memorandum by Mr Volontè, rapporteur
On 21 June 2011, the Parliamentary Assembly adopted Resolution
, whereby it granted partner for democracy status to
the Parliament of Morocco. The Parliament of Morocco thus became
the first to request and to be granted this status, introduced by
the Assembly in 2009 to develop co-operation with the parliaments
of the Council of Europe’s neighbouring States.
When making its official request for this status, the Parliament
of Morocco declared that it shared the same values as those upheld
by the Council of Europe and made a number of political commitments
in accordance with Rule 61.2 of the Rules of Procedure of the Assembly.
These commitments are set out in paragraph 3 of Resolution
3. In addition, the Assembly stated, in paragraph 8 of the aforementioned
resolution, that a number of specific measures were essential to
strengthen democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights
and fundamental freedoms in Morocco.
4. Furthermore, the Assembly stressed that “progress in taking
forward reforms is the prime aim of the partnership for democracy
and should constitute the benchmark for assessing the efficiency
of this partnership”.
Accordingly, the Assembly decided to review, two years after
the granting of partner for democracy status to the Parliament of
Morocco, the progress achieved in implementing the political commitments
and reforms considered to be essential.Note
political and institutional developments
6. On 1 July 2011, one week after the granting of partner
for democracy status to the Parliament of Morocco, the country’s
new constitution was adopted by referendum.
7. The new constitution has been an important step on the path
to democratic reform. It enshrines certain fundamental principles,
such as a commitment to universally recognised human rights, the
prohibition of all discrimination, the primacy of ratified international
conventions over domestic law, the separation of powers and the
strengthening of institutions, particularly of parliament. Further
information on the constitutional reform can be found in Chapter
However, the reform process is not over. The constitution
provides for the adoption of 19 constitutional laws (lois organiques
) needed to implement
certain provisions of the constitution.Note
addition, it foresees the establishment of a range of new institutions.
9. To date, only a few of these constitutional laws have been
passed, including on political parties, on the House of Representatives,
and on appointments to senior posts. The bulk of the constitutional
laws are yet to be adopted.
10. In the framework of the reform, early elections to the Chamber
of Representatives were called; they took place on 25 November 2011.
An ad hoc committee of the Assembly observed those elections. The
main findings of this ad hoc committee are referred to in Chapter
6 of this report.
11. Out of 30 political parties which ran in the elections, 18
obtained seats in the new Chamber. The Justice and Development Party
(PJD) obtained the largest number of seats (107 out of 395).
12. On 29 November 2011, in accordance with the new constitution,
King Mohammed VI appointed Mr Abdel-llah Benkiran, leader of the
PJD, as Head of the Government.
13. The PJD and three other parties, namely the Istiqlal Party, the Progress and
Socialism Party (PPS) and the Popular Movement (MP) formed a coalition
which has 217 seats in the Chamber of Representatives.
14. On 3 January 2012, the King appointed the government ministers.
15. On 17 January 2012, the Head of the Government presented to
parliament the government’s programme, which was approved on 19
January 2012 by the Chamber of Representatives after separate debates
in each of the two chambers.
16. Today, in May 2013, the results of the implementation of the
government’s programme seem limited and tensions between the coalition
parties are on the rise.
3 Fact-finding visitNote
17. On 17 and 18 April 2012, I made an initial fact-finding
visit to Morocco in the context of the preparation of this report.
During the visit, I had discussions with the Speakers of both Chambers
of Parliament and with the leaders of parliament’s main committees
and its political groups, as well as with the Ministers of Justice
and of the Interior.
Throughout the visit, I emphasised the importance, for Morocco,
of complying with the political commitments entered into with the
partner for democracy status, as stipulated in paragraph 3 of Assembly Resolution
, and of making progress on the path to reform in those
areas which the Assembly had deemed essential in order to strengthen
democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights and fundamental
freedoms in Morocco, set out in paragraph 8 of the same resolution.
I also pointed out that, as indicated in paragraphs 13 and
14 of Resolution
(2011), the progress of these reforms was the prime
aim of the partnership and would constitute the benchmark for assessing
20. As far as the reforms already under way are concerned, I expressed
my appreciation regarding certain positive points, such as the adoption
of the new constitution, the strengthening of representative democracy, the
appointment of the Head of Government from the party which had obtained
the best results in the elections, the increased role of parliament,
the improvement of the election system and the inclusion in the
constitution of the principle of the independence of the judiciary.
