The establishment of the National Human Rights Council (CNDH) strengthens the commitment of Morocco to protecting citizens’ rights and freedoms. It reflects Morocco's respect to its international commitments in the protection and promotion of human rights.
“Legitimate child” of the former Advisory Council on Human Rights (CCDH), set up on the eve of the political changeover in 1990, the National Human Rights Council was established to reinforce and consolidate the rule of law and the institution-based State. It substitutes the former Advisory Council, which was one of the key institutions concerned with the democratic transition in Morocco, mainly regarding the settlement of the past gross human rights violations, mainly after its first reform in 2002.
The creation of this new national institution for the protection and defense of human rights and freedoms in Morocco, in conformity with the Paris Principles, regulating national human rights institutions, takes into account several factors, including the following:
- the positive achievements of the Advisory Council in the promotion of human rights and freedoms and the settlement of past gross human rights violations;
- the achievement of the strategic objectives of the Moroccan transitional justice experience;
- the will to have an independent national human rights institution with a broader mandate that takes part in the dynamics of the advanced regionalization. Indeed, the broader mandate at both national and regional levels and the reinforced pluralism and independence of the institution will have a greater positive impact on the protection and defense of human rights in all parts of Morocco.
To protect and defend human rights and freedoms, the Council:
- Sees to the observation, surveillance and monitoring of the situation of human rights, at the national and regional levels;
- Monitors cases of violations and may conduct necessary investigations and inquiries;
- Prepares reports on its observations and investigations and submit them to the competent authorities with relevant recommendations;
- May intervene, on an urgent basis, whenever there is a source of tension, to prevent any possible individual or collective human rights violations;
- Contributes to the implementation of mechanisms provided for by the international human rights conventions, to which Morocco is party;
- Visits places of detention, prisons, child protection centers, reintegration centers, hospitals specialized in treating mental and psychical illness and places of detention of foreigners in illegal situation, prepares relevant reports and submits them to the competent authorities;
- Examines and studies harmonization of national laws with the provisions of international human rights conventions and International Humanitarian Law and proposes the recommendations it deems appropriate to the competent authorities;
- Contributes to the preparation of government reports, to be submitted to treaty bodies;
- Advises and provides support to the parliament and government in the field of harmonization, upon request;
- Urges Morocco to adhere to international human rights and International Humanitarian Law conventions.
To promote human rights, the Council:
- Sees to the promotion of the principles and rules of the International Humanitarian law and to their consolidation;
- Contributes to the promotion of human rights culture and citizenship;
- Submits to His Majesty annual and thematic reports on human rights;
- Publishes its annual reports in the Official Gazette and discusses their extensive summaries before the parliament (two Houses).
The Council has become like an umbrella institution. It has 13 regional human rights commissions, whose chairpersons are appointed by a Royal decree. These commissions are mandated to monitor the situation of human rights in the different regions of Morocco. They receive and investigate complaints, investigate violations. They implement the programs and projects that the Council designs for the promotion of human rights, in cooperation with local stakeholders.
The National Human Rights Council is also mandated to promote the International Humanitarian Law. In coordination with the competent authorities, the Council coordinates the activities of the different authorities in this regard and follows-up the implementation of the international conventions to which Morocco is a party. It contributes to training and raising awareness programs and develops cooperation partnerships with the International Committee of the Red Cross and all bodies concerned by the international humanitarian law.