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TITLE: MOROCCO HUMAN RIGHTS PRACTICES, 1994
AUTHOR: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
DATE: FEBRUARY 1995









                            MOROCCO


The Constitution of Morocco provides that the country shall be 
governed by constitutional monarchy with a representative 
Parliament and an independent judiciary.  However, the ultimate 
authority rests with the King, who retains the discretion to 
terminate the tenure of any minister and dissolve Parliament to 
rule by decree.  The current Parliament was formed in 1993 by a 
two-stage process:  the election of 222 deputies by direct 
universal suffrage and selection of the remaining 111 deputies 
by labor organizations and other constituency groups.  
International observers found the direct elections to be 
generally fair with some irregularities.  However, the second 
stage was marred by credible reports of widespread manipulation 
and fraud.  When three major political parties refused to 
participate in the Government without a far-reaching shift in 
power in favor of the Parliament, the King appointed a 
government of technocrats who, with minor changes, remained in 
office in 1994.

The security apparatus comprises several overlapping police and 
paramilitary organizations.  The Direction de la Surveillance 
du Territoire, Surete Nationale, and the judicial police are 
departments of the Ministry of Interior and Information.  The 
Gendarmerie Royale reports directly to the royal palace.  
Security force abuses continued in 1994, especially in cases 
involving perceived threats to state security.

Morocco's mixed economy is based on agriculture, fishing, light 
industry, phosphate mining, tourism, and remittances from 
overseas workers, with illegal cannabis production a 
significant factor.  Since the early 1980's, the Government has 
pursued an economic reform program that has contributed to 
generally strong economic growth, low inflation, and low fiscal 
and external deficits.  The Government has embarked on a 
program of privatizing state-owned enterprises.

In 1994 the Government made substantial progress on several 
human rights fronts.  The King granted amnesty to 424 political 
prisoners; the Government began paying stipends to former 
inmates who survived incarceration at the notorious Tazmamart 
Prison; a 1934 law allowing the imprisonment of political 
opponents was abrogated; incidents of press censorship 
decreased; and the Deputy Ministry for Human Rights expanded 
its operations and continued dialogs with local and 
international human rights groups.

However, several basic human rights problems remained 
unaddressed.  Credible reports indicate that security forces 
frequently abused detainees and prisoners and caused the deaths 
of three persons in custody; state agents responsible for past 
and present human rights abuses were not held accountable by 
the weak and malleable judiciary or even subject to public 
investigation; many persons remain in prison for advocating 
independence for the Western Sahara; many young girls remain 
subject to exploitative domestic servitude; and the Government 
failed to make significant reforms in the manipulation-prone 
electoral system and continued to suspend the right to due 
process and freedom of speech and association.

The ubiquitous nature of the Ministry of Interior and 
Information means that virtually all allegations of 
governmental human rights abuse involve its employees.  The 
Ministry is responsible for authorizing associations and 
political parties; the conduct of elections, including 
cooperation with the United Nations in a referendum on the 
status of the Western Sahara; the oversight of the private 
press and publication of the official news agency releases; the 
direction of most security forces; the appointment and training 
of many local officials; the allocation of local and regional 
budgets; and the oversight of university campuses.  Less 
formally, the Ministry exerts substantial pressure on the 
judicial system.  In February comments to Parliament, 
reiterated in November, the Minister of Interior made clear 
that Ministry employees will not be held to answer for 
allegations of abuse brought by Parliament, other ministries, 
or nongovernmental organizations (NGO's).

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

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

     a.  Political and Other Extrajudicial Killing

Three deaths of persons in police custody may be reasonably 
attributed to security force brutality.  On August 4, officers 
of the Surete Nationale in Khouribga, 75 miles southeast of 
Casablanca, arrested Siman Bouchta for selling produce without 
a permit.  A few hours later, Bouchta was rushed to a hospital, 
reportedly for treatment of profuse bleeding, and he died 
shortly thereafter.  His family has refused to accept his body 
without the performance of an autopsy.  Requests for further 
information by nongovernmental human rights organizations have 
elicited no response from Moroccan authorities.

According to witnesses, four police officers in Rabat beat 
Zerzouri Younes about the head in front of his parents' home on 
August 13.  He died of his injuries after 4 days of 
hospitalization.  Younes had no known political affiliations.  
He was described in a communique issued by the Moroccan 
Organization for Human Rights (OMDH) as emotionally unstable.

The police arrested Brahim Belfaqir in the city of Sale on 
November 6 after his involvement in a fistfight.  He died in 
police custody the next day.  Authorities ruled the death a 
suicide, alleging that Belfaqir had taken an overdose of 
medication, but Belfaqir's family denied that he took any such 
medication.  Belfaqir was not known to be politically active.  
An OMDH appeal to the Ministry of Justice failed to prompt a 
public investigation.  In November the Minister of Interior 
responded to a question in Parliament, submitted in writing by 
a parliamentarian 2 weeks earlier, about Belfaqir's death.  The 
Minister reportedly expressed surprise at the news of the death 
and promised an investigation.  His response drew laughter from 
the parliamentarians.  He has made no further comments on the 
case.

In a fourth case, Mohammed Belqaidi, a former student activist 
in Fes, died on October 27, reportedly as a consequence of a 
general physical deterioration after receiving physical abuse 
perpetrated by guards while serving a prison term from 1988 to 
1993.  Belqaidi reportedly served his sentence in solitary 
confinement.

