Moroccan civil society fully engaged for UPR follow-up
From 29 June to 2 July 2017, UPR Info co-organised a UPR strategy workshop with the national civil society coalition, "UPR Group Morocco" [Groupe EPU Maroc]. The workshop, held in the region of Khémisset, brought together some 50 NGOs to discuss the national UPR process, and how civil society could meaningfully contribute to the realisation of recommendations.
The event was honoured by the participation of Ms. Sibylle Obrist, Counsellor at the Embassy of Switzerland to Morocco, who delivered the keynote address at the opening ceremony. Ms. Obrist highlighted the partnership between Switzerland and Morroco in supporting the advancement of human rights and the strengthening of international mechanisms, in particular the UPR. She further praised the crucial role of civil society in the full realisation of the UPR, noting their key contributions to supporting implementation of recommendations. Referring to the Swiss national context, Ms. Obrist also shared insights from the national consultation with domestic NGOs in Switzerland, organised ahead of the country's own review, which is scheduled for November 2017. Ms. Obrist concluded her opening remarks by praising the commitment of Moroccan civil society to making the country's third UPR a success. Indeed, Switzerland is a key partner of UPR Info's activities in Morocco to support national partners, with a view towards a longer-term cooperation amongst all stakeholders throughout the UPR cycle.
After the initial opening of the event, UPR Info provided participants with a recap on the modalitiles of the UPR as well as the particulars of Morocco's third review. Following this contextualisation, the subsequent days were broken into two phases of workshop. The first workshop focused on the elaboration of CSO-suggested implementaiton plans, where the civil society participants worked in thematic groups to identify efforts they would like the Government to undertake to fully realise the relevant recommendations. The five thematic groups focused on the following issues: civil and political rights; economic, social and cultural rights; women's rights; the rights of the child; the rights of persons in vulnerable situations. The latter group was further broken down into three sub-groups, which examined three distinct groups of rights holders, namely: persons living with disabilities; reufugees and asylum seekers; and lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex, queer and others (LGBTIQ+). During this discussion, each groups also identified the indicators they could use to measure the level of implementation of the recommendations such as: decrease in school drop-out rate; increase in budget allocation for human rights under the financial law, etc.
The second phase of the workshop saw the same groups shift their attention to the elaboration of CSO action stratgies. This discussion focussed around the different activities civil society could undertake to support the Government in the implementation of recommendations. It also involved a discussion of the different partners that could further contribute to the realisation of the recommendations such as the national human rights institution, journalists, embassies of the Recommending States, etc.
The workshop concluded with the adoption of an Outcome Charter, agreed upon by all participants, which outlined their specific commitments to fully engage throughout the third UPR cycle of Morocco. These commitments included sensitising the public on the UPR by disseminating the recommandations; conducting research on thematic areas of the recommendations; and engaging with Government ministries and other relevant autorities to discuss the recommendations in detail.
Morocco's UPR report will be adopted at the 36th Session of the UN Human Rights Council in September 2017, at which time it will give its position on the 244 recommendations it received. UPR Info endeavours to continue its engagement with Morocco after the adoption, working with both the State and civil society organisations to support their efforts in the implementation of recommedations.