Morocco/Western Sahara

Authorities continue to crack down on street protests, harass journalists and obstruct human rights groups, both domestic and international. Dozens in Morocco and Western Sahara serve long prison terms after unfair trials for politically motivated offenses. Laws that provide criminal penalties for “harming” the monarchy, Islam, or “territorial integrity” (Morocco’s claim of sovereignty over Western Sahara) restrict freedom of expression and association. In Western Sahara, authorities systematically prevented gatherings supporting self-determination. Morocco granted temporary legal status to United Nations-recognized asylum-seekers and thousands of economic migrants, pending an overhaul of its laws governing asylum and foreigners on Moroccan soil. Recent laws on domestic workers and violence against women provided new rights and guarantees that remained to be tested in practice.