A court proceeding brought by the family of Mustapha Hamzaoui, 
a political activist who died in jail in 1993 under suspicious 
circumstances, was postponed several times in 1994 and, 
according to human rights groups, is unlikely to go to trial.

OMDH published a report in January that alleged 17 deaths took 
place from 1989 to 1993 under circumstances that strongly 
suggest the use of torture.  The Government has not conducted a 
public inquest into any of these cases.

     b.  Disappearance

There were no reports of new disappearances.  In September the 
Minister-Delegate for Human Rights announced that his office 
had begun a review of 50 to 60 alleged disappearances, some 
dating back several years.  He added that approximately 30 of 
the dossiers presented strong prima facie cases of 
disappearance.  At year's end, his office had not released any 
results of this review.

Human rights organizations have published higher estimates of 
the number of persons who disappeared permanently after last 
being seen in the custody of security forces.  Many of the 
additional disappeared persons are Sahrawis, the natives of 
Western Sahara, who publicly advocated independence for that 
territory.  The Government has never directly acknowledged that 
Sahrawis have disappeared--even though it released some 300 
Sahrawis in 1991 after periods of detention ranging up to 15 
years.  However, the King expressly excluded Sahrawi 
nationalists from the prisoner amnesty program announced in 
July, thus indirectly acknowledging that some of them remain 
imprisoned.

Rashid Benhayoun, a resident of the Casablanca suburb of 
Mohamadia, disappeared on March 19 under circumstances 
implicating a powerful local figure with strong associations 
with the police.  This figure should be a prime suspect but 
seems to have successfully prevailed upon police contacts to 
quash any investigation.  In response to a request from OMDH, 
the Minister of Justice publicly agreed to investigate the 
disappearance.  This rare public statement from the Minister 
was greeted enthusiastically by local human rights groups.  At 
year's end, the Minister had not announced any further action.

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

Although Morocco ratified the United Nations' Convention 
Against Torture in 1993, security forces continued to subject 
detainees to abuse--including the use of torture in cases 
involving state security.  Reliable sources report that 
Ministry of Interior interogation methods in state security 
cases were modified in 1992.  The guidelines proscribe the use 
of methods likely to leave visible marks or permanent 
disabilities.  Hence, the most common methods include sleep 
deprivation, the chemical inducement of vomiting fits, and 
beatings under immobilizing restraint.

A detainee alleging police abuse must sign an application for 
medical examination, naming the officers involved, and submit 
it to the court.  Very few detainees take this step.  In a case 
where evidence of abuse is strong, reliable reports suggest 
that the police typically offer to drop the underlying charges 
in exchange for a detainee's agreement to drop the allegation 
of abuse.

In June a military tribunal tried several persons for smuggling 
guns to Muslim fundamentalists in Algeria.  At trial, the 
defendants moved to exclude their confessions from evidence as 
having been obtained by torture.  The trial court and an 
appeals court denied the motion without a hearing, despite 
strong circumstantial evidence of abuse.

In May the authorities arrested seven teachers for 
participating in a rally advocating teaching the Berber 
language in public schools.  All detainees alleged they were 
mistreated in detention and several, according to press 
accounts, bore physical marks attributable to abuse.  Three 
defendants were convicted of posing a "threat to the sanctity 
of the State," but the court did not rule on the allegation of 
abuse.

In cases that do not involve state security, witnesses report 
that individual police officers abuse detainees with impunity 
on an ad hoc basis.

Harsh treatment continues after conviction, especially for 
prisoners serving sentences for state security crimes.  Several 
political prisoners released in the July amnesty reported that 
they suffered years of abuse from their guards, including 
random assaults, deprivation of sleep, and prohibition of 
family visits.  Prison guards have reportedly suspended inmates 
against walls as punishment for violating some prison rules.

     d.  Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile

Prison conditions are harsh.  Eleven persons reportedly died in 
a 6-month period in one Casablanca prison due either to 
illnesses contracted from unhealthy conditions or lack of 
medical care for preexisting conditions.  The Government, 
citing budgetary restraints, has not substantially implemented 
the reforms recommended by the Royal Consultative Council on 
Human Rights (CCDH), an advisory body whose members are 
handpicked by the King, regarding prison overcrowding, medical 
care, and nutrition.  Prisoner hunger strikes, although fewer 
in number in 1994, were common, especially among Islamist 
prisoners.  In a display of openness, the Government granted 
access by representatives of Amnesty International (AI) to its 
prisons.

Legal provisions for due process have been revised extensively 
in recent years, but the authorities frequently ignore them.  
Although arrests usually take place in public, the police 
sometimes refuse to identify themselves and do not always 
obtain warrants.  The law requires that a detainee be brought 
before a judge within 48 hours of arrest--extendable to 96 
hours upon approval of the prosecutor--and informed of the 
pending charges.  Incommunicado (garde-a-vue) detention is 
limited to 48 hours, with a one-time 24-hour extension at the 
prosecutor's discretion.

An accused person must be brought to trial within 2 months of 
arrest, but prosecutors may order five additional extensions of 
pretrial detention of 2 months each.  Detainees are denied 
counsel during the initial period of detention when abuse is 
most likely to take place.  Counsel is allowed only as of the 
first cross-examination, but many cases are resolved without 
cross examination.

