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Title:  Morocco Human Rights Practices, 1995   
Author:  U.S. Department of State    
Date:  March 1996    
 
 
 
 
                                   MOROCCO 
 
 
The Constitution of Morocco provides for a monarchy with a Parliament 
and an independent judiciary.  However, ultimate authority rests with 
the King, who retains the discretion to terminate the tenure of any 
minister, dissolve the Parliament, and rule by decree.  The present 
Parliament was created in 1993 through 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.  As in 1994, King Hassan again attempted to incorporate the 
legal opposition into the Government; once again, the major political 
parties declined to participate without far-reaching political reforms.  
Ultimately, the King formed a government comprised largely of 
technocrats who, with some changes, remained in office throughout 1995. 
 
The security apparatus comprises several overlapping police and 
paramilitary organizations.  The border police, the national security 
police, and the judicial police are departments of the Ministry of 
Interior, while the Royal Gendarmerie reports directly to the palace.  
Security force abuses continued, especially in cases involving perceived 
threats to state security, albeit less frequently than in previous 
years. 
 
Morocco has a mixed economy based largely on agriculture, fishing, light 
industry, phosphate mining, tourism, and remittances from Moroccans 
working abroad.  Illegal cannabis production is also a significant 
economic factor.  Morocco's record of generally strong economic growth, 
accompanied by low inflation and low fiscal and external deficits, has 
been challenged in recent years by a series of debilitating droughts and 
a slowdown in reform.  Because of a severe drought--the third in 4 
years--analysts believe that the economy may contract in 1995. 
 
The Government made substantial progress on several human rights fronts 
during the year, including fewer egregious abuses.  A number of 
dissidents living in self-imposed exile took advantage of an amnesty 
program to return home.  Although no details have yet been made public, 
the King launched an initiative to increase effectiveness and reduce 
corruption in the judicial system. 
 
However, there were several problem areas.  The Government at times 
acted to suspend its citizens' rights of due process, speech, and 
association; credible reports persisted of disappearances and of 
occasional physical abuse of detainees and prisoners by the security 
forces; and state agents responsible for past and present human rights 
abuses have not been held accountable by the weak and malleable 
judiciary.  Prison conditions remain harsh.  The Government has not 
acted to end the plight of young girls who work in exploitative domestic 
servitude.  It also failed to make promised changes in the manipulation-
prone electoral system.  Discrimination and domestic violence against 
women are common. 
 
Virtually all allegations of governmental human rights abuse involve the 
Ministry of Interior.  The Ministry is responsible for the direction of 
most security forces; the conduct of elections, including cooperation 
with the United Nations in a referendum on the Western Sahara; the 
appointment and training of many local officials; the allocation of 
local and regional budgets; the oversight of university campuses; and 
the licensing of associations and political parties.  Less formally, the 
Ministry exerts substantial pressure on the judicial system. 
 
RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS 
 
Section 1   Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom 
from: 
 
   a.   Political and Other Extrajudicial Killing 
 
Although no deaths of persons in police custody could be conclusively 
attributed to security force brutality, at least two deaths under 
questionable circumstances remain unresolved.  On January 23, Hamza 
Daghdough died while in custody at police headquarters in Tangiers.  
According to police officials, Daghdough committed suicide, a claim 
which his family rejected.  Daghdough had no known political 
affiliations. 
 
In March Mustapha Benderweesh died while a prisoner at Sale Civil 
Prison.  His family alleged that the death was a result of torture and 
demanded an investigation, which according to independent reports has 
not been carried out. 
 
During the year, human rights groups speculated that a legal action 
brought by the family of Mustapha Hamzaoui, who died in jail in 1993 
under suspicious circumstances, would unlikely proceed to trial. 
 
The nonpartisan Moroccan Organization for Human Rights (OMDH) published 
a report in January that alleged that 17 deaths took place during the 
period 1989 through 1993 under circumstances strongly suggestive of 
torture.  No public inquest has been conducted into any of these cases. 
 
 
   b.   Disappearance 
 
The practice of the forced disappearance of persons opposed the 
Government and its policies dates back several decades.  Many were 
members of the military who were implicated in attempts to overthrow the 
Government in 1971 and 1972.  Others were Sahrawis, the natives of the 
Western Sahara, or Moroccans who challenged the Government's claim to 
the Western Sahara.  To this day, hundreds of Saharan and Moroccan 
families still do not have any information about their missing 
relatives, many of whom have not been heard from for over two decades. 
 