21. I particularly stressed the importance attached by the Assembly
to the abolition of the death penalty, to freedom of expression,
media freedom and freedom of association, and to issues relating
to gender equality.
22. In this context, I referred to certain developments which
gave rise to concern. At least one death sentence had been passed;
even if the de facto moratorium
on executions was still in place, no steps had been taken to make
23. Information had also been received concerning a number of
cases in which media freedom had been violated; some press editions
had been banned or seized.
24. With regard to the situation of women, the recent suicide
of a young Moroccan woman, who had been a victim of marital rape,
sent a very disturbing signal and requires particular attention
from the authorities.
25. Human rights organisations had reported abuses in terms of
the use of child labour, ill-treatment of participants in protest
movements, violations of freedom of assembly and certain other problems.
26. Furthermore, I drew our partners’ attention to the need to
speed up reforms in key areas, such as the justice system and the
implementation of the recommendations of the Justice and Reconciliation
For their part, the representatives of the Moroccan authorities
to whom I spoke informed me of their firm intention to consolidate
the democratic changes under way in their country, particularly
by drafting the constitutional laws provided for in the constitution.
They considered that Resolution
offered some very useful pointers in this context. More
generally speaking, the partnership with the Assembly followed the strategic
line of a rapprochement with Europe on the basis of shared values.
28. As examples of the progress already made, the representatives
cited, in particular, the fact that the current government reflected
the will of the people as expressed in the parliamentary elections,
as well as the government’s responsibility to parliament.
29. The increased role of parliament in the institutional system
necessitated a strengthening of the level of parliamentary work,
and required it to open up to society and be more sensitive to the
Moroccan people’s concerns. New forms of communication with civil
society were therefore being sought, so that it can contribute to
the work of parliament.
30. There was also a strong desire to make progress in terms of
parity between men and women. Following the elections, women’s representation
in the Chamber of Representatives increased from 34 members (10.5%) to
67 (17%). It should nevertheless be noted that, whereas the previous
government included seven women, the new government has just one,
Ms Bassima Hakkaoui, Minister for Solidarity, Family Affairs and
31. At the same time, representatives of the majority pointed
out that their governmental coalition had been in power for only
three months, and that it had not therefore had time to turn its
attention to every issue. In practice, the constitution stipulated
that the constitutional laws should come into force before the end
of the current legislature. The coalition therefore had sufficient
time, until autumn 2016, to complete this task.
32. The abolition of the death penalty was a subject under discussion
in civil society, but also in political circles, and particularly
in parliament. However, there was, as yet, no consensus in favour
Following my visit, I made a statement in which I called for
the pursuit of reforms in the fields mentioned in Resolution
and urged the Moroccan authorities to make the most
of the opportunities offered by their rapprochement with the Council
of Europe to promote democracy, the rule of law and respect for human
rights in their country, for the good of the people of Morocco.NoteNote
4 Meeting of the
committee in Rabat (13-14 March 2013)
Following an invitation by the Parliament of Morocco,
the Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy held a meeting
in Rabat on 13 and 14 March 2013. The meeting in Rabat offered an
excellent opportunity to hold an in-depth exchange of views on the
evaluation of the partnership for democracy with the Parliament
of Morocco. It enabled an interim review to be made of the implementation,
on the one hand, of the parliament’s political commitments and of
the reforms mentioned in Assembly Resolution
, and, on the other hand, of the co-operation programmes
between the Council of Europe and Morocco in the context of our Organisation’s
35. It also provided an opportunity for the Parliament of Morocco
to affirm its role as a reform-minded institution, to consolidate
its position in respect of the supervision of government action,
and thus to give impetus to the reform process.
36. Last but not least, the meeting enabled the committee and
the Parliament of Morocco to exercise parliamentary overview of
the implementation of the programmes provided for in the Priorities
for Morocco 2012-2014 in the context of co-operation with the Council
of Europe’s neighbouring regions.
37. The committee had the privilege of holding exchanges of views
with the Speakers of both Chambers of the Parliament, Mr Karim Ghellab
and Mr Mohamed Cheikh Biadillah. The Moroccan hosts outlined the
ongoing reform process, which was a third option, and by far the
best one, to revolution, on the one hand, and disintegration, on
the other. By setting up an agenda of reforms to meet people’s expectations,
Morocco showed an example to the region.
