Human Rights Watch is eager to resume on-the-ground human rights monitoring in Morocco. It will in any event continue to monitor and report objectively on human rights developments in that country.
In September, Moroccan authorities wrote a letter to Human Rights Watch, asking it to suspend its activities in Morocco. Human Rights Watch regretted this decision but took on good faith assurances made in this letter, and restated since by Moroccan officials, that the request for a suspension was only until they could hold a discussion with Human Rights Watch’s executive director, Kenneth Roth. Mr. Roth wrote on September 22 to propose a series of dates in October for the meeting. On September 23, the government spokesman, Moustapha Khalfi, suggested in a phone conversation with Human Rights Watch that such a meeting could take place “within one to two weeks.”
Instead of responding to Human Rights Watch by agreeing to a date for the meeting that Morocco requested, Mr. Khalfi and other officials have spent the last month denouncing Human Rights Watch and its staff in the news media.
Over the past year, Morocco has expelled Amnesty International researchers, banned gatherings organized by the Moroccan Association for Human Rights, and, most recently, announced the pending trial of five activists, including the historian Maâti Monjib, for accepting foreign funds to “undermine Morocco’s internal security.”
Human Rights Watch considers Morocco’s current position toward it to be part of its growing intolerance for independent human rights organizations and other critical voices.
While remaining open to dialogue with Moroccan authorities, Human Rights Watch stands by the impartiality of its reporting and the professionalism of its staff.