The Government denies that it has knowledge about most of those still 
missing.  However, in recent years it has quietly released over 200 of 
the disappeared.  Local human rights monitors have concluded that many 
others died while imprisoned at the notorious Tazmamaart Prison (see 
Section 1.d.).  The Government has acknowledged 34 of those deaths and 
has provided death certificates to the families of all but one. 
 
There were reports of over 20 disappearances in 1995.  Most were 
Sahrawis who disappeared in May following demonstrations in Laayoune 
advocating independence for the Western Sahara.  The disappeared were 
presumably arrested after the protests, but the Government has not 
released any information about their location or status. 
 
Moreover, local human rights monitors reported that four Islamists, 
Abdelkader Jouti, Abdelhamid Sadik, Mohammed Yachouti, and Abderrahim 
Bouabid, disappeared between August 30 and September 18.  Jouti 
reportedly had been sentenced to life in 1985, had fled the country, and 
returned to Morocco from exile after the amnesty (see Section 1.d.).  
The Government has denied having any information about these men, who 
have had no contact with their families. 
 
The Ministry of Human Rights, a government body, has sought to make an 
accounting of many of the disappeared.  It published a list of over 140 
disappearances.  Ministry officials report that approximately 38 percent 
of these cases have been resolved, and remaining cases are still being 
investigated. 
 
   c.   Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or 
Punishment 
 
Morocco ratified the U.N. Convention Against Torture in 1993.  The 
Government claims that the use of torture has been discontinued, but 
newspapers and other sources report that security forces occasionally 
torture detainees.  The fact that detainees are not allowed to have 
contact with family or lawyers during the first 48 hours of detention 
(see Section 1.d.), increases the likelihood of torture and other abuse. 
 
According to local human rights advocates, one of the problems in 
documenting torture and other abuses is the fact that autopsies are not 
routine, but are only carried out on the request of the state prosecutor 
and on the order of a judge.  The lack of autopsies indicates that there 
is inadequate followup investigations into deaths in custody and of 
allegations of torture and abuse. 
 
Amnesty International (AI) reports that police abused Khadija Benameur, 
a trade unionist arrested in March while participating in a peaceful 
sit-in.  Her requests for a medical examination were also denied, 
despite reports that she appeared at her trial with bruises on her face 
and hands.  Three Sahrawi youths claimed they were tortured during 
pretrial detention (see Section 1.e.). 
 
In nonstate security cases, witnesses report that some police officers 
abuse detainees with impunity.  Harsh treatment continues after 
conviction, with state-security prisoners more likely to be victimized.  
According to reliable reports, prison guards have suspended prisoners 
from a wall for several days as punishment for disciplinary 
transgressions. 
 
There were no deaths attributable to harsh prison conditions, due in 
part to improvements undertaken over the last few years at the 
suggestion of the Royal Consultative Council on Human Rights.  Despite 
these improvements, however, prison conditions remain harsh.  In January 
there was a violent uprising at Khenifra Civil Prison by prisoners 
protesting inhumane conditions at the facility.  The uprising was 
quickly put down by security forces, and several prisoners were 
hospitalized.  At the hospital, they began a hunger strike to continue 
their protest against prison conditions.  At least one prisoner died, 
although press reports did not specify the cause of death.  The leaders 
of the uprising were sentenced to an additional 4 to 5 years in prison. 
 
   d.   Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile 
 
Legal provisions for due process have been revised extensively in recent 
years, but the authorities frequently ignore them.  Although police 
usually make arrests in public, they sometimes refuse to identify 
themselves and do not always obtain warrants.  The law requires that 
detainees be brought before a judge within 48 hours--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. 
 
Although the accused should be brought to trial within 2 months of 
arrest, 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 after cross-examination, but many cases are 
resolved before reaching that stage. 
 
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 thus are 
unable to monitor compliance with the garde-a-vue detention limits. 
 
