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TITLE:  MOROCCO HUMAN RIGHTS PRACTICES, 1993                            
DATE:  JANUARY 31, 1994


The Constitution of Morocco provides for a constitutional 
monarchy with a pluralistic political system, a representative 
Parliament, and an independent judiciary.  Recent changes to 
the Constitution ostensibly increase the power of the Prime 
Minister and Parliament relative to the Crown.  In practice, 
however, ultimate authority rests with the King, who retains 
the discretion both to dismiss ministers and to dissolve 
Parliament in order to rule by decree.  Two-stage parliamentary 
elections in 1993 produced gains for opposition parties in the 
first stage which were reversed, amid credible reports of 
government manipulation, in the second stage.

The security apparatus comprises several overlapping police and 
paramilitary organizations whose activities are coordinated by 
the national government.  The Direction de la Surveillance du 
Territoire (DST), Surete Nationale, and judicial police are 
under the Ministry of Interior, while the Gendarmerie Royale 
reports directly to the Palace.  Security forces continued to 
commit human rights abuses, including torture.  Evidence was 
released, in the notorious "Tabit affair," showing that senior 
Surete Nationale officers had systematically abused hundreds of 
women over several years.  (Several officials were tried and 
convicted, while Tabit himself was executed--see Section 1.c.).

Morocco has a mixed economy based largely on agriculture, 
fishing, light industry, phosphate mining, tourism, and 
remittances from Moroccans working abroad.  An illegal drug 
trade also is a significant factor.  Since the early 1980's, 
Morocco has pursued an economic reform program that has 
contributed to generally strong economic growth and low 
inflation, although these developments have been set back by a 
drought now in its second year.  The Government recently 
launched a program of privatizing state-owned enterprises.

The Government of Morocco took several steps in 1993 to address 
human rights concerns, including establishing a Deputy Minister 
for Human Rights, ratifying several international conventions 
on human rights, and amending laws on polygamy, divorce, and 
spousal support to mandate more favorable treatment of women.  
The Royal Consultative Council on Human Rights (CCDH) formed 
working groups to investigate various areas of human rights 
concerns, opened dialogs with domestic human rights groups, and 
recommended to the King that government ministries become more 
responsive to inquiries about possible human rights abuses.  
Closer scrutiny, however, reveals many of these steps to be 
cosmetic.  Credible reports of routine abuse of prisoners 
continued unabated, and at least three deaths in custody can 
reasonably be attributed to torture.  Freedom of speech and 
press continued to be restricted, especially in cases perceived 
to affect the security of the State.  Other principal problems 
included limitations on the right of citizens to change their 
government, arbitrary arrest and detention, a weak and 
malleable judiciary, and restrictions on the freedoms of 
travel, assembly and association, and religion, and additional 
constraints on women's rights.  


Section 1  Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including  
           Freedom from:

     a.  Political and Other Extrajudicial Killing

Credible reports document that at least three persons died in 
police custody in 1993 due to Moroccan security force 
brutality.  The most publicized police brutality case involved 
the death on May 16 of Mustapha Hamzaoui in the jail at 
Khenifra.  Hamzaoui, a former law student and activist with the 
left-wing Moroccan Association of Unemployed Graduates, was 
arrested on May 15 on suspicion of verbally assaulting four 
young women.   According to Khenifra authorities, he was 
interrogated twice while in custody and then committed suicide 
by hanging.  Alleging that the body bore evidence of multiple 
cigarette burns and mutilated genitalia, Hamzaoui's family 
refused to accept his remains without the performance of an 
autopsy.  Although the Ministry of Justice sent a physician to 
examine the body, no autopsy report was made public.  Khenifra 
authorities subsequently released a statement confirming the 
finding of suicide and impugning Hamzaoui's character.  Despite 
appeals and a legal motion filed by the OMDH, no further 
government investigation or response has been made.  Hamzaoui's 
family is reportedly under government pressure to drop the 

In another case, Abdellah Bentawet died while in detention in a 
Tangier jail.  He was arrested on June 1 after being involved 
in an altercation.  Members of his family allege that, while 
they were visiting the detainee, a security agent began to beat 
him and demanded payment of approximately $16 for his release, 
which the family refused to make.  On the following day, 
Bentawet's family was informed that he had committed suicide.  
Moroccan authorities have not responded to repeated requests by 
human rights organizations for an investigation. 

In a third case, Mounir Azzag, a 22 year-old Tangier resident 
was arrested on October 9 after an argument with police about a 
parking infraction.  On October 11, his family was notified 
that he had committed suicide while in custody.  Called to the 
morgue, his family reported that the body bore a large facial 
cut and that the authorities refused to allow them to view the 
entire body.  An autopsy ordered by local authorities found no 
indications of violence yet concluded that death was caused by 

The police involved in the Hamzaoui, Bentawet, and Azzag deaths 
were all employed by the Ministry of the Interior.  No 
disciplinary actions have been instituted against them.  

     b.  Disappearance

There were no reported permanent disappearances in 1993. 
Temporary "disappearances" continued to result from the 
practice of holding persons in pretrial incommunicado 
detention, without notifying families or attorneys, for longer 
than the legal limit of 48 hours.

