This study is the second paper ARI publishes as part of our ambitious "Future of Human Rights Action in North Africa".
In this paper, Mohamed Kadiri, tackles the evolution of the human rights movement in Morocco through studying the context and conditions under which human rights actors appeared and the influences that shaped their development, current challenges and could dictate their future prospects.
The paper reviews the increasing specialization and professionalization of human rights action, starting with advocacy for political rights, which represented a reaction to grave violations in the first decades after independence until the beginning of the 1990s. It then addresses the expansion of the movement to include advocacy for economic and social rights with the emergence of service-oriented associations, and the consequent interest in cultural and personal rights with the perseverance of women and Amazigh organizations.
The protest movements of the Arab Spring in the region in 2010 and 2011, reverberated in Morocco with massive protests on 20 February 2011, overlapped with the human rights movement and expressed many of its demands.
The paper explores the Moroccan state's strategy in dealing with the human rights movement and addresses the current challenges faced by the movement in terms of its political and legal environment, governance, relationships with the political and civil society and its impact. It also outlines the contentious relationship between human rights organizations on the one hand and the state, political parties and the remainder of civil society on the other hand for documentation of violations, publicizing them and advocating for alternative policies to enhance human rights.
Photo: Moroccan protesters carry pro-reform placards, with the one in centre reading in Arabic “Bread, freedom, human dignity”, during a protest in Casablanca, Morocco, March 2011 – © EPA.