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. 
 
The Government continued to pay a small monthly stipend to the 28 former 
prisoners who survived 18 to 20 years in solitary confinement at 
Tazmamaart prison--without health care or sanitary facilities.  The 28 
are former military men who had been arrested in connection with the 
failed coup attempts in 1971 and 1972.  After their release, the 
Government prohibited them from speaking out publicly about their 
detention.  In exchange, the Government gave the 28 assurances that it 
would help them find jobs and reintegrate them into society. 
 
Despite government warnings and harassment, some of the former inmates 
have spoken openly about their experiences.  Ahmed Marzouki, the 
unofficial leader of the group, has demanded that the Government 
increase their stipend.  Security officers arrested him in August and 
detained him for 2 days.  Ostensibly, Marzouki was picked up for having 
collaborated with French journalists, but no formal charges were filed 
against him.  His arrest is seen by other former "disappeareds" as a 
warning against agitating too publicly for official recognition and 
recompense. 
 
For weeks following the May demonstrations in Laayoune, Western Sahara, 
the Government denied that the security forces had arrested any 
Sahrawis.  However, the police had detained scores of Sahrawi youths and 
eight of them were ultimately brought to trial (see Section 1.e.). 
 
After nearly 6 years of house arrest, Abdessalem Yassine, leader of the 
banned Islamist movement Justice and Charity, was released in December.  
No charges were ever filed against Yassine.  Although nominally free, 
Yassine still lives under certain restrictions.  He is not allowed to 
make "political speeches" in a mosque, nor may he speak in the name of 
his still illegal organization, or use his home as its headquarters.  To 
protest these restrictions, Yassine has refused to leave his house. 
 
There are no known instances of enforced exile, but many dissidents live 
abroad in self-imposed exile.  In 1994 the Government, as part of a 
broad-based amnesty, decreed that any such citizens would be welcome to 
return after taking an oath acknowledging the legitimacy of the monarchy 
and the nation's claim to the Western Sahara.  In 1995 the Government 
discontinued use of the oath.  Several prominent dissidents took 
advantage of the amnesty to return home. 
 
In 1991 Abraham Serfaty, a member of the Moroccan Communist Party and a 
supporter of Saharan independence, was released after 17 years in 
prison.  Upon his release, the Government declared that Serfaty was a 
Brazilian rather than a Moroccan citizen and expelled him from the 
country.  The decision, which is based on the fact that Serfaty's father 
was a naturalized Brazilian citizen, has been widely criticized by human 
rights groups, who consider Serfaty a Moroccan exile. 
 
   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 non-family areas 
of civil law are generally trained in the French legal tradition.  All 
judges trained in recent years are graduates 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.  Virtually none are 
lawyers. 
 
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, some of which, 
according to reliable sources, are obtained under duress. 
 
All courts are subject to extrajudicial pressures.  Salaries for both 
judges and their staffs are extremely modest; as a result, petty bribery 
has become a routine cost of court business.  In many courts, especially 
in minor criminal cases, defendants or their families pay bribes to 
court officers and judges to secure a favorable disposition. 
 
A more subtle but pervasive corruption derives from the judiciary's 
relationship with the Ministry of Interior.  Judges work closely with 
the Ministry's network of local officials, or caids, who serve as 
members of the judicial police and often assume personal responsibility 
for the questioning of criminal detainees.  They also frequently prepare 
the written summary of an arrest and subsequent interrogation.  The 
summary is admissible in court and may be the only evidence introduced 
at trial, effectively rendering it an instruction passed from the caid's 
office to the court.  Credible sources report that judges who expect 
enhanced remuneration and career progression do not stray far from the 
caid's guidance.  Attorneys report that newly appointed judges, despite 
their training, are even more willing to profit from this arrangement 
than their predecessors. 
 
The law does not distinguish political and security cases from common 
criminal cases.  In serious state security cases, communications between 
the Ministry of Interior and the court are more direct.  At the 
Government's discretion, such cases may be brought before a specially 
constituted military tribunal.  This court is subservient to other 
branches of the Government, notably the military and the Ministry of 
Interior. 
 
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 carries a maximum sentence of over 5 years), appointed 
attorneys often provide inadequate representation. 
 