Some members of the security forces, long accustomed to 
indefinite precharge access to detainees, continue to resist 
the new rules.  Lawyers are not always informed of the date of 
detention and are thus unable to monitor compliance with the 
garde-a-vue detention limits.  Although the trend towards 
compliance with the rules continued in 1994, there were several 
exceptions, especially in state security cases, the most 
publicized of which involved the gun-running and Berber speech 
cases (see Section 1.c.).

The law provides for a limited system of bail, but it is rarely 
used.  Nevertheless, the courts sometimes release defendants 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 trial.

In March the Minister-Delegate for Human Rights announced that 
the Government had begun making payments of 5,000 dirhams 
(about $550) per month to 28 former inmates who survived 
incarceration at the notorious Tazmamart Prison.  He also 
acknowledged that 30 other prisoners had died there.  In 
November the Minister-Delegate announced that the Government 
would issue death certificates to families of the deceased 
prisoners.  All 58 former inmates had been sentenced, after 
mass trials, as accomplices in attempts on the King's life in 
1971 and 1972.  The typical member of the Tazmamart group was 
convicted of passive involvement in the plots--those convicted 
of active participation were executed--and sentenced to a 
3-year prison term.  Notwithstanding those sentences, the 
survivors each served 18 to 20 years in solitary confinement, 
with a complete absence of sanitary facilities and medical 
care.  The Government offered no information on the prisoners 
to their families during their confinement, and even refused to 
confirm the existence of the detainees.

The Government released the Tazmamart group without explanation 
in 1991, on condition that they do not publicly discuss the 
circumstances of their confinement.  The former inmates have 
quietly sought redress with the assistance of Moroccan human 
rights groups, particularly the Moroccan Association for Human 
Rights (AMDH).  No government official has been accused of 
misfeasance in connection with Tazmamart.  No public 
investigation is underway nor is any known internal government 
investigation.

In the June gun-running case (see Section 1.c), the authorities 
placed several suspects in incommunicado detention.  They 
surfaced in a Rabat jail weeks later, after charges were 
brought.  At their trial, the defendants moved for dismissal of 
the case for gross violation of the garde-a-vue detention 
limits.  In contradiction to available evidence, the court 
found that the fugitives had spent most of the time after their 
disappearance--and before charges were brought--in flight from 
the authorities.  It therefore ruled that the detention limits 
were not exceeded.

The authorities held the defendants in the Berber language case 
(see Section 1.c.) in garde-a-vue detention for more than 2 
weeks.  Although the three convicted defendants received 
reduced sentences on appeal and were released in the July 
amnesty, the obvious violation of garde-a-vue limits was not 
subject to court ruling.

By contrast, in investigating incidents of violent crime in 
August, the authorities evidently observed the due process 
rules.  The incidents included a shooting at a Marrakech hotel 
which left two dead, and an attempted armored car holdup in 
Casablanca.  In the aftermath of those events, police 
discovered several weapons caches, and investigations in 
foreign countries linked the suspects to terrorist groups 
abroad.  Despite the national security implications of these 
discoveries, no evidence of illegal detention or physical abuse 
has surfaced.  In fact, one of the principal suspects, after 
disparaging the judicial system in a court hearing, later 
withdrew a request for foreign counsel, stating that he had 
been treated fairly and represented professionally.

Abdessalem Yassine, leader of the banned Islamist organization 
Justice and Charity, entered his fifth year of house arrest.  
Aside from rare meetings with his lawyers and family members, 
the authorities do not allow him to have visitors, nor have 
they filed formal charges against him.  However, two members of 
the CCDH publicly acknowledged the illegality of Yassine's 
continued detention.  Neither the Ministry of Justice nor the 
Deputy Ministry for Human Rights has initiated a review.

There are no known instances of government-imposed exile.  As 
part of the 1994 amnesty, the Government indicated that any 
citizen living abroad in self-imposed exile would be welcomed 
to return after taking an oath that acknowledged the legitimacy 
of the monarchy and the nation's claim to the Western Sahara.  
Several Moroccans living in Holland have been repatriated in 
this fashion, and in December the Government began to process 
claims from Moroccans living in France as well.

     e.  Denial of Fair Public Trial

In theory there is a single court system for all nonmilitary 
matters, but family matters such as marriage, divorce, child 
support and custody, and inheritance are adjudicated by judges 
trained in Islamic law, or Shari'a.  Judges considering 
criminal cases or cases in nonfamily areas of civil law are 
generally trained in the French legal tradition.  All judges 
appointed in recent years are alumni of the National Institute 
for Judicial Studies (INEJ) where they undergo 2 years of study 
heavily focused on human rights and the rule of law.

The law does not distinguish political and security cases from 
common criminal cases.  In general, detainees are arraigned 
before a court of first instance.  If the infraction is minor 
and not contested, the judge may order the defendant released 
or impose a light sentence.  If an investigation is required, 
the judge may release defendants on their own recognizance.  
Cases are often adjudicated on the basis of confessions 
obtained during incommunicado detention.  Some of these 
confessions, according to reliable sources, are obtained under 
duress.

