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Request for partner for democracy status with the Parliamentary Assembly submitted by the Parliament of Morocco

Provisional version

May 2011

 

Request for partner for democracy status with the Parliamentary Assembly submitted by the Parliament of Morocco

 

 

Report[1]

Political Affairs Committee

Rapporteur: Mr Luca VOLONTÈ, Italy, Group of the European People’s Party

 

 

 

 

A.         Draft resolution[2]

 

1.         In adopting Resolution 1680 (2009) on the Establishment of a “partner for democracy” status with the Parliamentary Assembly, the Assembly resolved to establish a new status for institutional co-operation with parliaments of non-member states in neighbouring regions wishing to benefit from the Assembly’s experience in democracy building and to participate in the political debate on common challenges which transcend European boundaries. A new Rule 60, setting forth the conditions and modalities for granting such a status, including formal political commitments that the Parliament concerned must undertake, became operational as from January 2010.

 

2.         Less than two months later, on 22 February 2010, the Speakers of the two Chambers of the Parliament of Morocco addressed to the President of the Assembly an official request for Partner for Democracy status. The Parliament of Morocco thus became the first parliament to make such a request.

 

3.         The Assembly takes note that, in their letter of 22 February 2010, the Speakers of the two Chambers of the Parliament of Morocco, in line with the requirements set out by Rule 60.2, reaffirmed that “the Parliament [they] represent shares the same values as the Council of Europe, namely pluralist and gender parity-based democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms”, and committed themselves to:

 

            3.1.       “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 the death    penalty and [to continuing] to encourage the authorities concerned to maintain the de facto moratorium   that has been established on executions of 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”;

 

            3.2.       “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 elections”;

 

            3.3.       “encouraging the equal participation of women and men in public life and politics”;

 

            3.4.       “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, bearing in mind that Morocco is - in addition    to its participation in the Venice Commission - already a member of the North-South Centre and of the      Co-Operation Group on the Prevention of, Protection against, and Organisation of Relief in Major            Natural and Technological Disasters and also a Contracting Party to the Convention on the   Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats”.

 

            3.5.       “inform[ing] the Assembly regularly on progress made in implementing Council of Europe    principles in [their] country.”

 

4.         The Assembly therefore considers that the request by the Parliament of Morocco meets the formal criteria set forth in its Rules of Procedure.

 

5.         Furthermore, the Assembly acknowledges that the Parliament, political forces, state and public officials and civil society of Morocco broadly share the objectives of the partnership for democracy, which aims at strengthening democracy, the rule of law and the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in the country.

 

6.         At a time when the people in a number of Arab and Mediterranean countries have clearly expressed the wish to acquire fundamental political and social rights, the Assembly deems it important that Morocco, with its well-established political institutions and traditions of political pluralism, continues on the path of democratic transformation.

 

7.         The Assembly welcomes Morocco’s commitment to deep constitutional, institutional, political and legal reforms, and encourages the state authorities to  make full use of the Council of Europe expertise and draw inspiration from Council of Europe standards in carrying out such reforms. It considers that the Partner for Democracy status provides an appropriate framework for a stronger involvement of the Parliament of Morocco in the process of reforms.

 

8.         Against this background, the Assembly considers that the following specific issues are of key importance for strengthening democracy, the rule of law and the respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms in Morocco:

 

            8.1.       holding free and fair elections;

 

            8.2.       enhancing public interest in, and awareness of, the democratic process, as well as ensuring a           higher level of participation in elections;

 

            8.3.       strengthening public monitoring of elections by independent observers, including strengthening         the capacities of domestic observer networks;

 

            8.4.       involving and consulting civil society organisations in legislative and other decision-making   processes;

 

            8.5.       ensuring equal opportunities for women and men in political and public life;

 

            8.6.       strengthening local and regional democracy;

           

            8.7.       abolishing the death penalty from the Penal Code building on the de facto moratorium on     executions that has been established since 1993;

 

            8.8.       fighting corruption;

 

            8.9.       implementing justice reform with a view to ensuring the independence and impartiality of the           judiciary;

 

            8.10.     adhering to and effectively implementing relevant international instruments in the field of human      rights, including full cooperation with United Nations’ special mechanisms and implementation of the            UN Universal Periodic Review (UPR) recommendations;

 

            8.11.     providing better training of judges, prison staff and law-enforcement agents as regards respect        of international human rights standards;

 

            8.12.     preventing torture and inhuman or degrading treatment of persons deprived of their liberty;            fighting impunity for crimes of torture and ill-treatment;

 

            8.13.     improving conditions of detention, in line with the United Nations prison-related standards and          norms;

 

            8.14.     fully implementing the recommendations of the Instance Equité et Reconciliation (IER);

 

            8.15.     fighting racism, xenophobia and all forms of discrimination;

 

            8.16.     ensuring full respect for freedom of conscience, of religion and belief, including the right to change one’s religion;

 

            8.17.     promoting freedom of expression and media independence and plurality; removing censorship;        introducing a new Code of the Press that effectively guarantees press freedom;

 

            8.18.     promoting freedom of association and of peaceful assembly; ensuring strict implementation of         the law on associations;

 

8.19.       fighting all forms of discrimination (in law and in practice) against women; ensuring effective legal equality between women and men including as regards inter-religious marriages; fighting all forms of gender-based violence; promoting equal opportunities between women and men;

 

            8.20      fully implementing and further improving the Family Code.

 

9.         Furthermore, the Assembly expects that Morocco will continue to seek the settlement of international disputes by peaceful means in accordance with the United Nations Charter. In this context, it particularly calls on the Parliament of Morocco to enhance its contribution to solving the Western Sahara problem in accordance with the relevant resolutions of the United Nations Security Council.

 

10.        Noting that the Parliament of Morocco has reiterated its determination to work to ensure full implementation of the political commitments contained in Rule 60.2. and entered into by the joint letter of the Speakers of its two Chambers on 22 February 2010, the Assembly resolves:

 

            10.1.     to grant Partner for Democracy status to the Parliament of Morocco as from the moment of the        adoption of the present resolution;

 

            10.2.     to invite the Parliament of Morocco to appoint a Partner for Democracy delegation consisting of        six Representatives and six Substitutes to be composed in accordance with Rule 60.4.

 

11.        The Assembly believes 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.

 

12.        It accordingly resolves to review, no later than two years from the adoption of this Resolution, the state of progress achieved in implementing the political commitments taken by the Moroccan Parliament, as well as the reforms in areas mentioned in paragraph 8 above.

 

13.        The Assembly stresses the importance of free and fair elections as a cornerstone of a genuine democracy. It therefore expects to be invited to observe parliamentary elections in Morocco as from  2012.

 

14.        The Assembly is confident that granting Partner for Democracy status to the Parliament of Morocco will contribute to intensifying co-operation between this country and the Council of Europe and promoting Morocco’s accession to Council of Europe conventions. It therefore encourages the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, in coordination as appropriate 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 reform.

 



[1] Reference to Committee: Reference 3750 of 11 mars 2011.

[2] Draft resolution unanimously adopted by the Committee on 31 May 2011.