Responding in part to international criticism, the Government has 
undertaken judicial and legal reforms in recent years.  In the spring, 
the King launched an initiative to enhance the independence and 
integrity of the judiciary.  Although the Minister of Justice presented 
the King with the recommended changes in August, no details of the 
proposed reform had been made public by year's end. 
 
In June eight Sahrawi youths were put on trial for participating in a 
demonstration in Laayoune, Western Sahara, calling for Western Saharan 
independence.  Although the eight were civilians, they were tried in a 
military court in a closed trial that reportedly lasted 3 hours over a 
3-day period.  The court found the eight guilty of "threatening the 
security of the state" and sentenced them up to 20 years in prison.  The 
sentences were later commuted to 1 year by the King.  At the trial, the 
defendants claimed that they had been tortured during pretrial detention 
and demanded medical examinations.  According to witnesses, three of the 
defendants removed their shirts during a court recess, revealing long 
cuts across their backs.  Another was unable to walk and said police had 
pummeled his right foot during questioning.  The court denied their 
request for medical examinations. 
 
The Minister of Human Rights has acknowledged that there are "about a 
hundred" political prisoners.  This total coincides with figures 
published by the Moroccan Organization of Human Rights, which estimates 
that some 110 non-Sahrawi political prisoners remain in prison.  Of 
these, some 60 are Islamists.  Estimates of the number of persons in 
prison for advocating independence for the Western Sahara vary from none 
to 700. 
 
   f.   Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or 
Correspondence 
 
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.  The 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 monitor certain persons and organizations, 
both foreign and Moroccan, 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 
 
Although the Constitution provides for freedom of expression, press 
freedom is significantly restricted, though the limits are not clearly 
defined. 
 
The Government owns the official press agency, Maghreb Arab Press, and 
the Arabic daily, Al Anbaa." A 1958 decree grants 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, may be seized, and 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.  In most instances, government control of the media generally is 
exercised through directives and "guidance" from the Ministry of the 
Interior.  Nonetheless, the Government generally tolerates satirical and 
often stinging editorials in the opposition parties' dailies.  Both law 
and tradition prohibit criticism on three topics:  the monarchy; 
Morocco's claim to the Western Sahara; and the sanctity of Islam. 
 
Ministry of Interior agents review both domestic and foreign 
publications before they are distributed.  To avoid the Government's 
attention and possible sanctions, the media regularly engage in self-
censorship. 
 
There were encouraging signs during the year that the Government would 
loosen press restrictions.  A June issue of Le Monde Diplomatique 
contained a controversial article written by a royal family member and 
printed without permission from the royal palace.  In a departure from 
past practice, the Government did not obstruct the publication and 
distribution of the issue.  Also in June, the Government did not impede 
the distribution of an issue of the French weekly magazine Jeune Afrique 
that contained a cover story critical of the King and Morocco's domestic 
"crisis." 
 
However, there were some notable instances of censorship.  In January an 
issue of the French weekly Maroc Hebdo was seized by Ministry of 
Interior officials.  The weekly apparently did not obtain permission 
from the palace before publishing a speech made by a royal family member 
at Princeton University.  In November authorities banned distribution of 
an issue of Jeune Afrique that contained an article describing the 
King's illness and its effect on the Moroccan political scene.  
Distribution of the magazine was suspended indefinitely. 
 
A broadcaster for the independent television station 2M was reprimanded 
and threatened with legal action by the Ministry of Interior after he 
aired views questioning the credibility of casualty figures provided by 
the Government following August floods in the south of Morocco. 
 
Humorist Ahmed Snoussi ("Bziz"), Morocco's best-known political 
satirist, has been banned from performing in several cities, including 
Marrakesh and Larache.  The Minister of Human Rights has been quoted as 
saying that "politics is fine, and humor is fine, but an amalgam of the 
two is not permissible."  Bziz continues to perform at private 
gatherings, and audio cassettes of his performances are widely sold. 
 
The Government owns the only television station receivable nationwide 
without decoder or satellite dish antennas.  Dish antennas are available 
on the market and permit free access to a wide variety of foreign 
broadcasts. 
 
