Two Morocco NGOs to boycott World Forum on Human Rights over gov't intervention

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Al-Akhbar Management

Published Monday, November 17, 2014

Two of Morocco's main advocacy groups said Monday they would boycott a global human rights forum later this month, accusing the government of having interfered with their work.

The independent Moroccan Association of Human Rights (AMDH) announced the boycott a day after organizing a protest in front of parliament against what it called a "systemic ban" on its activities.

AMDH President Ahmed al-Haij had hinted that the group would boycott the conference due to be held in Marrakech on November 27-30.

"The situation that we are experiencing doesn't seem compatible with our participation" in the World Forum on Human Rights, he said.

In a separate statement, the Moroccan League for Human Rights also announced "the cancellation of its participation in the forum," which several thousand participants from across the world are due to attend.

In July, Interior Minister Mohammed Hassad accused local groups he did not name of undermining the country's fight against terrorism through their criticism of its rights record.

Earlier this month, Human Rights Watch charged that Morocco had blocked more than 15 meetings of the AMDH since around the time Hassad made his allegations.

"The authorities have also denied venues for events planned by the Moroccan League for Human Rights, Amnesty International, and other organizations," HRW said in a statement on November 7.

"Morocco should stop arbitrarily impeding the peaceful activities of the country's independent human rights groups and allow them to operate freely," it said.

Government spokesman Mustapha Khalfi denied any "offensive against human rights groups," pointing out that NGOs had organized more than 4,000 events in Morocco this year.



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