Morocco: National Human Rights Council designated as National Mechanism for the Prevention of torture
The APT welcomes the adoption by the Moroccan Parliament of the new law on the National Human Rights Council (NCHR), which gives it the mandate of National Preventive Mechanism (NPM). More than three years after Morocco’s ratification of the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention against Torture (OPCAT), this is an essential step towards the establishment of a regular system of visits to all places of deprivation of liberty.
The law, adopted unanimously by both chambers of the Moroccan parliament on 6 and 13 February, came into force on 1 March 2018. It also gives the NCHR the prerogatives relating to complaint mechanisms for violations of children’s rights as well as those relating to the implementation of the international Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
The adoption of the law must now be followed by the selection of NCHR’s new members, from which the members of the NPM will be chosen.
Since 2016, the NCHR had started a programme of cooperation with the APT and the Council of Europe aimed at supporting and strengthening the capacities of the future NPM through training on the mandate and functioning of the NPM. The NCHR and the APT had also conducted awareness-raising and information sessions on the role of the NPM and the prevention of torture in general among prison staff and other authorities who will be subjected to visits and recommendations by the NPM.
During its first visit to Morocco from 22 to 28 October 2017, the UN Subcommittee on the Prevention of Torture (SPT) emphasized that "The national preventive mechanism must have unconditional access to all places where people are or may be deprived of their liberty."
The next steps for the CNDH are the drafting of the rules of procedure, which will define the structure of the NPM, the mode and criteria for the selection of its members, as well as the working arrangements of the NPM at the national and regional level. Once the members are appointed and the structure is defined, the NPM will be able to start its field visit work and thereby contribute to reducing the risks of ill-treatment and improving the protection of persons deprived of their liberty.
Morocco started the process of ratification of the OPCAT on 1 November 2012 and deposited the instruments of ratification on 24 November 2014, becoming the 76th State Party to the OPCAT. For more information on Morocco’s implementation of the OPCAT, please access our OPCAT Database.