Morocco's sole private station can be received in most urban areas with 
the rental of an inexpensive decoder.  Residents in the north can 
receive Spanish broadcasts with standard antennas.  The Government does 
not impede the reception of foreign broadcasts. 
 
The universities enjoy relative academic freedom in most areas.  The 
Ministry of Interior controls the curriculum in the faculty of Law and 
the hiring of instructors, as well as the physical plant, including 
residences, in all faculties. 
 
   b.   Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association 
 
Although the Constitution provides for freedom of assembly and 
association, these rights are significantly limited by three decrees--
dating from 1935, 1939, and 1958--that permit the Government to suppress 
even peaceful demonstrations and mass gatherings.  Most conferences and 
demonstrations require the prior authorization of the Ministry of 
Interior, ostensibly for security reasons. 
 
In May a peaceful demonstration calling for independence for the Western 
Sahara territory was broken up by security forces.  Scores of protesters 
were arrested, and 8 were tried and sentenced to 20 years in prison for 
threatening state security (see Section 1.d.). 
 
In September members of the Association of Unemployed University 
Graduates, an unofficial organization not sanctioned by the Government, 
demonstrated in El Jadida against high unemployment and alleged 
government inaction.  Police broke up the demonstration, reportedly 
causing numerous injuries.  Twenty-six of the demonstrators were 
originally sentenced to 6 months in prison, which was later overturned 
upon appeal.  After an 11-day sit-in in Rabat, the organization received 
promises of meetings with government officials to find ways to solve 
their unemployment problem, but no promises of jobs. 
 
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 approval, although there are 29 active Islamist 
groups.  The Government has prohibited membership in two of these 
groups, Justice and Charity and Jama'a Islamia, due to their perceived 
anti-monarchy 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.  Ninety-nine percent of Moroccans are 
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. 
 
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 limited 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. 
 
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.  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 either limit their 
proselytizing to non-Muslims or conduct their work quietly. 
 
On January 9, the Government released Gilberto Orellan, a Salvadoran 
citizen, from prison, deported him, and banned him from reentering 
Morocco.  Orellan was arrested in December 1994 and sentenced along with 
two Moroccan citizens for "preaching Christianity among Muslims."  
During their search of Orellan's residence, the police reportedly 
confiscated Bibles and Christian magazines. 
 
On September 15, a court sentenced Jama Ait Bakrim to 1 year in for 
disturbing the Islamic religion and breaking the fast during the Islamic 
holy month of Ramadan.  However, some observers alleged that Bakrim's 
actual offense is that he repeatedly spoke about Christianity in public. 
 
On August 5, Mehdi Ksara, who was 88 years old at that time, was 
arrested and imprisoned along with three other Moroccan men on charges 
related to their practice of Christianity.  All four were released on 
August 17.  Ksara was formerly a Muslim and reportedly converted to 
Christianity more than 60 years ago.  The three other men are Fouad 
Jaafar, 27, Muhsin Ibrahim Bel Haj, 20, and Samir Ben Ali, 24.  One of 
the three was a Muslim who was reportedly arrested after the authorities 
discovered a Bible in his possession. 
 
In another case, an American family was detained by police for carrying 
banners with evangelical Christian slogans through the streets of 
Casablanca.  On searching their residence, the police seized the 
evangelical materials.  The family was quickly released and deported. 
 
   d.   Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign Travel, 
Emigration, and Repatriation 
 
Although freedom of movement is provided 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.  There were widespread complaints of police 
harassment and demands for monetary payments.  Algerian nationals are 
routinely stopped for questioning at each roadblock. 
 
In the Morocco-administered portion of the Western Sahara, movement is 
restricted in areas regarded as militarily sensitive. 
 
The Ministry of Interior restricts freedom to travel outside Morocco in 
certain circumstances.  OMDH, a human rights group, released a list of 
42 people who have reportedly been denied passports.  In response the 
Minister of Interior reportedly indicated that the Government has the 
right to deny a passport to whomever it wants.  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.  All civil servants must 
obtain written permission from their ministries to leave the country. 
 
In 1995 the Government acknowledged for the first time the right of 
women to obtain a passport and travel abroad independently.  Previously, 
women were required to obtain the consent of husbands or fathers before 
applying for a passport. 
 