In May the Moroccan Human Rights Organization (OMDH) published 
a list of 24 persons who disappeared between 1973 and 1987, 
most after arrest or conviction on charges related to political 
activity.  OMDH's requests to the Ministries of Justice and 
Interior for information regarding the welfare and whereabouts 
of these persons have gone unanswered.  Other human rights 
organizations have published much higher estimates of the 
number of persons who have permanently disappeared after last 
being seen in the custody of Moroccan security forces.  The 
Government has never acknowledged any such cases, including the 
300 Sahrawis (native Saharans) released without comment in 1991 
after detention for up to 15 years.  As one of many examples, 
repeated appeals to Moroccan authorities for information 
regarding the fate of Abdelhaq Rouissi, a trade unionist who 
disappeared after his arrest 29 years ago, have been met either 
with silence or summary dismissal.  

     c.  Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading 
         Treatment or Punishment

Although the Government ratified the Convention Against Torture 
in June, credible reports persist of security force involvement 
in physical abuse, including torture and degrading treatment, 
of detainees.  Disinterested former prisoners reported that 
detainees suspected of politically motivated crimes were more 
likely than other detainees to be subjected to physical abuse.  
Harsh treatment reportedly continued after conviction, with 
guards subjecting prisoners to random violence and deliberately 
depriving them of family visits, sleep, baths, blankets, 
medical care, food, and access to study materials.  There were 
no reports that torturers were held accountable for their 
actions in 1993.  Moreover, although they have the power to do 
so, prosecutors appear reluctant to order medical examination 
in cases where torture is alleged.

The arrest and conviction in 1993 of a senior Surete Nationale 
official revealed a disturbing record of systematic rape and 
assault of women.  One official, Mohammed Tabit, was found 
guilty on hundreds of charges of rape and assault perpetrated 
over a period of several years during which he served in 
various posts within the Surete Nationale, including as 
Commissioner of a Casablanca precinct.  Under pretense of 
police business, Tabit typically would lure his victims to a 
Casablanca apartment where he would assault them while 
videotaping his activities.  He was assisted in his crimes by 
several Surete Nationale officials.  Tabit himself was 
executed.  In addition to those who were convicted in 
connection with the affair, several high ranking government 
officials were removed without comment.  The press held those 
personnel changes to be indicative of widespread knowledge 
within the Government of Tabit's activities throughout his 

Prison conditions in Morocco are harsh.  At least 15 persons 
died in prisons in 1993 due either to illnesses contracted as a 
result of unhealthy prison conditions or lack of medical care 
for preexisting illnesses.  Inmate hunger strikes to protest 
prison conditions, especially by Islamist inmates (i.e., 
prisoners whose crimes were motivated by pursuit of the 
doctrines of political Islam), have become commonplace.

Three prisoners died in a 2-week period in a single prison in 
Casablanca, each within days of beginning a short sentence for 
a minor crime.  There is no evidence to establish overt 
security force involvement in these deaths, which appeared to 
result from a lack of basic medical care, sanitation, and 
nutrition.  Acknowledging the substandard conditions in 
Moroccan prisons, CCDH has established a working group to 
recommend improvements.  However, the Government, citing 
economic constraints, continued in 1993 to decline to invest 
significant resources to improve penal living conditions.

Earlier reports of the closing and destruction of the Tazmamart 
detention facility, notorious for its harsh treatment of 
prisoners, have not been verified.  After years of denials, 
King Hassan acknowledged for the first time in a May interview 
that the facility had existed.  However, the Government refused 
to comment on past or present activities at the Tazmamart site 
or to provide an accounting of the prisoners who were confined 
there, many of whom apparently died there.  The few surviving 
prisoners who were released from Tazmamart have indicated that 
their continued liberty is conditioned upon their silence 
regarding the circumstances of their imprisonment.  There is no 
indication that the Government is investigating Tazmamart 
abuses for the purpose of bringing those responsible to justice.

     d.  Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile

Legal guarantees of procedural due process in Morocco, 
extensively revised in recent years, are frequently ignored.  
Arrests usually take place in public, but police sometimes 
refuse to identify themselves.  Warrants are not always used.  
The law requires that a detainee be brought before a judge 
within 48 hours of detention (extendable to 96 hours upon 
approval of the prosecutor) and informed of the charges against 
him.  Under the revised due process rules, incommunicado (garde 
a vue) detention is limited to 48 hours, with a one-time 
24-hour extension upon request by the prosecutor.  An accused 
person must be brought to trial within 2 months of arrest, with 
up to five extensions of 2 months each allowed at the 
discretion of the prosecutor.  Detainees are denied counsel 
during the initial period of detention when torture is most 
likely to take place.  Counsel is allowed only as of the first 
cross-examination, and many cases are resolved without 

According to Moroccan human rights groups, compliance with the 
new due process rules has been irregular.  Some members of the 
security forces, long used to indefinite precharge access to 
detainees, continue to resist the new rules.  Lawyers are 
sometimes not informed as to the date of detention and are thus 
unable to monitor garde a vue detention limits.  However, there 
were no known instances in 1993 of the once common practice of 
indefinite incommunicado detention.

Moroccan law creates a limited system of bail that is rarely 
used, although defendants are sometimes released on their own 
recognizance.  The law does not provide for habeas corpus or 
its equivalent.

Under a separate Code of Military Justice, military authorities 
may detain members of the military without warrants or public 

Abdessalem Yassine, leader of the banned Islamist organization 
Justice and Charity, remained under house arrest in his home 
after 2 years of detention without trial.  His family members 
are only occasionally allowed to visit him.  No other visits 
are allowed.  Indicative of its subordination to the Ministry 
of the Interior, CCDH has not publicly questioned the propriety 
of the Ministry's confinement of Yassine.

There are no known instances of Moroccans being sentenced to 

     e.  Denial of Fair Public Trial

Morocco has a dual legal system:  a secular system based in 
part on French legal tradition and a parallel Islamic system 
which adjudicates family matters and inheritance law for 
Moroccan Muslims.  The secular system includes courts of 
original jurisdiction, appellate courts, and a Supreme Court.  
Judges in this system are university-trained attorneys who have 
undergone further specialized training prior to assuming their 

Political and security offenses are not distinguished from 
common criminal offenses under Moroccan law.  All criminal 
matters are tried in the secular courts.  In general, cases are 
brought before a court of first instance which may call for a 
hearing quickly to bring cases to trial.  The detainee is 
informed of charges and questioned by the judge who decides if 
the charges have merit.  If the infraction is minor and not 
contested, the judge may release the detainee or impose a light 
sentence.  If a lengthy investigation is required, the judge 
may release detainees on their own recognizance.  Criminal 
cases are frequently resolved by confessions.  Disinterested 
former prisoners continued to report attempts by authorities to 
extract confessions under duress. 

