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Advisory opinion to harmonize the moroccan penal code to eliminate hatred, discrimination and violence

In 2003 Throne Day speech, His Majesty the King charged the Advisory Council on Human Rights of the preparation of proposals necessary to fill the legislative gap in the field of fighting all forms of racism, hatred and violence. The Council studied in detail the Moroccan penal code provisions related to the fight against discrimination, hatred and violence. The legitimate and legal prevention of discrimination, hatred and violence is fundamental in the State of the rule of law and democracy. It is critical to guarantee the right to life, security and safety and fundamental rights, without sex, religion, race, culture, social situation based discrimination or any other form of discrimination. The Council discussed the results of its study in its meeting held on 20 July 2004. It underlined that the Moroccan Penal Code was amended and completed to criminalize all types of hatred, violence, discrimination, incitement to violence and advocacy of terrorist acts. This is the case for Law 24.03, promulgated by Dahir (Royal Decree) 1.03.207, dated 11 November 2003, Law 02.03, relative to counterterrorism, promulgated by Dahir 1.03.140, dated 28 May 2003 and Law 77.00, amending and completing the Press Code, promulgated by virtue of Dahir 1.02.207, dated 3 October 2003. The Penal Code includes advanced provisions that criminalize all types of hatred, violence, discrimination, incitement to violence and advocacy of terrorist acts. Still, it needs to be modernized and in conformity with the societal evolution, the relevant international conventions, modern penal thinking and the new legislative aspects. The penal terminology related to all condemned types of discrimination should be unified, in light of international definitions. The Penal Code should be in conformity with other legislations that include punishments that should be revised following the same trend. On this basis, the Council decided to submit, to His Majesty the King, two proposals: the first on practical and procedural measures to implement new provisions and the second on the necessity to review the Penal Code. Implementation of new provisions In accordance with the new provisions, resulted from the aforesaid legislative review, the Council considers that the important question is not related just to the existence of laws, but to the prevention of crime and the implementation of the legislations. There is a need for: - A Practical Guide that explains the new provisions and how they can be implemented. This guide will be adopted as a basis for systematic training and sensitization of the various components of the judicial system and assistants, in particular law enforcement officers and other individuals and agencies assisting the system; - Raising awareness about the values of tolerance, equality and acceptance of differences and the promotion of a culture of modern citizenship, through various channels of education and training, orientation and public communication, with the aim to prevent crimes of racism, hatred, discrimination, violence and incitement to violence. Reviewing and updating the Penal Code - The Council proposed that the Penal Code should be reviewed to meet the abovementioned objectives and achieve the desired goals, including: - exploiting previous CCDH’s specialized researches and studies on topics related to the Penal Code provisions; - reviewing the code to achieve the targeted objectives - specifying the descriptions and the constituent elements of insult and defamation crimes associated with the forms of hatred and violence, and criminalizing insults and defamation directed to categories victims of condemned discrimination, whenever related to the incitement of people to hate this or that category; - achieving harmony with the principles and foundations of the new penal philosophy, reflected in the provisions of the new Code of Penal Procedure which has adopted a modern and contemporary trends with regard to human rights and legal safeguards of fair trial; - consolidating what women and children have gained by virtue of the Family Code and the Labour Code in addition to the amendments of the Penal Code - adding definitions and new provisions relative to the criminalization of acts of abuse, exploitation and violence.

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