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 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 immigration inspectors. 
 
The law encourages voluntary repatriation of Jews who have emigrated.  
Moroccan Jewish emigres, including those with Israeli citizenship, 
freely visit Morocco.  The law also encourages the return of Sahrawis 
who have 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.  The Government 
cooperates with the UNHCR and other humanitarian organizations in 
assisting refugees.  There were no reports of forced expulsion of those 
having a valid claim to refugee status. 
 
Section 3   Respect for Political Rights:  The Right of Citizens to 
Change their Government 
 
Practically speaking, citizens do not have the right to change their 
national 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 
Interior appoints provincial governors and local caids.  Municipal 
councils are elected. 
 
Constitutional changes in 1992 authorized the Prime Minister to nominate 
all government ministers, but the King has the power to replace any 
minister at will.  Any significant surrender of power from the Crown to 
the Prime Minister's office was further diluted when the King 
transferred 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 still 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 approximately 20 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. 
 
Eleven parties have members in Parliament.  As in 1994, a coalition of 
major parties again declined the King's invitation to accept ministerial 
posts--absent significant political and electoral reform.  As a 
consequence, most present ministers are technocrats named by the King as 
caretakers pending the formation of a longer-term government. 
 
There are no women ministers, and there are only two women in 
parliament, both elected in 1993. 
 
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, the Moroccan League for 
the Defense of Human Rights (LMDH), and the Moroccan Human Rights 
Association (AMDH).  A fourth group, the Committee for the Defense of 
Human Rights (CDDH), was formed in 1992 by former AMDH members.  LMDH, 
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 LMDH and the OMDH have 
participated in some activities of the Royal Consultative Council on 
Human Rights.  However, the OMDH refuses to have any business dealings 
with current Minister of Human Rights. 
 
The Royal Consultative Council on Human Rights (CCDH), an advisory body 
to the King, exists in sometimes uneasy coordination with the Ministry 
of Human Rights, which was established by Parliament.  While their 
common mission has in the past provoked an adversarial relationship, a 
clearer division of labor emerged last year, with CCDH issuing advice on 
matters such as prison reform, and the Ministry of Human Rights, 
exercising a principally executive role.  CCDH was largely inactive 
throughout 1995. 
 
Amnesty International (AI) has local chapters in Casablanca, Rabat, and 
Marrakech.  These chapters participated in AI international letter 
campaigns outside Morocco. 
 
Section 5   Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, Disability, 
Language, or Social Status 
 
Although Article 5 of the Constitution states that all citizens are 
equal, non-Muslims and women face discrimination in the law and in 
traditional practices. 
 
   Women 
 
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 a 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 is more lenient toward men with 
respect to crimes committed against their wives; for example, a light 
sentence or reprimand may be accorded a man who has murdered his wife 
after catching her in the act of adultery. 
 
The civil law status of women is governed by the Moudouwana, or Code of 
Personal Status, which is based on Islamic law. 
 
Spousal violence is common.  Although a battered wife has the right to 
complain to the police, as a practical matter she would do so only if 
prepared to bring criminal charges.  Physical abuse is not a legal basis 
for divorce.  Hence few victims report abuse to the authorities. 
 
Women suffer various forms of legal and cultural discrimination.  Under 
the Criminal Code, women are generally accorded the same treatment as 
men, but this is not the case for 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 from exercising those 
rights.  When a woman inherits property, for example, male relatives may 
pressure her to relinquish her interest. 
 
In cases where a husband files for divorce without legal justification, 
the wife is entitled to unspecified allowance rights based on the 
husband's income.  The law states that a woman must be informed of her 
husband's intention to divorce her or to marry another woman.  However, 
the cases where women have the right to ask for a divorce are limited.  
Sometimes, in asking for a divorce, women take the risk of losing the 
economic benefits included in the marriage contract.  Due to these 
economic reasons, as well as to social stigma, women rarely request a 
divorce. 
 
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 35 percent of the work 
force with the majority of them in the industrial, service, and teaching 
sectors.  The illiteracy rate for women is 78 percent, compared to 51 
percent for men. 
 