All Moroccan courts are susceptible to extrajudicial 
pressures.  Salaries paid to judges are modest; cash payments 
to unscrupulous judges are sometimes made in routine cases.  A 
more subtle, but doubtless more profound, corruption derives 
from the judiciary's relationship with the Ministry of 
Interior.  The Ministry, through its network of local 
officials, or caids, who serve in tandem with local elected 
officials, interacts regularly with local judges.  Through this 
interaction, the caids transmit both general procedures for 
various types of cases and advice regarding particular cases as 
needed to the judges.  Credible sources report that judges who 
expect enhanced remuneration and career progression do not 
stray far from that guidance.  Attorneys report that newly 
appointed judges, notwithstanding their INEJ training, are even 
more willing to profit from this arrangement than their 
predecessors.

In serious state security cases, communications between the 
Ministry of Interior and the court are more direct.  In the 
gun-running case (see Section 1.c.), if the court had applied 
the due process rules, the defendants may have been 
acquitted--a result that might have encouraged local 
Islamists.  To avoid that possibility, security officers were 
given virtually unlimited access to the suspects while they 
were in pretrial detention, and were able to extract 
confessions.  The trial court cooperated in the Ministry's 
effort by retroactively adjusting the date of arrest to comport 
with the garde-a-vue detention limits--an adjustment that 
allowed the confessions to be admitted into evidence.

In late 1993, the King appointed Idrissi Machichi as Minister 
of Justice.  A legal scholar and teacher, Machichi has an 
international reputation for integrity.  While there were no 
fundamental changes in the legal system, Machichi has 
instituted some significant reforms.  For example, judges in 
drug trafficking cases are now assigned on the day of trial; 
traffickers are thus unable to approach corrupt trial judges to 
arrange a pretrial dismissal of charges.  Machichi's presence 
in office is cited by virtually every part of the legal 
community as hope that the judicial system will eventually 
achieve the independence mandated by the Constitution.

Aside from external pressures, the 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--i.e., when the offense has a 
maximum sentence of over 5 years--these attorneys often provide 
inadequate repesentation.

In July the Government took two important steps to address the 
problem of political prisoners.  First, the Parliament 
abrogated a 1935 decree which authorized the authorities to 
detain any person regarded as a "threat to the sanctity of the 
State."  Originally promulgated during the French Protectorate 
to suppress nationalists, the decree had become the principal 
legal basis for jailing political opponents.

Second, the King granted royal amnesty to 424 prisoners, all of 
whom were convicted under the 1935 decree.  Of the freed 
prisoners, CCDH determined that 11 were political prisoners and 
413 were criminals motivated by political concerns.  Most of 
the group of 413 persons were convicted of crimes of violence 
or vandalism in mass trials following the 1984 civil 
disturbances in Tetouan, Casablanca, and Fes, as well as the 
1990 disturbances in Fes and Tangier.  However, several were 
imprisoned for exercising free speech and may also be 
considered political prisoners.  Many of the prisoners granted 
amnesty had rejected government overtures for pardons in 
previous years because any pardon, under applicable law, would 
have been granted only after an admission of guilt.

The released prisoners included human rights activist Ahmed 
Belaichi, imprisoned in 1992 for televised comments critical of 
the armed forces, and Islamist leader M'barek Missouni, 
imprisoned in 1991 for distributing Islamist tracts.  More than 
100 of those released are Islamists.  The human rights 
community uniformly praised the abrogation of the 1935 decree 
and the amnesty as significant efforts to turn the page on a 
dark era in Moroccan history.

OMDH estimates that some 110 non-Sahrawis remain in prison.  Of 
these, some 60 are Islamists.  Estimates of the number of 
persons imprisoned for advocating independence for the Western 
Sahara vary from the Government's position that none are held 
to the claims of some international NGO's that several hundred 
remain.

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

The Constitution states that the home is inviolable and that 
the police may not conduct a search without a warrant.  The law 
stipulates that search warrants may be issued by a prosecutor 
for good cause.  However, there continue to be reports of 
illegal searches of the homes and offices of suspected 
political activists.

Government security services monitor the activities of certain 
persons and organizations, including their telephones and 
mail.  Government informers also monitor activities on 
university campuses.

Section 2  Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

     a.  Freedom of Speech and Press

The Constitution provides for freedom of expression, but the 
law and tradition prohibit criticism on three topics:  the 
monarchy, the Government's claim to the Western Sahara, and the 
sanctity of Islam.

In 1994 a court sentenced union leader Ahmed Mlakgatt to 2 
years for questioning the fairness of the 1993 legislative 
elections.  Five residents of the coastal town of Bouznika were 
sentenced to 2 years for committing the same offense.  In other 
cases, the courts sentenced three Berber activists from 1 to 2 
years for displaying a banner calling for the teaching of 
Berber language courses in schools (see Section 1.c.), and 14 
members of the "Unemployed Graduate Students Association" were 
sentenced from 1 to 2 years for demonstrating against high 
unemployment.  The Government released Mlakgatt, the Bouznika 
residents, and the Berber activists in a royal amnesty in 
July.  The students were freed prior to the amnesty.

The Government significantly restricts press freedom, though 
the limits are not clearly defined.  A 1958 decree gives the 
Government the authority to register and license domestic 
newspapers and journals.  It uses this licensing power to 
prohibit the publication of materials deemed to cross the 
threshold of tolerable dissent.  The authorities may seize 
offending publications and suspend the publisher's license.  
Article 55 of the Press Code empowers the Ministry of Interior 
to censor newspapers directly by ordering them not publish 
reports on specific issues.