38. The Moroccan representatives highly valued the committee meeting
as a clear signal of support of their efforts on the path to reform.
For them, the partnership with the Assembly was an opportunity to
engage in a dialogue with European colleagues on issues which were
common for the peoples on both sides of the Mediterranean, and to
share the experience of democratic transition.
39. The Committee was briefed by high officials of the Ministry
of Justice on the state of implementation of the justice system
reform, which was one of the top priorities of the government, and
also one of the key elements of the co-operation between Morocco
and the Council of Europe.
Presentations and discussions with representatives of the
Secretariat of the Council of Europe in charge of external relations
and co-operation programmes, as well as with the Secretary of the
European Commission for Democracy through Law (Venice Commission),
were an opportunity to highlight the ongoing co-operation between
the Council of Europe and Morocco in various fields, including on
the issues mentioned in Assembly Resolution
41. The committee also discussed a variety of issues related to
human rights protection and foreign policy with deputy ministers
of the Interior and of Foreign Affairs, as well as with a representative
of the National Council on Human Rights. It also held an exchange
of views with the Moroccan representatives on issues related to
the Western Sahara.
42. In my view, the meeting in Rabat was one of the high moments
in the implementation of the partnership between the Assembly and
the Parliament of Morocco. It brought together members of parliament,
government officials, civil society representatives and Council
of Europe officers, and allowed an in-depth exchange of views on
the process of political reform in Morocco and the Council of Europe
contribution to it.
43. The discussions showed that the partnership, which had started
at the parliamentary level, had reached new dimensions and expanded
to areas where expert contribution and advice were needed, and were
provided by the Council of Europe at the request of the Moroccan
authorities. This was an important achievement of our partnership
of which we can be proud.
44. In the framework of the committee meeting held in
March 2013 in Rabat, Mr Thomas Markert, Secretary of the Venice
Commission, provided a detailed analysis of the constitutional process
45. According to Mr Markert’s assessment, co-operation of Morocco
with the Venice Commission, which the country joined in 2007, had
intensified since the adoption of the new constitution in 2011.
The constitution had been drafted by a committee of experts chaired
by Professor Abdeltif Menouni, Moroccan member of the Venice Commission.
46. Even though the constitution had been drafted by a body of
experts, and not by an elected Assembly, the drafting committee
worked in an open way and encouraged broad participation through
an “accompanying mechanism”. Hearings with representatives of political
parties and civil society, as well as with individuals, were held,
and many proposals and expectations coming from the society were
integrated into the draft constitution.
47. According to the Venice Commission, the new Moroccan constitution
is of a high quality and is modern compared to a number of European
constitutions. It reflects both the modern expert thinking on constitutional matters,
and the expectations of the society.
48. Adopted at a time when several countries of the region were
undergoing “Arab revolutions”, the new Moroccan Constitution showed
that the evolutionary way of democracy building, as an alternative
to revolutions, was also possible in this part of the world. The
constitution was not a break with the past, but was built on the
existing institutional set-up and sought to develop and improve
49. The constitution was a democratic breakthrough as it strengthened
democratic institutions, especially the parliament, but also the
government, which is now responsible to the parliament. While the
King remains an important player in the political system, the roles
of parliament and government have been transformed, thus establishing
a democratic model of power sharing.
Moreover, the constitution is not limited to reflecting the
current state of affairs; it also has a programmatic character.
Various constitutional provisions set the objectives for the future,
and foresee the establishment of a number of institutions. The opening
statement of the preamble reflects the spirit of the constitution
“With fidelity to
its irreversible choice to construct a democratic State of Law,
the Kingdom of Morocco resolutely pursues the process of consolidation
and of reinforcement of the institutions of a modern State, having
as its bases the principles of participation, of pluralism and of
51. Strengthening the role of parliament is one of the
key elements of the new constitutional order, and the most important
change introduced by the new constitution, which makes Morocco comparable
to European countries. Article 47, which establishes the procedure
of appointing the new government, is crucial: The King nominates
a candidate for the position of Head of Government from within the
political party which obtains the best results in the elections
of the Chamber of Representatives. The government needs to obtain
a vote of confidence in the parliament. The parliament can also
express no confidence, which leads to the resignation of the government.
