Morocco and Western Sahara
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  • Country profile

Overview

The authorities responded to the COVID-19 pandemic with a new health emergency decree-law, which restricted freedoms of movement, expression and assembly, and used it to prosecute people for criticizing the government’s handling of the crisis or for breaking the emergency measures. Sahrawi human rights defenders continued to be intimidated, harassed and arrested for peacefully expressing their opinions. Women continued to face discrimination as well as sexual and other gender-based violence, and faced increased difficulties in accessing justice during the pandemic. Consensual same-sex sexual relations between adults remained a criminal offence and the authorities failed to investigate incitement to violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people. The rights of migrants were violated, including as a result of inadequate COVID-19 protection measures in migrant detention centres. The Polisario Front, which administers camps in Algeria for refugees from Western Sahara, detained at least one critic. Courts handed down death sentences; there were no executions.

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Death penalty status

Abolitionist in practice

Retains the death penalty in law, but hasn’t executed for at least 10 years

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