In 1994 the Government closed the independent Arabic tabloid, 
Asrar, without explanation.  The paper circumvented the closure 
by reorganizing as a new periodical, Asda.  Security officials 
prohibited the distribution of one issue of Nouvelles du Nord 
because it contained an article critical of the human rights 
situation in Tunisia.

The Government tolerates satirical and often stinging 
editorials in the opposition parties' dailies.  Particularly 
sharp editorials in 1994 charged a lack of political leadership 
regarding the recognition of Israel and a perceived 
capitulation to the West in opening a liaison office in Israel, 
both areas in which policy has been orchestrated by the Royal 
Palace.  On the other hand, the Government restricted press 
coverage of the gun-smuggling case (see Section 1.c.).

The Government owns the only television station receivable 
nationwide without a decoder or satellite dish antenna; it does 
not impede reception of foreign broadcasts.  Satellite dishes 
are available, at prices that decreased dramatically in 1994, 
and make available a wide variety of foreign broadcasts.  The 
sole private television station may be received in most urban 
areas with the rental of an inexpensive decoder.  Northern 
residents may receive broadcasts from Spain with standard 
antennas.

A great number of foreign news publications are available, 
particularly from Europe and the United States.  The Government 
generally tolerates a broad spectrum of opinion in the foreign 
press.  This was especially true in 1994 as the Government 
hosted several international events, including the conference 
on the General Agreeement on Tariffs and Trade and the Middle 
East Economic Summit, which attracted hundreds of foreign 
journalists.

Despite the trend in recent years towards noninterference with 
the foreign press, the Government continued to prohibit the 
distribution of publications containing articles regarded as 
offensive.  For example, the authorities seized the March 23 
and April 28 editions of the French weekly Jeune Afrique 
because they contained articles respectively urging greater 
government support for a Moroccan national accused of murder in 
France, and reporting alleged contacts between the Polisario 
Front (a group seeking independence for the Western Sahara) and 
Algerian Islamists.  The authorities temporarily blocked the 
distribution of the September 9 edition of the French daily Le 
Monde because it contained an interview in which a Moroccan 
Islamist questioned the King's status as a spiritual leader.  
The edition was allowed full distribution a few days later.

Universities enjoy relative academic freedom.  The Ministry of 
Interior controls the hiring of instructors, the curriculum in 
the Faculty of Law, and the physical plant, including the 
residences in all faculties.

     b.  Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

Although the Constitution provides for freedom of assembly and 
association, this right is significantly limited by three 
decrees--promulgated in 1935, 1939, and 1958--that permit the 
Government to suppress peaceful demonstrations and mass 
gatherings.  Organizers for most conferences and demonstrations 
require the prior authorization of the Ministry of Interior, 
ostensibly for security reasons.

In February the Ministry of Interior denied without explanation 
authorization for a conference on women's issues planned by 
three major political parties.  The conferees were to consider 
the impact of recent changes in the Code of Personal Status, 
which concerns marriage, divorce, and child custody.  In April 
and June, the Ministry denied permission to AMDH to hold 
conferences on human rights and democracy.  In May the Ministry 
refused to allow a planned rally in Rabat in support of Bosnian 
Muslims.  On June 14, the authorities arrested activists from 
the Unemployed Graduate Students Association, an unregistered 
group tolerated by the Government, in connection with an 
unauthorized demonstration at a union headquarters in a small 
eastern city (see Section 1.e.).  The authorities did not 
permit OMDH to hold a reception in Casablanca in honor of the 
prisoners amnestied in July.  The authorities also denied 
organizers to proceed with Berber cultural conferences in 
Agadir and Nador.  The police forcibly dispersed several 
demonstrations organized by blind students to call attention to 
their poverty.  There were a number of injuries.

The Government limits the right to establish organizations.  
Under the 1958 decree, persons wishing to establish an 
organization must obtain the approval of the Ministry of 
Interior before holding meetings.  In practice, the Ministry 
uses this requirement to prevent persons suspected of 
advocating causes opposed by the Government, particularly 
Islamist and leftist groups, from establishing legal 
organizations.  There are 29 active Islamist groups, but the 
Government has prohibited membership in two of them--Justice 
and Charity and Jama'a Islamia--because of their rhetoric 
deemed inimical to the monarchy.  The Ministry of Interior must 
approve political parties--a power which the Government uses to 
control participation in the political process.

     c.  Freedom of Religion

Islam is the official religion.  Ninety-nine percent of the 
population is Sunni Muslims, and the King bears the title 
"Commander of the Faithful."  The Jewish community of 
approximately 6,000 is permitted to practice its faith, as is 
the somewhat larger foreign Christian community.  For the first 
time in memory, the Ministry of Interior in 1994 permitted the 
broadcast of Yom Kippur services on national television.

Although the Constitution provides for freedom of religion, 
only Islam, Christianity, and Judaism are tolerated, since the 
King has pronounced all other religions to be heresies.  The 
Government has prohibited the Baha'i community of 150 to 200 
people from meeting since 1983.  Islamic law and tradition call 
for strict punishment of any Muslim who converts to another 
faith.  Any attempt to induce a Muslim to convert is similarly 
illegal.