The Islamic court system consists only of trial courts, and 
their decisions may not be appealed.  Although judges in this 
system are clerics who traditionally were not trained in the 
law, judges named to the bench in recent years have been 
formally educated in Islamic law.  Cases are decided on the 
basis of the Koran or the derivative Shari'a and are often 
tried without attorneys.

Both the secular and Islamic courts are susceptible to 
extrajudicial pressures.  Secular court judges are not well 
paid.  Cash payments to unscrupulous judges are widely reported 
to be commonplace in routine criminal cases.  Likewise, judges 
hearing cases involving challenges to royal authority or state 
policy are vulnerable to political pressure, especially from 
the Ministry of Interior.  The accused in such cases do not 
enjoy the procedural safeguards needed to ensure a fair trial.  
Comments made by the prosecutor during the Tabit trial, for 
example, clearly indicated that the sitting judge was following 
instructions from the Ministry of the Interior and the Palace.  
Islamic court judges are paid by the parties for services in 
settling inheritance cases, with compensation often a 
percentage of the assets involved.

Aside from external pressures, the secular court system is also 
subject to resource constraints.  Consequently, criminal 
defendants charged with less serious offenses often receive 
only cursory hearings, with judges relying on police reports to 
render decisions.  Although the Government provides an attorney 
at public expense for serious crimes (when the alleged offense 
carries a maximum sentence of over 5 years), appointed 
attorneys often provide inadequate representation.

Proceedings in the cases of three labor leaders convicted of 
expressing antigovernment views were concluded in 1993.  In May 
the Court of Appeal upheld the conviction of Noubir Amaoui who 
was sentenced in 1992 to 2 years in prison for defaming the 
Government after a trial widely criticized for being 
politically motivated and for procedural irregularities and 
restrictions on public and press access.  In July Amaoui was 
granted a royal pardon and released.  Driss Laghnimi was 
convicted in 1993 for insulting the person of the King during a 
public discussion between members of different unions.  He also 
received a royal pardon following denial of his appeal in 
April.  The Court of Appeal also upheld the conviction of Ahmed 
Belaichi who was sentenced in 1992 to 3 years in prison for 
"affront to the military" after a trial in which several 
defense witnesses were not permitted to testify.  He remains in 

Moroccan human rights organizations periodically publish lists 
of prisoners "of opinion," prisoners accused of armed 
conspiracy or violence for political reasons, and prisoners 
convicted following demonstrations or strikes.  These groups 
estimate that Moroccan prisons now hold 500 to 600 prisoners in 
these categories, of whom approximately 100 are held for crimes 
of politically motivated violence, and approximately 300 were 
arrested in connection with strike or demonstration 
activities.  Because the Government defines several categories 
of speech as criminal (see Section 2.a.), it regards political 
prisoners as common criminals.

     f.  Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or 

The Constitution states that the home is inviolable and that no 
search or investigation may take place without a search warrant 
issued in compliance with the law.  Current law stipulates that 
a search warrant may be issued by a prosecutor on good cause.  
This stipulation is not always observed, however, and there 
continue to be reports of illegal searches of the homes and 
offices of suspected political activists.  

Government security services, generally operating under the 
direction of the Ministry of the Interior, selectively monitor 
certain persons and organizations, both foreign and Moroccan, 
including their telephones and mail.  University campuses are 
under close surveillance, and there is an extensive informant 
system, especially on campuses and in cities.

Section 2  Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

     a.  Freedom of Speech and Press

The Constitution provides for freedom of expression, but by 
Moroccan law and tradition negative commentary is forbidden on 
three topics: the monarchy, Morocco's claim to the Western 
Sahara, and the sanctity of Islam.  Statements on these 
subjects may be deemed crimes against state security.  In 
addition, many Moroccans are careful not to criticize the 
foreign or domestic policies of the Government for fear of 

Mustapha Dadao, a Marrakech student arrested in 1992 for 
allegedly shouting offensive slogans at a May Day rally, was 
convicted in January of "insult to the King" and sentenced to 5 
years.  A year was added to his sentence when he commented that 
his trial had been "superficial."  Fifteen Oujda students were 
convicted in January of "illegal demonstrations and 
distribution of untruthful tracts susceptible of disturbing the 
public order" and received sentences ranging from 1 month to 
1 year.  In March two students received 2-month sentences for 
protesting against a new examination schedule.  In June five 
Khenifra youths received 3-month sentences for holding a 
demonstration protesting the death in detention of Mustapha 
Hamzaoui. (See Section 1.a.)

Press freedom is significantly restricted, though the limits 
are not clearly defined.  A 1958 decree gives the Government 
the authority to register and license domestic newspapers and 
journals.  In practice, authorities use the licensing process 
to prevent the publication of materials that they believe cross 
the threshold of tolerable dissent.  Offending publications may 
be declared a danger to state security and may be seized; the 
publisher's license may be suspended and equipment destroyed.  
Article 55 of the Press Code empowers the Government to censor 
newspapers directly by ordering them not to report on specific 
items or events. 

