Media Advisory Morocco/Western Sahara: Authorities must lift restrictions on human rights groups as World Human Rights Forum opens

Restrictions by the Moroccan authorities on human rights organizations including Amnesty International have continued unabated despite the upcoming World Human Rights Forum being organized in Marrakech on 27-30 November. 

In recent months, for the first time since 1993, the Moroccan authorities have sought to impose limitations on Amnesty International’s human rights activities in the country.

• In September 2014, Amnesty International’s annual youth camp in Bouznika near the capital Rabat was banned by the authorities, in spite of the organization taking all the required steps to notify the authorities.

• In October 2014, the authorities denied entry to Morocco to an Amnesty International delegation seeking to document the situation of migrants and refugees.

• In November 2014, a fact-finding visit by the organization was cancelled after the authorities requested prior meetings in Rabat to agree on the parameters of the trip.

Eight Moroccan groups, including leading human rights associations such as the Moroccan Association for Human Rights (AMDH), have decided not to attend the World Human Rights Forum in protest at growing restrictions on their activities by the authorities. Continuing restrictions on freedom of association in Western Sahara featured among the reasons invoked by eight Sahrawi groups that have announced they will also shun the event. 

“Clamping down on activities by local human rights groups and hampering Amnesty International’s access to the country is not only a clumsy way to prepare for Morocco’s hosting of the World Human Rights Forum,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Director. 

“It is also a worrying signal that civil liberties in the country are under threat. The Moroccan authorities’ attempts to tighten controls on critics of the country’s human rights record will only raise suspicions that they have something to hide.”

For more details about the obstacles on recent restrictions on rights groups: Amnesty International public statement, Morocco/Western Sahara: Lift restrictions on associations

For interview requests contact: Amnesty International press office, MENA Press Officer at Amnesty International’s International Secretariat, on +44 207 413 5511 or [email protected]