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CONSTITUTIONALIZATION OF CNDH: CAPITALIZATION OF RICH EXPERIENCE AND EXPECTATIONS OF PROMISING FUTURE

“The National Human Rights Council shall be a national, pluralistic and independent institution. It shall be in charge of looking into all matters pertaining to the defense and protection of human rights and liberties, the provision of guarantees for their full exercise and promotion, as well as the preservation of the dignity, and the individual and collective rights of citizens, men and women alike, in full compliance with the appropriate national and universal frame of reference.” Article 161 of the Constitution

The Moroccan new constitution comes to strengthen the establishment of democracy, the rule of law and institutions-based State. It reflects Morocco’s respect to its international commitments in the field of human rights. It expressly provides for full respect of human rights as they are universally recognized. It entrenches the (Moroccan) National Human Rights Council (CNDH) as a national, pluralistic and independent institution mandated to ensure human rights protection.

The Constitutionalization of CNDH is the most recent chapter in the development process of the institution since the creation of its former version (the Advisory Council on Human Rights) in 1990. The preamble of CNDH founding law refers to the “positive achievements of the Advisory Council on Human Rights in terms of promoting rights and freedoms, and handling past grave human rights violations, as well as the achievement of the strategic objectives targeted by the Moroccan experience in the area of transitional justice.” These positive achievements are grounds for the Constitutionalization of the institution.

The Council (through its former version) has left its fingerprint in the field of human rights protection and promotion in Morocco. It is the first pillar of the Moroccan experience in the field of transitional justice. It was reorganized in 2001 to be in full compliance with the Paris Principles, governing national human rights institutions. In March 2011, it was promoted to a national institution with broader mandate and reinforced pluralism and independence. It has a reinforced outreach policy in the field of human rights promotion and protection, through its regional human rights commissions.

In addition to CNDH, nine other institutions are entrenched in the Moroccan new Fundamental Law. Some of them already existed and some are new. These institutions are: the Mediator, the Council for the Moroccan Community Abroad, the Authority in charge of parity and the fight against all forms of discrimination, the High Authority for Audiovisual Communication, the Competition Council, the national authority for probity and the prevention and combat of corruption, the Higher Council for Education, Training and Scientific Research, the Advisory Council for Family and Children and the Advisory Council for Youth and Community Action.

To constitutionalize the National Human Rights Council (or any other institution) is to entrench its values, principles and mandate into the constitution. It is a way to highlight its importance and give it more emphasis. It reflects its role in the reinforcement of the practice of democracy and the rule of law.

The Council is required to contribute to implementing the advanced human rights related provisions of the Constitution. It should go ahead with the already launched projects and launch new projects to better serve human rights in Morocco.

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