52. Article 10, guaranteeing the rights of the parliamentary opposition,
is a welcome provision which is not usually found in European constitutions.
Moreover, Article 69 provides that the presidency of one or two permanent
parliamentary committees should be reserved for the opposition.
In addition, in accordance with Article 67, one third of the members
of each Chamber may request the establishment of commissions of inquiry.
Therefore, the opposition can obtain the establishment of a commission
of inquiry against the position of the majority.
53. While the primary role of the parliament is law-making, the
new constitution underlines its role as regards control over government
and examination of the general policy of the government. The drafters
sought to establish a balance between the respective roles of the
monarch, the parliament and the government.
54. The constitution enshrines the principle of the independence
of the judiciary, and established a Superior Council of the Judicial
Power which sees to the application of the guarantees of the independence
of judges. One half of the members of this body are judges elected
by their peers.
55. The role of the Constitutional Court has been strengthened
by the new constitution. Courts can now refer to it to check the
constitutionality of a law.
56. The constitution contains a modern and well elaborated catalogue
of human rights (Title II of the constitution). It establishes equality
between women and men (Article 19), and provides that the State
shall work to achieve parity between women and men.
57. The new constitution leaves a large number of important issues
to be regulated by organic laws in order to further develop constitutional
principles and establish new independent institutions. For instance,
as regards institutions aiming to protect human rights, it establishes
the National Council on Human Rights and the Mediator. Furthermore,
the constitution has a chapter on good governance.
58. In general, the new Moroccan Constitution lays down a solid
basis for the reform process. It is an ambitious text which, in
order to be fully implemented, requires considerable work by the
Moroccan authorities. About 450 laws, including 15 organic laws,
should be on the agenda of the parliament. The Venice Commission stands
ready to contribute with regard to this legislative work. At the
same time, it is clear that not everything can be done immediately;
the reform process requires patience and perseverance.
6 Assessment of political
commitments arising from partner for democracy status
, the Assembly took note that, in their letter requesting
to be granted partner for democracy status, the Speakers of the
two Chambers of the Parliament of Morocco, in line with the requirements
set out in the Rules of Procedure, reaffirmed that “the Parliament
[they] represent shares the same values as the Council of Europe,
namely pluralist and parity-based democracy, the rule of law and respect
for human rights and fundamental freedoms”.
Furthermore, they committed themselves to:
- “continuing [their] efforts
to raise the awareness of the public authorities and the main players
in politics and civil society of the need to make progress in the
discussion of issues relating to capital punishment and [to continuing]
to encourage the authorities concerned to maintain the de facto moratorium that has been
established on carrying out the death penalty since 1993. [They]
intend to base [their] institutional and legislative work on the
experience of the Assembly and of the European Commission for Democracy through
Law (Venice Commission), bearing in mind that Morocco has been a
member of the Venice Commission since 2007”;
- “continuing their efforts to raise the awareness of the
public authorities and politicians so that favourable conditions
can be established for the holding of free, fair and transparent
- “encouraging the balanced participation of women and men
in public life and politics”;
- “encouraging the authorities concerned to accede to relevant
Council of Europe conventions and partial agreements that can be
signed and ratified by non-member states, in particular those dealing
with human rights, the rule of law and democracy”;
- “inform[ing] [the] Assembly regularly on progress made
in implementing Council of Europe principles in [their] country”.
61. I am in a position to provide the following comments on the
implementation, by the Moroccan authorities, of these political
6.1 Abolition of the
62. Although the de facto moratorium
on executions has been in place since 1993, the death penalty remains
on the books and the courts in Morocco continue to pass death penalty
sentences. According to Amnesty International, five death sentences
were pronounced in 2011, and at least seven in 2012.
63. During the Universal Periodic Review in the framework of the
United Nations Human Rights Council, the Moroccan authorities announced
that a draft law was under preparation aimed at reducing the number
of crimes for which capital punishment could be handed down. The
authorities agreed to consider further steps towards abolition,
but rejected immediate abolition.
64. At the same time, public debate on abolition is ongoing. In
October 2012, the first regional seminar on the death penalty was
organised in Rabat by the International Bar Association’s Human
Rights Institute (IBAHRI) and several Moroccan human rights organisations.
