King Mohammed VI: On Human Rights, “Africa Wants to be Heard”
Second Annual World Human Rights Forum Concludes in Marrakech
Washington, DC (December 2, 2014) — From November 27 through 30, Marrakech, Morocco hosted the second annual World Human Rights Forum. More than 7,000 people from nearly 100 countries met to assess progress and challenges in the human rights arena in four days of workshops, panel discussions, and other activities. In his address to the Forum, delivered by Justice Minister Mustafa Ramid, King Mohammed VI made the case for Africa’s participation in a new era of human rights challenges.
“Whereas ‘first and second’ generation human rights still enjoy a prominent position,” he said, “It must be acknowledged that new areas of interest have emerged, such as the protection of the rights of the elderly, human rights in the digital age, human rights and the corporate sector, the legal empowerment of the poor and the enforceability of economic and social rights.”
The King called for meaningful participation by African nations in forging universal human rights. “Universal values are common to us all,” he said. “But the pathways we take are not. This is the motto of a responsible Africa which is fully committed to human rights; a continent that can no longer remain the eternal subject for human rights debates. Africa wants to be heard; it wants to make a contribution to devising standards that are truly universal. Our continent does not want to be kept on the sidelines when it comes to human rights, which concern Africa too.”
The King noted Morocco’s own progress on human rights and cited recent initiatives in his country to protect migrants, counter violence against women, and protect children, among others. “Morocco, which has been proceeding confidently and serenely along the never-ending road of human rights, can, after 15 years, present quite a decent record covering such vital areas as transitional justice, women’s rights, human development, the rehabilitation of the Amazigh culture as a key component of the Moroccan identity, the consolidation of national human rights institutions and the governance of the religious domain on the basis of the tolerant principles and teachings of Islam.”
In a visit to Morocco earlier this year, then-UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay noted, “…Morocco has clearly made great strides towards the better promotion and protection of human rights…. Morocco is undergoing an important transition and is setting high standards through its Constitution and laws. In my exchanges with the authorities, including His Majesty King Mohamed VI and various ministers, it was clear that there is the political will at the highest levels to continue efforts to set a firm human rights foundation for Moroccan society.”
Contact: Jordana Merran, 301.873.4484
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