Morocco Celebrates 15 Years Under King Mohammed VI’s Leadership
* Record of peaceful reforms and progress has made Morocco a leader in the region and elsewhere *
Washington, DC (July 29, 2014) — On July 30th Moroccans celebrate the 15th anniversary of the reign of King Mohammed VI. Since ascending the throne in 1999, the King has consolidated and accelerated a broad range of democratic, social, and economic reforms begun by his father, King Hassan II, to improve the lives of individual citizens and empower the institutions that represent them. King Mohammed has also strengthened Morocco’s longstanding alliance with the US, and deepened Morocco’s ties in Africa and the Middle East to promote security, stability, economic development, and religious tolerance in the region.
In 2004, King Mohammed pushed for reform of Morocco’s family code (Moudawana), now one of the most progressive in the Arab World, to grant women equal rights in marriage and divorce. He called for establishing Morocco’s Truth & Reconciliation Commission, the first in the Arab World, to investigate past human rights abuses and compensate victims.
In 2006, King Mohammed oversaw creation of the National Initiative for Human Development (INDH), which has reduced poverty in rural areas, increased access to education, electricity, health care and potable water, and created sustainable economic development producing jobs and growth to support communities.
When other countries in the region were confronted by the Arab Spring and its backlash, King Mohammed was pursuing initiatives to continue advancing political, social and economic reforms in Morocco. In 2011, he proposed new reforms to the Constitution, which were subsequently adopted by national referendum. The aim was to consolidate democracy, devolve power to local governments, broaden individual freedoms, and strengthen human rights and the rule of law. The 2011 Constitution enshrined key changes in the political system, strengthening separation of powers and bringing all stakeholders into the political process. It also established Morocco’s independent National Human Rights Council (CNDH), which has broad powers to investigate human rights issues and recommend new laws, such as the 2013 policy improving migrant protections and 2014 military justice reform, recently approved by the Moroccan Parliament’s Chamber of Representatives, that excludes civilians from military trial.
Morocco’s commitment to democratic progress and peaceful change has extended beyond its borders. Under the leadership of the King, who has actively reached out to neighboring countries and leaders to strengthen relations, Morocco has signed cooperation agreements with nations across North and sub-Saharan Africa advancing economic development, security, and religious moderation. In 2013, Morocco launched a program to train imams to curb religious extremism, which began with Mali and now extends to Libya, Tunisia, Côte d’Ivoire, Gabon, Guinea, the Maldives, and Nigeria.
Morocco has also deepened its partnerships with the US and Europe, along with Africa and the MENA region. In addition to being a major non-NATO ally, a Millennium Challenge Corporation compact recipient, and a US Strategic Dialogue partner, Morocco has advanced status with the European Union, and multiple free trade agreements with the US, EU, and several MENA countries.
“King Mohammed VI has made an irreversible commitment to a path of reform, democracy and liberalization,” said former US Ambassador to Morocco Edward M. Gabriel. “At their White House summit last year, President Obama offered praise for the progress Morocco has made and for the King’s vision of the future. It is a vision both leaders share, and one that is in the interest of both countries.”
* For more details, go to: “Morocco under King Mohammed VI—15 Years of Leadership in Promoting Reform”
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