The Government tolerates satirical and often stinging 
editorials in the opposition parties' dailies.  The tone of 
those editorials became especially sharp during the 1993 
election campaigns.  The press also continued in 1993 to report 
allegations of torture and other harsh treatment, abuse of 
authority, and prisoners' complaints of degrading conditions.  
In particular, the flagrant abuses perpetrated by Casablanca 
police officers revealed during the Tabit trial were widely 
reported.  In November the opposition news daily L'Opinion ran 
a series of editorials critical of the state of democracy in 
Morocco.  The paper's editor was summoned to the office of the 
Minister of Interior.  The paper thereafter ran an open letter 
to the Minister condemning his alleged threat to imprison the 
editor.  Other opposition papers have subsequently 
editorialized in support of L'Opinion's stance against the 

Government control of the media generally is exercised through 
directives and "guidance" bulletins from the Ministry of 
Interior.  The media regularly engages in self-censorship, 
prompted by a desire to avoid the Government's attention and 
possible sanctions.  The Government owns the official press 
agency, Maghreb Arab Press, and the Arabic daily Al Anbaa.

The Government owns the only television station receivable 
nationwide without cable or satellite dish antennas.  Dish 
antennas are available, though expensive, and permit free 
access to a wide variety of foreign broadcasts.  Morocco's sole 
private station can be seen in most urban areas with the rental 
of an inexpensive decoder.  Northern residents can receive 
Spanish stations with standard antennas.  The Government does 
not impede reception of foreign broadcasts.

A great number of foreign news publications are available, 
particularly from Europe and the United States.  Although 
generally tolerating a broad spectrum of opinion in the foreign 
press distributed in Morocco, the Government continued in 1993 
to ban those editions of foreign publications that contained 
articles about Morocco deemed particularly offensive.  For 
example, distribution of the February 6 and March 29 editions 
of Le Monde were blocked apparently because they contained 
articles describing efforts of a major Moroccan company to 
acquire a foreign radio station, offering an unflattering 
appraisal of Moroccan-French relations, and questioning the 
fairness of the Moroccan elections.  Moroccan authorities 
searched the hotel room of a British journalist, who was 
preparing a story on the Tabit trial, questioned her regarding 
her activities, and later confiscated her notes at the airport.

Moroccan universities enjoy relative academic freedom in most 
areas, but the Government prohibits academic investigation of 
the Islamic roots of the monarchy.  Limited research and 
publishing on Islam and Islamic fundamentalism is tolerated.  
Ministry of Interior approval is a prerequisite to tenure in 
all disciplines.  Professors complain that the Ministry often 
confers tenure on political, rather than purely academic, 

     b.  Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

Although the the Constitution provides for freedom of assembly 
and association, this right is significantly limited by three 
decrees, dating from 1935, 1939, and 1958, which permit the 
Government to suppress even peaceful demonstrations and mass 
gatherings.  Several groups were subject to government 
restraints on speech in 1993.  In the aftermath of the Tabit 
affair, 19 Moroccan women's groups organized a march in Rabat 
against sexual harassment.  It was to be the first of its kind 
in Morocco and was expected to draw thousands of participants.  
Without explanation, the Government denied permission for the 

Authorities broke up a variety of peaceful demonstrations in 
1993, often injuring and arresting the participants.  In April 
a sit-in organized by the Moroccan National Association of 
Unemployed Graduates to call attention to the lack of 
employment available to recent graduates was forcibly dispersed 
by authorities.  In June a sit-in organized by a group of blind 
students to publicize their ineligibility for unemployment 
compensation was similarly disrupted by authorities.  In 
November several members of this group were injured or arrested 
when police forcibly broke up another demonstration in front of 
the Ministry of the Interior.  The Government continued to 
impede the ability of human rights groups to hold public 
meetings, often by denying necessary permits.  

Another effective restraint on assembly rights is imposed by 
the Government's practice of closing mosques to the public 
shortly after religious services, thereby removing any 
potential for the practice, common in other Muslim countries, 
of using mosque premises for political activity.

The right to form organizations is limited.  Under a 1958 
decree, persons wishing to create an organization must obtain 
the approval of the Ministry of the Interior before holding 
meetings.  In practice, the Ministry uses this requirement to 
prevent persons suspected of advocating causes opposed by the 
Government from forming legal organizations.  Islamist and 
leftist groups have the greatest difficulty in obtaining 
official sanction.  Twenty-nine Islamist groups have been 
active within Morocco.  Membership in two of these groups, 
Justice and Charity and Jama'a Islamia, has been outlawed due 
to perceived antimonarchy rhetoric.  Political parties must 
also be approved by the Ministry of the Interior, which uses 
this power to control participation in the political process.

     c.  Freedom of Religion

Islam is the official religion of Morocco.  Ninety-nine percent 
of Moroccans are Sunni Muslims, and the King bears the title 
"Commander of the Faithful."  The Jewish community of 
approximately 7,000 is permitted to practice its faith, as is 
the somewhat larger foreign Christian community.  Members of 
these religions are legally forbidden to proselytize, although 
several dozen evangelical missionaries conduct services and 
bible meetings which are attended by some Moroccan Muslims.

Although the Constitution provides for freedom of worship, only 
Islam, Christianity, and Judaism are tolerated in practice.  
The King has pronounced all other religions to be heresies.  
The Baha'i community of 150-200 people has been forbidden to 
meet or hold communal activities since 1983.  According to 
Islamic law and tradition, conversion of any kind from Islam is 
strictly prohibited, and any attempt to induce a Muslim to 
convert is punishable by imprisonment.  In October Mustapha 
Zmamda, a Moroccan Muslim, was sentenced to 3 years in prison 
after he refused to discontinue correspondence with the 
directors of a Christian radio program broadcast to North 
Africa from France.  A Brazilian missionary who hosted bible 
meetings attended by Zmamda was fired from his teaching 
position, reportedly after the Ministry of the Interior 
threatened to revoke the operating license of his employer 
unless he was dismissed.  

