Strasbourg, 14.03.2013 – Leading members of Morocco’s parliament and government yesterday briefed PACE’s Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy, meeting in Rabat, on the progress that has been made in strengthening human rights, democracy and the rule of law in the country since the Moroccan Parliament became PACE’s first ever “Partner for democracy” nearly two years ago.
There were exchanges of view with the President of Morocco’s House of Representatives Karim Ghellab, the President of the Chamber of Councillors Mohamed Cheikh Biadillah, Deputy Foreign Minister Youssef El Amrani, Deputy Interior Minister Cherki Draiss, representatives from Morocco’s Justice Ministry, and representatives of the intergovernmental sector of the Council of Europe.
Remaining areas of concern, and future plans for addressing these, were also discussed, as well as ways of making existing co-operation between Morocco and the Council of Europe more effective. A separate hearing on the parliamentary contribution to solving the conflict in Western Sahara was also organised by Morocco’s “Partner for democracy” parliamentary delegation.
The hearings are part of an evaluation of the Moroccan Parliament’s progress in fulfilling its pledge to work towards Council of Europe values – including the holding of free and fair elections, abolition of the death penalty and greater participation of women in political life – made when it became the Assembly’s first ever “Partner for democracy” in June 2011. Progress on these commitments – and other issues listed by the Assembly – is evaluated every two years, and is due to be debated in Strasbourg in June.
The committee also unanimously adopted a report on “Violence against religious communities” prepared by Luca Volontè (Italy, EPP/CD).