65. In February 2013, the Parliamentary Network against the death
penalty (Réseau des parlementaires contre
la peine de mort) was established at a constitutive meeting
which was held in the parliament. This network, which brings together
more than 160 MPs from both Chambers and from various political
groups, intends to advocate a law aimed at abolishing capital punishment,
and in favour of ratifying the Second Optional Protocol to the International
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) aiming at the abolition
of the death penalty. Pending abolition, the network seeks an official
announcement of a moratorium.
66. As mentioned above, early elections to the Chamber
of Representatives were held in Morocco on 25 November 2011 on the
basis of the new constitution. The turnout was about 45% of registered
voters, which was higher than in the previous parliamentary elections
(37% in 2007), but much lower than in the constitutional referendum
67. In accordance with the new constitution, the number of seats
at the Chamber of Representatives increased from 325 to 395. 305
seats are allocated for the local lists, while the national list
of 90 seats consists of a 60-seat list reserved for women and another
of 30 seats for candidates under the age of 40.
68. Under Moroccan law, the National Council on Human Rights (Conseil national des Droits de l’Homme, CNDH)
is in charge of supervising and facilitating the work of domestic
and international electoral observers. About 3 500 domestic and
300 international observers were accredited for the 2011 elections.
An ad hoc committee of the Assembly observed those elections
and concluded that “the parliamentary elections … took place in
a calm atmosphere, with voters able to choose freely among the different
It also emphasised that “following the adoption of the new
Constitution of 1 July 2011, the Moroccan authorities have improved
the electoral framework, facilitating the organisation of free and
fair elections, provided that it is properly implemented”.Note
At the same time, the ad hoc committee was informed of “a
number of irregularities alleged to have taken place during the
election campaign, including serious cases of electoral corruption,
vote-buying, improper use of administrative resources, and also
intimidation and exertion of pressure, particularly in respect of
those who had called for a boycott of the elections”.Note
Consequently, the ad hoc committee asked the competent authorities
of Morocco “to do their utmost to elucidate these allegations and
establish responsibility and notify the public and the Parliamentary
Assembly of their findings as swiftly as possible”.Note
It invited the authorities of Morocco “to carry out in-depth
analysis of the organisation of the parliamentary elections of 25
November 2011” and expressed the view that this work “should be
carried out in close co-operation with the Venice Commission with
a view to improving electoral legislation as well as certain practical
aspects of organising voting and, more generally, the electoral
process as a whole before the next elections”.Note
6.3 Balanced participation
of women and men in public life and politics
74. As mentioned earlier, the new Moroccan Constitution
proclaims equality between women and men, and provides that the
State shall work to achieve parity between women and men (Article
19). It further provides for the establishment of a specific authority
for parity and non-discrimination, but implementing legislation
is yet to be adopted. The Council of Europe is providing assistance
in the drafting of it.
75. Although women’s representation in the parliament has increased
from 34 to 67, the current government includes only one female minister.
76. I trust that more details on this subject matter will be provided
by the rapporteur for opinion of the Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination.
6.4 Accession to Council
of Europe conventions and partial agreements
In January 2013, Morocco acceded to the European
Convention on Spectator Violence and Misbehaviour at Sports Events
and in particular at Football Matches (ETS
In December 2012, Morocco signed the Council of Europe Convention
on the Counterfeiting of Medical Products and Similar Crimes involving
Threats to Public Health (CETS
79. Furthermore, Morocco has been invited to accede to, or to
sign, 14 more Council of Europe conventions.
80. In addition, Morocco is Party to six Council of Europe partial
agreements: Co-operation Group for the Prevention of, Protection
Against, and Organisation of Relief in Major Natural and Technological
Disasters (EUR-OPA) (since 1995); European Pharmacopoeia (since
1997); European Commission for Democracy through Law (Venice Commission)
(since 2007); European Centre for Global Interdependence and Solidarity (North-South
Center) (since 2009); Enlarged Partial Agreement on Sport (EPAS)
(since 2010); and Co-operation Group to Combat Drug Abuse and Illicit
Trafficking in Drugs, Pompidou Group (since 2011).
6.5 Informing the Assembly
on progress made in implementing Council of Europe principles
81. Chapter 8 of this report contains information on
multi-form dialogue between the Assembly and the Parliament of Morocco,
which provides opportunities for the Moroccan partners to keep our
members regularly informed on the political developments in their
country in the light of the values upheld by the Council of Europe.
