U.N. to assess rights situation in Morocco

Sept. 13, 2012 at 9:51 AM
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GENEVA, Switzerland, Sept. 13 (UPI) -- A U.N. special envoy on human rights announced plans for a weeklong visit to Morocco to assess implementation of the country's new constitution.

Moroccan voters in July 2011 backed a new constitution that embraces basic human rights and freedoms of expression.

U.N. Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan Mendez announced plans to visit the country starting Saturday to assess the country's human rights record since the constitution was adopted last year.

"My ultimate task is to engage with decision-makers and key actors to help the authorities uphold the rule of law, promote accountability for past abuses and allegations of torture and ill-treatment, fulfill the right of reparations for victims and to ensure that alleged perpetrators are held responsible in conformity with international law," he said in a statement.

Human Rights Watch early this year said it was concerned new Moroccan laws were in violation of international political rights. Some laws call for tough prison terms on charges of offending the state or undermining Islam.

The U.S. State Department said Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was scheduled Thursday to meet with Moroccan officials to launch a strategic dialogue session. It was unclear if the event was postponed, however, given anti-American protests across the Middle East.

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