The Government monitors Friday mosque sermons and the 
curriculum of Koranic schools to insure that approved doctrines 
are taught.  Fundamentalist Islamic activities are sometimes 
repressed but are largely tolerated so long as they remain 
restricted to the propagation of Islam and educational and 
charitable activities.  Islamist groups that question the 
King's status as Commander of the Faithful and those that 
engage in violence are suppressed.

     d.  Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign 
         Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation

Although freedom of movement within Morocco is provided for in 
the Constitution, in practice security forces set up roadblocks 
throughout the country and stop traffic at will.  In some 
regions the roadblocks have been maintained in the same places 
for years, creating what some characterize as internal 
frontiers.  In the Western Sahara, which is administered by 
Morocco, movement is restricted in areas regarded as militarily 

The Interior Ministry restricts the freedom to travel outside 
Morocco in certain circumstances.  For example, it has refused 
to issue passports to a number of Moroccans, including certain 
political activists, former political prisoners, and Baha'is.  
In February the OMDH published a list of 52 former political 
prisoners, human rights monitors, lawyers, and others who 
continued to be denied passports.  In a series of spring 
meetings, CCDH members met with Ministry of the Interior 
officials and requested status reports on several passport 
applications.  By years' end the Ministry issued passports to 
46 persons on the OMDH list.  Some former political prisoners, 
after being issued passports, were denied exit at border points 
on the basis that government computers had not been updated to 
reflect their eligibility to leave.  There continued to be 
reports of instances in which police seized passports at border 
points or otherwise blocked the exit of Moroccans trying to 
leave the country, usually without explanation.

Women must have permission from either their fathers or 
husbands to obtain a passport.  A divorced woman must have her 
father's permission to obtain a passport and, if she has 
custody of the children, she must have permission of the 
children's father for passports to be issued to the children.  
Although the King has characterized the male consent 
requirement as contrary to Islam and the Constitution, no 
changes in these provisions were made in 1993.

There are frequent allegations of corruption in the passport 
offices; applicants are reportedly forced to pay gratuities to 
obtain application forms and to make sure that the application 
is not lost in the bureaucratic labyrinth.   All Moroccan civil 
servants must obtain written permission from their ministries 
to leave the country each time they wish to do so.

Moroccans may not renounce Moroccan citizenship, but the King 
has the rarely used power to revoke it.  Tens of thousands of 
Moroccans hold more than one citizenship and travel on 
passports from two or more countries.  While in Morocco they 
are regarded as Moroccan citizens.  As a result, the Government 
has sometimes refused to recognize the right of foreign 
embassies to act on behalf of dual nationals or even to receive 
information concerning their arrest and imprisonment.  Dual 
nationals also complain of harassment by Moroccan immigration 

Moroccan law encourages voluntary repatriation of Moroccan Jews 
who have emigrated; Moroccan Jewish emigres, including those 
with Israeli citizenship, freely visit Morocco.  The law also 
encourages the return of Saharans who have opposed Morocco in 
the Western Sahara conflict.  Returning former members of the 
Polisario, a group seeking independence for the Western Sahara, 
who are deemed to pose no threat to security are integrated 
into Moroccan life.

Section 3  Respect for Political Rights:  The Right of Citizens 
           to Change Their Government

Moroccan citizens do not enjoy the right to change their 
government by democratic means.  The King, as Head of State, 
appoints the Prime Minister, who is the titular head of 
government.  The Parliament has the theoretical authority to 
effect change in the system of government, but has never 
exercised it.  Moreover, the Constitution may not be changed 
without the King's approval.  The Ministry of the Interior 
appoints provincial governors.  Municipal councils are elected.

Constitutional changes in 1992 vested in the Prime Minister the 
power to nominate all other government ministers.  However, the 
King retained the right to replace any minister at will.  Any 
significant surrender of power from the crown to the Prime 
Minister's office was further obviated by an April decree by 
which the King greatly increased both the power and the pay of 
the secretaries general of the ministries.  The decree 
effectively delegated to the secretaries general many of the 
powers previously vested in the ministers.  The secretaries 
general serve at the pleasure of the King.

The first parliamentary elections in 9 years were held in 
1993.  Under reforms implemented in 1992, electoral commissions 
were empowered to oversee the election process and to hear 
complaints of irregularities, but the conduct of the elections 
remained in the hands of the Interior Ministry.  Of the 333 
members of Parliament, 222 are elected directly by universal 
adult suffrage, while 111 are elected indirectly by various 
business, labor, and agricultural organizations.  In the direct 
elections held in June, opposition parties did very well.  This 
first phase of the elections received generally favorable marks 
from international observers.  Although informed observers 
expected opposition parties to solidify their gains in the 
indirect elections in September, the second stage left 
opposition parties barely short of the strength needed to form 
a coalition government and resulted in widespread charges of 
election fraud and manipulation, ranging from the strong-arming 
of association members responsible for nominating candidates to 
the falsification of voting lists.

Several new parties were created during the elections.  Sixteen 
parties are now officially recognized by the Interior Ministry.

Section 4  Governmental Attitude Regarding International and 
           Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations 
           of Human Rights

There are three officially recognized nongovernmental human 
rights groups:  the Moroccan Human Rights Organization (OMDH), 
the Moroccan League for the Defense of Human Rights (LMDDH), 
and the Moroccan Human Rights Association (AMDH).  LMDDH, 
associated with the Istiqlal Party, and AMDH, associated with 
the Party of the Socialist Avant Garde, have formed a 
coordinating committee and generally issue joint communiques.  
The LMDDH and the nonpartisan OMDH accepted invitations to 
participate in CCDH activities.  All three groups report that 
ministries, usually Justice and Interior, invariably fail to 
respond or even acknowledge their inquiries regarding 
particular human rights cases.  Investigations by Moroccan 
human rights groups are generally conducted with neither 
government hindrance nor cooperation.