82. In particular, at the meeting of the Committee in Turin in
December 2012, the Speaker of the Chamber of Representatives, Mr
Ghellab, made a detailed presentation on the state of play with
regard to the legislative work aimed at implementing reforms. The
meeting which the Committee held in Rabat in March 2013 largely focused
on the review of the process of reforms in Morocco and the co-operation
with the Council of Europe.
83. Generally, I conclude that the Moroccan authorities, both
at parliamentary and at government level, keep in their sight the
political commitments taken by the Parliament of Morocco in the
framework of its partnership for democracy with the Assembly, and
take them into account in the process of policy making.
More efforts on the part of our Moroccan colleagues are needed
on issues related to the abolition of the death penalty and on ensuring
parity between women and men. At the same time, other issues raised
in Resolution 1818 (2011)
, in particular in paragraph 8, should remain on the
top of the reform agenda. Legislative work needs to be intensified
in order to fully and effectively implement the provisions of the
85. Furthermore, the parliament should do more to put in practice
its general commitment to the core values of rule of law and respect
for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and take the lead in
addressing issues reported by the major international human rights
86. Those issues include, inter alia:
use of excessive violence by police against peaceful protesters;
alleged torture and other ill-treatment by the security forces;
incommunicado detention; lack of fair trial and use of “confessions”
obtained under torture; poor prison and detention conditions; infringement
of freedom of speech and the press; lack of freedom of assembly
and association; discrimination against women and girls; trafficking in
human beings; and child labour. I count on the opinion of the Committee
on Legal Affairs and Human Rights to provide further information
and analysis on these matters which are of paramount importance
for our partnership.
In this context, I would also encourage the Moroccan authorities
to consider accession to the European Convention for the Prevention
of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (ETS
), and the Council of Europe Conventions on Action against
Trafficking in Human Beings (CETS
) and on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women
and Domestic Violence (Istanbul Convention, CETS
, the Assembly expressed the hope that “granting partner
for democracy status to the Parliament of Morocco would contribute
to intensifying co-operation between this country and the Council of
Europe and promoting Morocco’s accession to Council of Europe conventions”.
It furthermore encouraged the Secretary General of the Council of
Europe, in co-ordination with the European Union, “to mobilise the Organisation’s
expertise, including that of the Venice Commission, with a view
to contributing to the full implementation of democratic reforms
in Morocco, in particular in the framework of the forthcoming constitutional
89. This proposal has now been acted upon. In the context of Secretary
General Jagland's initiative for the Council of Europe's policy
towards its immediate neighbourhood, a series of action plans were
drawn up to give form to structured co-operation with neighbouring
countries, including Morocco.
90. In April 2012, the Council of Europe and the Moroccan authorities
agreed on an action plan “Neighbourhood Co-operation Priorities
for Morocco 2012-2014” (NCP Morocco), which contained a number of
bilateral programmes intended to assist the process of democratic
transition in the country and help tackle challenges relating to
human rights, the rule of law and democracy.
The main objectives of this co-operation are:
- to enable Morocco to benefit
from the Council of Europe’s experience in building democracy, notably
by providing expertise, good practice, training, advice, election
observation, sponsorship, internships, etc.;
- to consolidate Morocco’s presence in the Council of Europe
structures with which it has already established co-operation, and
to encourage its participation in other partial agreements and mechanisms;
- to bring Moroccan legislation into line with Council of
Europe standards, with a view to the possible ratification of a
certain number of the Organisation’s conventions open to non-member
92. The programmes set out in the NCP Morocco are based on a “demand-driven”
and targeted approach, and are the result of consultations between
the Council of Europe and the Moroccan authorities. Thus, they reflect
both the needs and expectations of the Moroccan side, and the offer
that the Council of Europe can bring in the fields of its core competences,
namely respect for human rights, rule of law and democracy.
It is worth pointing out that, when negotiating the NCP Morocco,
due attention was paid to Assembly Resolution
, in particular to the need for reform in the areas singled
out in paragraph 8 thereof.
94. As regards human rights, the NCP Morocco include activities
to strengthen gender equality, prevent and combat violence against
women and children, promote the integration of people with disabilities,
and ensure social rights in the sphere of health.