Foreign missionaries limit their proselytizing to non-Muslims 
or conduct their work quietly.  Evangelical missionaries do not 
turn away Muslims who appear at services and Bible meetings.  
In January the Government quietly released from prison Mustapha 
Zmamda, a Muslimsentenced to 3 years in prison in 1993 for 
corresponding with Christian missionaries.

The Ministry of Islamic Affairs monitors Friday mosque sermons 
and the Koranic schools to ensure the teaching of approved 
doctrine.  The authorities sometimes suppress the activities of 
Islamic fundamentalists, but generally tolerate activities 
restricted to the propagation of Islam, education, and 
charity.  Security forces commonly close mosques to the public 
shortly after Friday services to prevent use of the premises 
for unauthorized political activity.

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

Although the Constitution provides for freedom of movement, in 
practice security forces set up roadblocks throughout the 
country and stop traffic at will.  In some regions, roadblocks 
have been maintained in the same places for years.  Some 
observers characterize these as internal frontiers.  Police 
regularly extract gratuities at the roadblocks, particularly 
from truck drivers.  In a move to improve their image, the 
police arrested more than 1,000 travelers in 1994 for attempted 
bribery at the roadblocks.  In the aftermath of the August 
violence and discovery of arms catches (see Section 1.d.), the 
authorities established additional temporary roadblocks, closed 
the border with Algeria, and subjected Algerian nationals to 
repeated interrogations.

In the Morocco-administered portion of the Western Sahara, the 
Government restricts movement in areas regarded as militarily 
sensitive.

The Ministry of Interior restricts freedom to travel abroad in 
certain circumstances.  It has refused to issue passports to 
certain citizens, including political activists, former 
political prisoners, and Baha'is.  However, the Government has 
dramatically eased these restrictions in recent years.  OMDH 
currently lists only 22 citizens declared ineligible to obtain 
passports.  Some former political prisoners, after being issued 
passports, were denied exit at border points on the ostensible 
basis that government computers had not been changed to reflect 
their eligibility to leave.

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 to obtain passports for them.  Although the 
King has said that the male consent requirement is contrary to 
Islam and the Constitution, the Government took no action to 
ease the travel requirements for women.

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 the forms are not 
lost.  All civil servants must obtain written permission from 
their ministries each time they seek to travel abroad.

Moroccans may not renounce their citizenship, but the King 
retains the power--rarely used--to revoke it.  Tens of 
thousands of Moroccans hold more than one citizenship and 
travel with passports issued by other countries.  However, 
while residing in Morocco, the authorities consider them 
Moroccan citizens.  The Government has sometimes refused to 
recognize the right of embassy officials to act on behalf of 
"dual nationals" or even to receive information concerning 
their arrest and imprisonment.  Dual nationals also complain of 
harassment from immigration inspectors.

The law encourages voluntary repatriation of Moroccan Jews who 
have emigrated.  Jewish emigres with Israeli citizenship freely 
visit Morocco.  The Government also encourages the return of 
Saharans who departed Morocco due to the conflict in the 
Western Sahara--provided they recognize the Government's claim 
to the region.  The Government does not permit Saharan 
nationalists who have been released from prison to live in the 
disputed territory.

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

Practically speaking, the 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.  The Constitution may not be amended without the 
King's approval.  The Ministry of Interior appoints provincial 
governors and local caids.  The latter undergo a 2-year 
training course in the Ministry's "Ecole de Formation de 
Cadres."  Municipal councils are elected bodies.

Constitutional changes in 1992 authorized the Prime Minister to 
nominate other government ministers, but the King retains 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 when the King decreed to the 
secretaries general, who serve at the King's pleasure, many of 
the powers previously vested in the ministers.

Allegations of fraud and manipulation in the 1993 parliamentary 
election are pending before the Constitutional Council, the 
designated body adjudicating the disputes.  Challenges have 
been filed for more than 100 of the 333 seats in Parliament.  
Although 17 reelections have been ordered and carried out, 
often with new credible allegations of irregularity, human 
rights groups do not expect the Council to adjudicate the 
remaining cases.

Sixteen parties have members in Parliament.  In a rare display 
of political independence, a coalition of major parties refused 
in 1994 to accept the King's invitation to accept ministerial 
posts--absent significant political and electoral reform, 
including control of the Ministry of Interior.  As a 
consequence, most present ministers are technocrats named by 
the King as caretakers pending the formation of a longer-term 
government.  In 1994 the Parliament authorized the televised 
broadcasts of ministerial question periods in Parliament.

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 (LMDH), and 
the Moroccan Human Rights Association (AMDH).  LMDH is 
associated with the Istiqlal Party, and AMDH is associated with 
the Party of the Socialist Avant Garde.  They have formed a 
coordinating committee and generally issue joint communiques.  
OMDH is nonpartisan.  LMDH and OMDH participate in some 
activities of the Royal Consultative Council on Human Rights.

In January OMDH issued a communique stating that the Ministry 
of Justice had formed a partnership with OMDH, AMDH, and LMDH 
to investigate alleged violations of human rights.  However, at 
year's end, there had been no significant follow-up on this 
initiative.  While the Ministry of Justice held occasional 
meetings with the NGO's, the Ministry of Interior continued to 
refuse to acknowledge their inquiries directly.

In comments before Parliament in February, reiterated in 
November, the Minister of Interior made clear that he resented 
inquiries from human rights groups and that neither of the two 
ministries would respond to them, even if such inquires came 
from Parliament or other ministries.