As noted in Section 2.b., the authorities continued to impede 
the ability of human rights groups to hold public meetings and 
in one instance picked up a human rights group leader for 
several hours of questioning about the group's activities.  

At the urging of CCDH, the Government in 1993 allowed the first 
visit by an international human rights group in 3 years.  In an 
interview prior to the arrival of a delegation from Amnesty 
International (AI), King Hassan II pointedly attacked AI's 
methods and credibility.  Nevertheless, the delegation came 
away, after 18 hours of meetings with the CCDH, encouraged by 
the Government's willingness to engage in a human rights 
dialogue.  AI representatives returned in December.

In general, however, the Government does not cooperate with 
international investigations of allegations of human rights 
abuses in Morocco.  It generally does not respond to inquiries 
about specific political prisoners made by diplomatic 
missions.  If allowed in the country, human rights monitors are 
generally refused access to people or conditions they want to 

In 1990, in response to criticism of Morocco's human rights 
performance, the King created the CCDH, among whose 
responsibilities was the representation of Morocco at 
international human rights forums such as the United Nations 
Human Rights Commission and with foreign nongovernmental 
organizations.  CCDH's powers are not commensurate with its 
mandate from the King to expose and correct abuses of human 
rights.  While it proposes reforms to the Palace and some of 
its recommendations, such as a reduction in the period of 
permissible precharge detention, are implemented, its capacity 
to investigate a particular report of abuse is limited to 
making inquiry of the concerned ministry, usually Interior, and 
awaiting a reply.  CCDH has neither the authority to hold 
government officers responsible for abuses nor the inclination 
to condemn publicly the consistent failure of ministries to 
respond to its inquiries.

A Moroccan government official served as interim president of 
the preparatory commission for the 1993 World Conference on 
Human Rights in Geneva.

Section 5  Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, 
           Disability, Language, or Social Status


Moroccan women suffer various forms of discrimination, both 
legal and cultural.  Under the Criminal Code, women are 
generally accorded the same treatment as men.  Women are not 
accorded equal treatment under family and estate law, which is 
based on the Malikite school of Islamic law.  In marriage, for 
example, a husband may repudiate his wife, but the wife may not 
repudiate her husband.   The situations under which a woman may 
sue for divorce are far fewer than those permitted to men.  
Women inherit only half as much as their male siblings.  
Moreover, even where the law guarantees equal status, cultural 
norms often prevent a woman's exercise of those rights.  When a 
Moroccan woman inherits property from a father or husband, for 
example, male relatives may force her to sign over her 

Many well-educated women succeed in breaking into the 
professional ranks, particularly in the areas of law, medicine, 
education, and government service.  There are, however, few 
women in the top echelons of their professions.  Women comprise 
approximately 24 percent of the work force, with the majority 
of them in the industrial, service, and teaching sectors.  
Women have the right to vote and to run for office.  Some women 
have been elected to municipal councils and two women were 
elected to Parliament in 1993.  There are no women on the CCDH, 
nor are there any women serving as government ministers.

Women suffer most from inequality in the rural areas.  Rural 
women perform most hard physical labor; the rate of literacy, 
particularly in the countryside, is noticeably lower for women 
than for men; and girls are much less likely to be sent to 
school than are boys.  Women who earn their secondary school 
diploma, however, have equal access to university training.

The law and social practices governing violence against women 
reflect Morocco's Islamic culture and the importance placed on 
the honor of the family.  The Criminal Code includes severe 
punishment for men who are convicted of raping or violating a 
woman or girl, and the defendant bears the burden of proving 
his innocence.  However, sexual assaults often go unreported 
because of the stigma attached to the loss of virginity.   A 
rapist may be offered the opportunity to marry his victim in 
order to preserve the honor of the victim's family.  Although a 
woman who is the victim of wife beating has the right to 
complain to the police, as a practical matter she could do so 
only if prepared to file for divorce and leave her husband's 
home.  The law excuses the murder or injury of a wife who is 
caught in the act of committing adultery.  A woman would not be 
excused for committing violence against her husband under the 
same circumstances.

The civil law status of Moroccan women is governed by the 
Moudouwana, or Code of Personal Status, which is based in part 
on the Koran.  With the active support of the King, limited 
reform of the Moudouwana, consistent with the mandates of the 
Koran, were effected in 1993.  The amendments allow a wife to 
divorce a husband who announces an intent to take a second 
wife; grant a wife unspecified allowance rights, based on the 
husband's income, in cases where a husband files for divorce 
without legal justification; and recognize a wife's priority of 
right to custody of any children after a divorce.  Women's 
groups in Morocco unsuccessfully requested that the Moudouwana 
changes include expanded rights to combat spousal violence, a 
problem they believe to be commonplace.  Presently, a wife's 
charge of spousal abuse, even if proven, merely entitles her to 
divorce with no mandatory economic support.  Hence, victims of 
spousal abuse are unlikely to report its occurrence to 


Morocco launched in November a campaign to vaccinate children 
against preventable diseases.  However, the Government takes 
little action to promote child welfare in the areas of child 
labor (see Section 6.d.) and education.  The announced 
illiteracy rate is 55 percent, and the actual rate is higher, 
especially in rural areas.