95. Concerning the rule of law, the main emphasis is on accompanying
the justice system reform aimed at strengthening its independence
and efficiency. The Council of Europe’s advice and expertise are
also offered to the legislative work, including on constitutional
laws (lois organiques), and
on strengthening non-legal protection in the field of human rights
Taking into account the interest of the Moroccan authorities
in joining some Council of Europe conventions, as was called for
by the Assembly in Resolution
, activities are planned to create the appropriate conditions
97. The NCP Morocco also cover activities which address threats
to the rule of law such as corruption, money laundering, cybercrime,
and trafficking in human beings.
98. In the field of democracy, priority areas are strengthening
of democratic governance, including at local and regional level,
and providing electoral assistance. Furthermore, special attention
is paid to creating elements of a sustainable democratic society,
notably through the training of young people in human rights and democratic
99. The Assembly is also contributing to the activities in this
field, in particular, by organising seminars and training for members
and support staff of the Moroccan Parliament (see chapter on parliamentary
100. The activities foreseen in the NCP Morocco are mainly financed
by the European Union under the joint Council of Europe-European
Union programme “Strengthening democratic reform in the southern Neighbourhood”
which covers three years (2012-2014) and has a budget of 4.8 million
euros. In addition, a regional programme on prevention of violence
against women and children, focusing on Morocco and Tunisia, has
been financed through a 500 000 euro voluntary contribution by Norway.
101. Several concrete actions foreseen in the framework of the
NCP Morocco are now in the process of implementation. As regards
the rule of law, the Council of Europe’s European Commission for
the Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ) produced an evaluation report
on the Moroccan judicial system, and presented its proposals to
the Moroccan authorities, which expressed interest in obtaining
observer status with this expert body.
102. As regards the fight against corruption, Council of Europe
experts are conducting an assessment of the existing Moroccan legislative
and institutional framework, and provide legal analysis and advice
in drafting a law on a future national instance of probity, prevention
and struggle against corruption, which is to be established in accordance
with the new constitution.
103. A regional programme on the prevention of violence against
women and children started with a high-level conference in Rabat
in September 2012; specific assistance to Morocco is now being studied.
104. In the area of gender equality, Council of Europe experts
provide assistance in drafting legislation on establishing the Authority
for parity and the fight against all forms of discrimination and
the Consultative Council of the Family and Childhood, both foreseen
under the new constitution.
105. The Council of Europe also contributes to the strengthening
of civil society and the promotion of democratic values. A Citizen
School of Political Studies was launched in Rabat in March 2013;
it joins the Council of Europe network of schools of political studies
and will participate in various activities, such as the World Forum
for Democracy to be held in Strasbourg in November 2013. In addition,
several activities aimed at promoting the democratic participation
of young people have already been organised in Morocco, also covering
the regional dimension.
106. In order to facilitate the implementation of the activities
foreseen in the NCP Morocco, the Council of Europe established a
presence in Rabat which has been in operation since June 2012. It
has been instrumental in the initial phase of the co-operation,
and is set to become even more important as co-operation intensifies. However,
this presence is yet to be given an appropriate formal status in
the form of an agreement with the Moroccan authorities. I hope that
such an agreement can be concluded in the near future, so as to
contribute to the implementation of the whole range of activities
foreseen in the NCP Morocco.
107. I also wish to stress that the democratic transformation is
a process to be seen in a long-term perspective. A three-year co-operation
programme with Morocco should be considered as the first stage,
which needs to be continued and expanded, provided that it brings
about expected results.
8 Parliamentary dialogue
Representatives of the Parliament of Morocco have
been regularly invited to attend the Assembly sessions since the
adoption of Resolution
on strengthening co-operation with the Maghreb countries,
and took part in the meetings of the Political Affairs Committee
during the examination of the report on the Moroccan Parliament’s
request for partner for democracy status in 2010 and 2011.
109. Since the status was granted, members of the newly appointed
partner for democracy delegation have been fully involved in the
activities of the Assembly and its committees. They regularly speak
in the Assembly Chamber and are constantly present at our committee
meetings, both in Strasbourg and in Paris, as well as at external
meetings (for example in Helsinki in September 2012 and in Turin
in December 2012). In Turin, the Moroccan delegation was headed
by the Speaker of the Chamber of Representatives.
110. Our Moroccan partners also took part in the meetings of the
Sub-Committee on External Relations in New York (December 2012)
and of the Sub-Committee on the Middle East in Jordan (April 2013).
As far as the latter meeting is concerned, the two members of the
Moroccan delegation were unfortunately prevented from entering Palestine.
