroccoâs progress implementing recommendations shared in May 2012. These workshops were facilitated by the panel speakers and recorded by volunteers from within each group on a white board for all participants to see. The facilitators highlighted specific recommendations and asked the group: what are the motivations for all to exercise these rights, what are the problems in achieving this, and what are the propositions for solutions. Participants contributed ideas from their experiences of these human rights recommendations only being written in law and not yet implemented in practice.
Within four main categories â health, education, work, development â one group discussed how the human rights recommendations have been or can be implemented. Regarding health, the discussion focused on Moroccoâs programme of healthcare, RAMED, particularly on the problems of its governance and lack of information on its accessibility. The group suggested that this be included in training for professionals in the relevant sectors.
Regarding education, the discussion focused on achieving equal levels of schools across the country and across all levels, particularly between the public and private sectors. Main points included changing the national curriculum and improving subjects taught at schools, particularly French and Arabic, and resources available, such as teachers and equipment.
The second workshop focused on how to implement human rights recommendations in order to decrease poverty and marginalisation. The group agreed that the overall need is to expand the economy in order to decrease poverty and marginalisation. For example, the government implemented a programme in March 2014 to work toward a sustainable, green economy â Green Morocco â but the group identified the key problem of small farmers not being amonst the beneficiaries. They proposed making the wording in the plan simpler so more people can understand how exactly the programme works and how to engage with it.
The group also focused on recommendations regarding the right of culture: encouraging language and food traditions, respecting the variation of culture within Morocco, and respecting agreements with UNESCO. For example, the group cited that people living in mountain villages have the right to go to wells and use natural water on the land where theyâre living, but the government has the responsibility to purify the water for drinking.
The day-long conference concluded by sharing the ideas from both groups with each other and pledging to e-mail a comprehensive report to all participants. The hosts also invited all participants to continue to e-mail ideas and thoughts on the recommendations as the May mid-term report deadline approaches.
Whilst there are 90,000 registered NGOs working in Morocco, 90% of them have an annual budget of less than 5,000 Moroccan dirhams â or £368. The group departed on a positive note of committing to continue to strengthen civil society with all groups of people within Morocco as a strategic national decision.