At year's end, the Moroccan daily 'L'Opinion summarized several 
cases involving the physical abuse of young maids by their 
employers.  At least two 1993 cases were before Moroccan 
courts.  In the first, a Casablanca police officer and his wife 
were arrested for severely beating a 6-year-old maid recruited 
from poor rural relatives.  In the second, a military officer's 
wife from Meknes was arrested for the murder of a 14-year-old 
maid who died after admission to a hospital exhibiting symptoms 
of torture and starvation.   After citing scores of examples of 
the abuse of young girls employed as domestics, 'L'Opinion 
concluded that documented cases were merely the "tip of the 
iceberg" and accused the Government of callous indifference to 
the problem.

     National/Racial/Ethnic Minorities

The Constitution affirms the legal equality of all Moroccans, 
and the Government does not discriminate based on ethnicity.

The official language of Morocco is Arabic, and the languages 
of instruction and the news media are Arabic and French.  
Science and technical curriculums are taught in French, thereby 
eliminating the large monolingual Arabic population from these 
programs.  Moroccan educational reforms over the past decade 
have stressed use of Arabic in secondary schools.  Failure to 
similarly transform the university system has functionally 
disqualified many students, especially those from poorer homes 
where French tutoring is not practicable, from higher education 
in lucrative fields.

     People with Disabilities

A high incidence of disabling disease, especially polio, has 
produced a large population of disabled persons in Morocco.  
Wlhile the Ministry of Social Affairs contends that the 
Government endeavors to integrate the disabled into society, 
this in practice is left largely to private charities.  
However, charitable special education schools are priced beyond 
the reach of most families.  Most typically, disabled persons 
survive by begging.  The Government recently initiated a pilot 
training program for the blind.  There are no laws guaranteeing 
access for the disabled.   

Section 6  Worker Rights

     a.  The Right of Association

The Constitution guarantees "the right of association and the 
right to join any trade union and political organization."  
Workers are free to form and join unions, and the right is 
exercised widely.  According to the trade union federations, 
well over a million of Morocco's 9 million workers are 
unionized; 5 percent of the work force is a more accurate 
estimate.  Substantial numbers of workers in the public sector 
are unionized.  

Three of the 17 existing trade union federations dominate the 
labor scene; all are organizationally independent of the 
Government.  They are the Union Marocaine de Travail (UMT), the 
Confederation Democratique de Travail (CDT), and the Union 
Generale des Travailleurs Marocains (UGTM).  The UMT has no 
political affiliation, the CDT is linked to the Socialist Union 
of Popular Forces (USFP), and the UGTM to the nationalist 
Istiqlal Party.  

Unions are not entirely free of government influence.  The 
internal intelligence services of the Interior Ministry keep 
the Government fully apprised of trade union activity, and the 
selection of union officers and the carrying out of their 
duties are sometimes subject to government pressure.

Within individual unions, the right to select one's own leaders 
is usually recognized.  However, some violations occur; in May 
the UMT's national headquarters unilaterally replaced the 
regional leaders in the town of El Jadida by forcefully 
expelling the local leaders and replacing them with their own.  

Under the Constitution, workers have the right to strike and do 
so.  Most work stoppages are intended to advertise grievances; 
they usually last 24 hours or less.  However, strikes can be 
prolonged and arise not only from economic demands or working 
conditions but also from union rivalries.  Partially in 
response to a royal warning not to disturb social peace prior 
to the parliamentary elections, there were relatively few 
strikes in early 1993, and the labor scene remained relatively 
quiet after the June elections in anticipation of the formation 
of a new, more prolabor government.  Teacher trainees 
performing 2 years of civil service conducted a sit-in and 
hunger strike in the summer to demand permanent positions; the 
first attempt at the sit-in in July was broken up by police, 
and some protesters were arrested.  A number of limited 1- and 
2-day strikes closed most college and high school campuses for 
several days in February and March as teachers struck over 
longstanding grievances, including pay, working conditions, and 
benefits.  There were similar 2-day strikes in the public 
health, railroads, and postal sectors in March.

The release from prison of CDT Secretary General Noubir Amaoui 
and UGTM activist Driss Laghnimi in July was seen as a sign of 
greater government willingness to cooperate with labor 
following the success of prolabor parties in the June 
legislative elections.  The International Labor Organization 
(ILO) Committee on Freedom of Association (CFA), reviewing 
several complaints at its 1993 sessions about arrest of trade 
unionists for participating in strikes or distributing material 
expressing political opinions, expressed concern that the 
Government had not respected workers' right to freedom of 

Unions and union federations are free to affiliate 
internationally and do so actively.  The UMT rejoined the 
International Confederation of Free Trade Unions in 1990 after 
an absence of many years.

Unions belong to regional labor organizations and maintain ties 
with international trade secretariats.

     b.  The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively

The Constitution includes labor organizations among the 
entities that serve to "organize and represent the citizens."   
An implied right to organize and bargain collectively is 
exercised, but laws protecting collective bargaining are not 
highly developed.  The multiplicity of trade union federations 
creates competition to organize workers.  Any group of eight 
workers may organize, and a worker may change trade union 
affiliation.  Thus, a single factory may contain several 
independent locals or locals affiliated with more than one 
labor federation.

In both the process of organizing and during collective 
bargaining, labor laws are widely observed most often in the 
corporate and parastatal sectors of the economy, where ad hoc 
government mediation and arbitration procedures to promote 
worker-employer negotiations are easily applied.  These 
mediation procedures do not in practice limit unions' freedom 
to bargain collectively.  The unions' most common complaint 
against employers is that they refuse to negotiate seriously.