A hearing on Women in the Arab Spring was jointly organised
by the Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy and the Committee
on Equality and Non-Discrimination on 24 April 2012 and participants
included the Moroccan Minister of Solidarity, Family, Women and
Social Development, Ms Bassima Hakkaoui. On the same day, the Assembly
“Equality between women and men: a condition for the
success of the Arab Spring”, on the basis of a report presented
by the Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination (Rapporteur:
Ms Fatiha Saïdi) which covers also the situation and role of women
112. Our committee also held two hearings on the theme “Parliamentary
contribution to solving the Western Sahara conflict”, one in Paris
on 14 November 2012 and one in Rabat on 14 March 2013, in the context
of the preparation of a report on this topic by Ms Liliane Maury
113. In addition to the above mentioned meeting of the Committee
on Political Affairs and Democracy in Morocco, the Committee on
Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons also held a meeting in
Rabat in April 2013.
114. The Moroccan representatives have also participated in conferences
and other events organised by the Assembly. For example, the Speakers
of both Chambers of the Parliament attended the European Conference of
Presidents of Parliament on “Is representative democracy in crisis?
Challenges for national parliaments” (Strasbourg, September 2012).
115. Moreover, in the framework of the joint Council of Europe–European
Union programme on strengthening democratic reforms in the countries
of the southern neighbourhood, the Assembly prepared a number of activities
on some specific themes destined for the members and staff of the
Parliament of Morocco.
116. In November 2012, the Assembly organised in Rabat, in co-operation
with the Venice Commission, a seminar on parliamentary control over
the activities of the government. Members of the Assembly shared
with Moroccan colleagues their experience in controlling the government
through oral and written questions and through procedural means
and commissions of inquiry.
117. Another parliamentary seminar on the practice of people’s
legislative initiatives was organised in Rabat in May 2013. I must,
however, express my disappointment at the low number of Moroccan
participants at this event.
118. Further parliamentary seminars on combating violence against
women and on the rights of parliamentary opposition are planned
in 2013 and 2014, and I hope that these activities will receive
due attention and involve the active participation of Moroccan parliamentarians.
119. In December 2012, a group of members of the staff of the parliament
participated in a study seminar in Strasbourg on the Assembly and
on the activities of various bodies and instruments of the Council
of Europe, including the European Court of Human Rights and the
Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights. A new seminar for
the staff is foreseen in June 2013.
120. In turn, representatives of the Assembly have been invited
to several events organised by the Moroccan Parliament.
121. I can but welcome the active involvement of the Moroccan partners
in the parliamentary activities within our Assembly and I encourage
them to further strengthen this relationship.
122. When agreeing to grant partner for democracy status
to the Parliament of Morocco, the Assembly stressed that progress
in taking forward reforms was the primary aim of the partnership
and should constitute the benchmark for assessing its efficiency.
123. Against this background, we can observe that the reform process
in Morocco has made a promising start with the adoption of the new
constitution, the holding of early parliamentary elections and the
formation of a government based on the results of those elections.
124. The role of democratic institutions, including the parliament
and political parties, has increased; the political process has
become livelier, thus offering the Moroccans more opportunities
to democratically express their will.
125. However, the democratic potential of the new constitution
has yet to be implemented through the adoption of necessary legislation
and the establishment of structures foreseen by the constitution.
At the same time, the Council of Europe and the Government
of Morocco have drawn up an important co-operation programme, intended
to make a tangible contribution to the reform process and to give
our partnership practical meaning. This programme aims to address
some important issues raised in Resolution 1818
127. We can therefore conclude that the partnership has created
new dynamics in the co-operation between the Council of Europe and
Morocco, and thus contributed to achieving its primary aim.
128. The members of the Moroccan partner for democracy delegation
have actively participated in the work of the Assembly and of its
committees, and have become more integrated in the European parliamentary dialogue.
By and large, the members of the Moroccan partner for democracy
delegation have acted in the spirit of the political commitments
entered into under the partnership. They are encouraged to step
up their efforts in order to speed up the implementation of the
process of reform, and to address remaining concerns with regard to
the rule of law and respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms,
including in the areas mentioned in paragraph 8 of Resolution
130. The Assembly should continue to review the implementation
of political reforms in Morocco and to assess the efficiency of
its partnership with, and to offer its assistance to the Moroccan