Morocco has been trying to catch up with lost time and improve human rights since the end of what is called the “years of lead.” The task is however not easy and requires the involvement of all the components of society. The United Nations Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, Juan , who paid an information visit to Morocco in September 2012, presented on Monday in Geneva a mitigated report to the ongoing 22nd session of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC). In his report, Mendez welcomed "the emergence of a culture of human rights in Morocco" and commended the efforts made to strengthen human rights in general, and to eradicate torture and improve detention conditions, in particular. However, the Special Rapporteur expressed concern at the persistence of cases of torture and ill-treatment and at the poor detention conditions of prisoners. He urged Moroccan authorities to make further efforts to improve the situation of human rights and to eradicate torture under all its forms in the country.


The Moroccan Inter-ministerial Delegate for Human Rights, Mahjoub El Haiba, who was attending the session proceedings, noted that the main recommendations on torture made by the UN Rapporteur converge on the same principles underlying the process of reforms in Morocco. These structural reforms are strategic and irreversible, and Morocco is willingly open to any assessment of the situation of human rights and is resolved to continue its cooperation and positive interaction with UN human rights mechanisms, he said. Strengthening the protection and enhancing the promotion of human rights are part of Morocco’s strategic and irreversible choices, he insisted. The UN Special Rapporteur urged the international community to support Morocco's efforts in this area. The UN expert made it clear that his visit to Morocco and to its southern provinces under an independent mandate "should not be interpreted as an expression of any political opinion" regarding the current or future status of the Western Sahara.