In the informal and underground economies and in the textile 
and handicrafts fields, labor laws and regulations are poorly 
enforced.  Small employers, especially in the agricultural 
sector, are often ignorant of labor laws and regulations.  
While the right to organize and bargain collectively exists in 
both the Constitution and labor law, the Government does not 
always protect this right.  As a practical matter, the unions 
have no judicial recourse to oblige the Government to act when 
it has not met its obligations under the law.  Moreover, 
political considerations often lead the Government to hinder 
the full exercise of worker rights in an effort to control the 

In some parts of the industrial and parastatal sectors there is 
a long-established tradition of collective bargaining, but this 
practice is not spreading to emerging sectors of the economy. 
The wages of unionized workers are established through 
practices that include discussions between employer and worker 
representatives.  However, wages for the vast majority of 
nonunionized workers are set unilaterally by the employer, 
ostensibly respecting the minimum wage law.  In the industrial 
sector, collective bargaining agreements are often invoked in 
legal disputes when a worker claims to have been reprimanded or 
dismissed for trade union activity.  Employers usually cite 
work-related reasons for the dismissals.  An employer intending 
to fire workers without replacing them must apply in advance to 
the provincial governor through the Labor Inspector's office.  
In cases where employers plan to replace fired workers, the 
Labor Inspector provides replacements and mediates the cases of 
workers who protest their dismissal.  Any worker fired for a 
serious infraction such as sabotage is entitled by law to a 
court hearing.

Notwithstanding the constitutional provision noted above, 
Morocco's ratification of ILO Convention 98 on the right to 
organize and bargain collectively, and some case law, there is 
no specific law prohibiting antiunion discrimination by 
employers.  Employers regularly fire workers for trade union 
activity that they see as threatening to employer interests.  
Reinstatement is sometimes ordered by courts, but legal 
proceedings can be expensive and time-consuming.  Labor 
complainants are often vindicated in court proceedings, but 
court decisions awarding damages and back pay can be difficult 
to enforce.   Ministry of Labor inspectors serve as 
investigators and conciliators in labor disputes; however, the 
inspectors are not very effective because they are few in 
number, carry heavy workloads, and do not have the resources to 
investigate all cases.  In addition to pursuing their 
complaints through the Ministry of Labor's inspectors, unions 
increasingly are going directly to court with their 
complaints.  ILO committees repeatedly cited the Government in 
1993 for failing to respond adequately to union allegations of 
violations of trade union rights such as dismissing and 
arresting trade unionists and repressing demonstrations.  In 
May the CFA concluded that protection against antiunion 
discrimination is not satisfactorily guaranteed by the 

Moroccan labor law applies equally to the small Tangier export 
zone.  The proportion of unionized workers there is about the 
same as in Morocco as a whole.

     c.  Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor

Apart from its ratification of both ILO conventions against 
forced labor, Morocco has no legal or constitutional 
prohibition against forced or compulsory labor, but, as far as 
is known, it is not practiced.

     d.  Minimum Age for Employment of Children

Children may not be legally employed or apprenticed before age 
12.  Special regulations govern the employment of children 
between the ages of 12 and 16.  Those under the age of 16 may 
not work nights (between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m.) nor more than 10 
hours a day.  The normal workday is 8 hours; only in a few 
exceptional professions are any workers permitted to work more 
than 10 hours per day.  In practice, children are often 
apprenticed before age 12, particularly in handicraft work.  
The argument is made that they need to acquire skills, such as 
weaving or rug making, before they reach the age of 12.  Five 
years of primary education is compulsory, starting at age 7, 
but enforcement in the countryside and poorer urban areas is 

Safety and health conditions as well as salaries in enterprises 
employing children are often substandard.  The use of minors is 
common in the rug-making and tanning trades, many of whose 
products are exported.  Children are also employed informally 
as domestics and usually receive little or no wages.  Poverty 
and a pervasive cultural acceptance of child labor keep abuse 
of the child labor laws prevalent nationwide.  In 1993 a 
Casablanca policeman and his wife were arrested for severely 
beating a 6-year old maid, recruited from poor, rural 

The Ministry of Labor, through its corps of labor inspectors, 
is responsible for enforcing child labor regulations.  Child 
labor laws are generally well observed in the industrialized, 
unionized sector of the economy.  However, the inspection 
mandate of labor inspectors does not include domestic employees.

     e.  Acceptable Conditions of Work

There was no change in 1993 to the minimum wage of about $150 
(1,350 dirhams) per month, effective as of May 1992.  Despite 
food, diesel fuel, and public transportation subsidies, a 
family cannot maintain a decent standard of living on the 
minimum wage of a single worker.  The labor unions have long 
called for a minimum wage of about $220.  In many cases, 
several members, some of them working in the informal economy, 
combine their income to support the family.  The minimum wage 
is not enforced effectively in the informal and handicraft 
sectors.  It is enforced fairly effectively in the 
industrialized, unionized sector, though members complain that 
employers often, by means of deductions and other techniques, 
pay their workers less than the law requires.  

In an effort to increase employment opportunities for recent 
graduates, firms are permitted to hire them for a limited 
period for less than the minimum wage.  Firms are not allowed 
to replace them with other low-paid trainees when the limited 
employment period ends.  Most workers in the industrial sector 
of the economy, except for those employed in garment assembly, 
earn more than minimum wage.

Moreover, workers are customarily paid between 13 and 16 
months' salary for every 12-month year.  The informal sector 
provides a safety net for those who would otherwise be 
unemployed or underemployed.  The extensive parallel economy 
employs directly or indirectly an estimated 50 to 75 percent of 
the working population, often in part-time jobs.  

The law provides a 48-hour maximum workweek and a 24-hour rest 
period, with not more than 8 hours (with certain exceptions) 
for any single day, premium pay for overtime, paid public and 
annual holidays, and minimum conditions for health and safety, 
including the prohibition of night work for women and minors.  
As with other regulations and laws, these are observed 
unevenly, if at all, in the informal sector.  Labor inspectors 
endeavor to monitor working conditions, accidents, and labor 
disputes, but lack sufficient resources and authority to 
investigate many complaints and mandate full compliance with 
the law. 

[end of document]


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