The Royal Consultative Council on Human Rights (CCDH), an 
advisory body to the King, exists in sometimes uneasy 
coordination with the Deputy Ministry of Human Rights (DMHR), 
which was established by Parliament.  While their common 
missions often provoked an adversarial relationship, a clearer 
division of labor emerged in 1994.  CCDH has concentrated on 
the reports written by its various working groups, most notably 
its recommendations for prison reform.  DMHR's activities have 
been more executive:  identifying Tazmamart Prison victims for 
compensation and studying the dossiers of disappeared persons 
for possible compensation to their families.  The two bodies 
worked together on the royal amnesty program:  CCDH formulated 
the criteria for eligibility, and DMHR compiled a list of 
potentially eligible prisoners.

Amnesty International (AI) established an office in Casablanca 
after its representatives visited Morocco in 1994.  While 
citing a continuation of human rights abuses, AI commended the 
Government's openness in affording access to prisons and 
prisoners.

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

     Women

Women suffer various forms of legal and cultural 
discrimination.  Under the Criminal Code, women are generally 
accorded the same treatment as men, but are not accorded equal 
treatment under family and estate law, which is based on the 
Malikite school of Islamic law.  Under this law, husbands may 
more easily divorce their wives than vice versa.  Women inherit 
only half as much as male heirs.  Moreover, even where the law 
guarantees equal status, cultural norms often prevent a woman's 
exercise of those rights.  When a woman inherits property, for 
example, male relatives may pressure her to relinquish her 
interest.

The civil law status of 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 reforms of the 
Moudouwana, consistent with 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 young 
children after a divorce.

Women's groups unsuccessfully requested that the Moudouwana 
changes include expanded rights to combat spousal violence, a 
problem human rights groups confirm is commonplace.  Although a 
battered wife has the right to complain to the police, as a 
practical matter she would do so only if prepared to file for 
divorce.  Spousal abuse is grounds for divorce, but even if 
abuse is proven, divorced women do not have the right to 
financial support from their former spouses.  Hence few victims 
report abuse to authorities.

The law and social practice concerning violence against women 
reflects the importance society places on the honor of the 
family.  The Criminal Code includes severe punishment for men 
convicted of rape or violating a woman or girl.  The defendants 
in such cases bear the burden of proving their 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.  The law excuses the 
murder or injury of a wife caught in the act of committing 
adultery; however, a woman would not be excused for killing her 
husband under the same circumstances.

While many well-educated women pursue careers in law, medicine, 
education, and government service, few make it to 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 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.  Girls are much less likely to be sent to school 
than are boys.  Women who earn secondary school diplomas, 
however, have equal access to university training.

     Children

The Government has taken little action to end child labor (see 
Section 6.d.).  Young girls in particular are exploited as 
domestic servants.  Orphanages are often party to the practice 
of adoptive servitude, in which families adopt young girls who 
perform the duties of domestic servants in their new families.  
Credible reports of physical abuse are widespread.  The 
practice is often justified as a better alternative to keeping 
the girls in orphanages.  It is ingrained in society, attracts 
little criticism, even from human rights groups, and is 
unregulated by the Government.  In 1994 the Government 
continued a campaign to vaccinate children against preventable 
diseases.

     National/Racial/Ethnic Minorities

The Constitution affirms, and the Government respects, the 
legal equality of all citizens.

The official language is Arabic.  The languages of instruction 
and the news media are both Arabic and French.  Science and 
technical curriculums are taught in French, thereby eliminating 
the large monolingual Arabic-speaking population from these 
programs.  Educational reforms in 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.

Some 60 percent of the population claim Berber heritage.  
Berber cultural groups contend that the three remaining Berber 
languages and Berber traditions are rapidly being lost.  Their 
repeated requests to the palace to permit the teaching of 
Berber languages in the schools have finally produced a royal 
decree to effect the necessary curriculum changes.  The King 
ordered the limited broadcast of Berber-language news programs 
on radio and televison; the broadcasts commenced in 1994.  
However, the Government convicted Berber activists and canceled 
two conferences on Berber culture (see Section 1.c. and 1.f.).  
The moves suggest that the Government regards the Berber 
revival as a threat to state security.

     People with Disabilities

Morocco has a high incidence of disabling disease.  Polio is 
especially prevalent.  While the Government contends that it 
seeks to integrate the disabled into society, most special 
education activities are provided by private charities and are 
generally affordable only to families with private means.  
Disabled persons typically survive by begging.  In 1994 the 
Government continued a pilot training program for the blind, 
sponsored in part by a member of the royal family.  There are 
no laws mandating physical changes to buildings to facilitate 
access for the disabled.

Section 6  Worker Rights

     a.  The Right of Association

Although workers are free to establish and join trade unions, 
the unions themselves are not completely free from government 
interference.  Perhaps a half million of Morocco's 9 million 
workers are unionized in 17 trade union federations.  Three 
federations dominate the scene:  the Union Marocain de Travail 
(UMT), the Confederation Democratique de Travail (CDT), and the 
Union Generale des Travailleurs Marocains (UGTM).  The UMT has 
no political affiliation, but the CDT is linked to the 
Socialist Union of Popular Forces, and the UGTM to the Istiqlal 
Party.  Unions belong to regional labor organizations and 
maintain ties with international trade secretariats.

