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MAP - publié le Vendredi 20 Mai à 16:00

Peter Pham Castigates 'Omissions' in Report by US Department of State

Washington - The latest report by the US Department of State on the human rights situation in Morocco includes damning omissions and a Freudian slip, and the fact that the writers of the report couldn't get basic facts right raises significant questions about either their competence or their good faith, if not both, said on Thursday Peter Pham, director of Africa Center of the Atlantic Council.

"Somehow, the diplomats responsible for the Morocco report didn't think it was worth noting that on July 1, 2015, a law passed by the Moroccan parliament and promulgated by the king took effect that banned the trial or referral of civilians to military tribunals," said the American expert in an article published on the Atlantic Council's website and entitled "America's Friend in North Africa Deserves Better".

This is was a reform long sought by human rights campaigners in the country and endorsed, since 2013, by Morocco's National Council on Human Rights (CNDH), he said, adding that, instead of highlighting this advance, which drew praise from the International Commission of Jurists at the 28th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in January of last year, the authors of the State Department report concerned themselves with bemoaning constitutional provisions. The articles recalled the summoning of US ambassador in Rabat Dwight L. Bush by deputy foreign minister Nasser Bourita, in the presence of Mohamed Yassine Mansouri, head of Morocco's intelligence agency (DGED), noting that this is a rare rebuke from the North African kingdom that was the first sovereign country to recognize the independence of the United States, has had the longest unbroken treaty relationship with Washington, and is one of only three African states to be designated a "major non-NATO ally" of the United States.

Pham also pointed out that "a closer examination of the report on Morocco shows just how much effort its writers put into it. It is rather telling that, of the 355 words in the executive summary for 2015, 272 are cut and pasted directly from the report drawn up for 2014—and 231 of the latter were lifted verbatim from the report for 2013. So much for providing the speaker of the House of Representatives and the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations with an up-to-date".

All this may seem like “technicalities” or “inside baseball” on the part of analysts from the much-maligned “foreign-policy establishment,” but it has real-world implications, it said.

The US expert underlined that amid the upheaval that swept across the Arab world beginning in 2011, Morocco has stood out as an exception. "Not only has the kingdom avoided the extremes of revolutionary tumult and violent repression, but while their neighbors were still struggling to come to terms with the Arab Spring, Moroccans accelerated a process of political and social renewal already underway, ratifying a new constitution and holding elections that resulted in a coalition government," he said. "While authorities have responded swiftly and decisively to the few terrorist attacks that the country has suffered, the Moroccan government has emphasized a broader campaign of countering extremist influences at their roots, not only in their country, but also sharing their experience and intelligence with other countries, including in Europen the process, making Morocco an anchor for security and development in North Africa, " he stressed. Africa is more important than ever to the security and prosperity of the international community, and to the United States in particular, "Morocco plays a unique role as a gateway to business on the continent," he said, noting that these geopolitical and economic considerations don’t mean that the country gets a pass, but it deserves to have its friends confront it with the truth, not slapdash and spurious accusations. 

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