Women in rural areas suffer most from inequality.  Rural women perform 
most hard physical labor; the rate of literacy, particularly in the 
countryside, is significantly lower for women than for men.  Girls are 
much less likely to be sent to school than are boys.  Women who do earn 
secondary school diplomas, however, have equal access to university 
training. 
 
   Children 
 
The Government continued a campaign to vaccinate children against 
preventable disease.  However, 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 
rationalized 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. 
 
Another problem facing orphans of both sexes is lack of civil status.  
Normally, men are registered at local government offices; their wives 
and unmarried children are included in this registration, which confers 
civil status.  Civil status is necessary to obtain a birth certificate, 
passport, or marriage license.  If a father does not register his child, 
the child is without civil status and the benefits of citizenship.  It 
is possible for an individual to self-register, but the process is long 
and cumbersome. 
 
   Religious minorities 
 
Although there is no institutional discrimination against the country's 
small Jewish and Christian communities, Christians face legal 
prosecution if they engage in proselytizing (see Section 2.c.). 
 
People with Disabilities 
 
A high incidence of disabling disease, especially polio, has produced a 
large population of disabled persons.  While the Ministry of Social 
Affairs contends that the Government endeavors to integrate the disabled 
into society, in practice this is left largely to private charities.  
However, charitable special education programs are priced beyond the 
reach of most families.  Most typically, disabled persons survive by 
begging.  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 by the 
disabled. 
 
   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 the 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 training 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. 
 
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 half a million of Morocco's 9 million workers are unionized in 
17 trade union federations.  Three federations dominate the labor 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. 
 
In practice, the internal intelligence services of the Ministry of 
Interior are believed to have informants within the unions who monitor 
union 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.  Work stoppages are normally 
intended to advertise grievances and last 24 hours or less.  The spring 
saw a wave of limited duration strikes in schools, flour mills, banks, 
and the port of Casablanca. 
 
A strike by UMT unionists at a food processing plant in Sidi Slimane in 
March led to police intervention and the arrest of six unionists.  
Although three were quickly released, the other three, including Khadija 
Benameur, the woman who heads UMT Chapter Three, were sentenced to 
prison terms ranging from 1 month to a year.  Benameur was found guilty 
of "violating the sacred institutions of the State" and "interfering 
with the right to work," an article of the penal code frequently invoked 
against strikers (see Section 1.c.). 
 
In May a dispute over a holiday bonus for the 14,700 workers of the 
National Railroad turned into a 2-month work stoppage which severely 
disrupted train traffic in the country.  It was the first time in at 
least 3 years that a major Moroccan industry was affected by a strike 
featuring near-universal worker participation. 
 
Unions belong to regional labor organizations and maintain ties with 
international trade secretariats. 
 
   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.  Trade union federations compete among themselves 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, both the Government and management 
routinely ignore labor laws and regulations.  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 standing tradition in some parts of the 
economy, but the practice is not spreading.  The wages and conditions of 
employment of unionized workers are generally set in discussions between 
employer and worker representatives.  However, wages for the vast 
majority of workers are unilaterally set by employers. 
 
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 dismissed for committing a serious 
infraction of work rules is entitled by law to a court hearing. 
 
There is no law specifically prohibiting anti-union discrimination.  
Employers commonly dismiss workers for union activities regarded as 
threatening to employer interests.  The courts have the authority to 
reinstate such workers, 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. 
 
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 the International Labor 
Organization's (ILO) Convention 29, which was adopted by royal decree. 
 
   d.   Minimum Age for Employment of Children 
 
Abuse of the child labor laws is common.  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 cover 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 is approximately $177 (1510 dirhams) per month in the 
industrialized sector and approximately $8.65 (73.60 dirhams) per day 
for agricultural workers.  Neither provides a decent standard of living 
for a worker and his family--even with government subsidies for food, 
diesel fuel, and public transportation.  In many cases, several family 
members combine their income to support the family.  Labor unions 
advocate an increase in the minimum wage to about $220 per month.  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 minimum wage is not enforced effectively in the informal and 
handicraft sectors, 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 at less than the minimum wage. 
 
The law provides for 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 on 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. 
 
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[end of document]

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