In practice, the internal intelligence services of the Ministry 
of Interior are believed to have informants within the unions 
who monitor their activities and the election of officers.  
Sometimes union officers are subject to government pressure.  
Union leadership does not always uphold the rights of members 
to select their own leaders.  There has been no case of the 
rank and file voting out its current leadership and replacing 
it with another.

Workers have the right to strike and do so.  In February the 
CDT called a 1-day general strike to protest government social 
policies.  However, it quickly postponed the strike 
indefinitely after the Prime Minister moved to ban it on 
grounds that there is no legislation implementing the 
constitutional provision for the right to strike.  The 
Government maintained that since legal strikes are not defined 
by law, the CDT's general strike was outside the scope of 
legitimate union activity and hence illegal.  Critics countered 
that the ban was an infringement of the Constitution.

During the May 1 Labor Day celebrations, 12 union members 
around the country were arrested for shouting political 
slogans.  Three were convicted and imprisoned.  They were 
released from prison in the general amnesty in July.

     b.  The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively

The right to organize and bargain collectively is implied in 
the constitutional provisions on the right to strike and the 
right to join organizations.  The many trade union federations 
compete to organize workers.  Any group of eight workers may 
organize a union and a worker may change union affiliation 
easily.  A work site may contain several independent locals or 
locals affiliated with more than one labor federation.

In general, the Government ensures the observance of labor laws 
in larger companies and in the public sector.  In the informal 
economy, and in the textile and handicrafts industries, labor 
laws and regulations are routinely ignored by the Government 
and management.  As a practical matter, unions have no judicial 
recourse to oblige the Government to enforce labor laws and 
regulations.

The laws governing collective bargaining are inadequate.  
Collective bargaining has been a long-established tradition in 
some parts of the economy, but the practice is not spreading.  
Wages and conditions of employment are generally set in 
discussions between employer and worker representatives.  
Employers unilaterally set wages for the majority of workers.

Employers wishing to dismiss workers are required by law to 
notify the provincial governor through the labor inspector's 
office.  In cases where employers plan to replace dismissed 
workers, a government labor inspector provides replacements and 
mediates the cases of workers who protest their dismissal.  Any 
worker dimissed for committing a serious infraction of work 
rules is entitled by law to a court hearing.

There is no law specifically prohibiting antiunion 
discrimination.  Employers commonly dismiss workers for union 
activities regarded as threatening to employer interests.  The 
courts sometimes order the reinstatement of such wokers, but 
are unable to ensure that employers pay damages and back pay.

Ministry of Labor inspectors serve as investigators and 
conciliators in labor disputes, but they are few in number and 
do not have the resources to investigate all cases.  Unions 
have increasingly resorted to litigation to resolve labor 
disputes.  In 1994 the International Labor Organization (ILO) 
again cited the Government for failing to respond adequately to 
such abuses as the dismissals and arrests of trade unionists 
and the prohibition on union demonstrations.

The Labor Law applies equally to the small Tangier export 
zone.  The proportion of unionized workers in the export zone 
is about the same as in the rest of the economy.

     c.  Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor

Forced or compulsory labor is prohibited by ILO Convention 29, 
which was adopted by royal decree.

     d.  Minimum Age for Employment of Children

Abuse of the child labor laws is common nationwide.  The law 
prohibits the employment or apprenticeship of any child under 
12 years of age.  Education is compulsory for children between 
the ages of 7 and 13.  Special regulations govern the 
employment of children between the ages of 12 and 16.  In 
practice, children are often apprenticed before age 12, 
particularly in the handicraft industry.  The use of minors is 
common in the rug-making industry and also exists to some 
extent in the textile and leather goods industries.  Children 
are also employed informally as domestics and usually receive 
little or no wages.  Safety and health conditions as well as 
salaries in enterprises employing children are often 
substandard.

Ministry of Labor inspectors are responsible for enforcing 
child labor regulations which are generally well observed in 
the industrialized, unionized sector of the economy.  However, 
the inspectors are not authorized to monitor the conditions of 
domestic servants.

     e.  Acceptable Conditions of Work

The minimum wage does not provide a decent standard of living 
for a worker and his family--even with government subsidies for 
food, diesel fuel, and public transportation subsidies.  In 
many cases, several family members combine their income to 
support the family.  The minimum wage was raised by 10 percent 
on July 1 to about $167 (1,510 dirhams) a month, the first 
increase in 2 years.  Labor unions call for a minimum monthly 
wage of about $220 to $230.

The minimum wage is not enforced effectively in the informal 
and handicraft sectors of the economy, and even the Government 
pays less than the minimum wage to workers at the lowest civil 
service grades.  To increase employment opportunities for 
recent graduates, the Government allows firms to hire them for 
a limited period for less than the minimum wage.  Most workers 
in the industrial sector earn more than the minimum wage.  They 
are generally paid between 13 and 16 months' salary, including 
bonuses, each year.

The law provides a 48-hour maximum workweek with not more than 
10 hours 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 not 
universally observed in the informal sector.

Occupational health and safety standards are rudimentary, 
except for a prohibition on the employment of women in certain 
dangerous occupations.  Labor inspectors endeavor to monitor 
working conditions and accidents, but lack sufficient 
resources.  In 1994 five teenaged workers were paralyzed by 
glue fumes in a poorly ventilated shoe workshop.
(###)

[end of document]

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